ABE’S IN THE MONEY
After months of uncertainty, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, a division of the National Archives, has awarded a grant of more than $106,000 to the Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project based at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. The grant awarded at a Nov. 30 meeting came after the commission, concerned about turmoil at the project that is collecting and digitizing every document ever written or read by the Great Emancipator, postponed consideration of the project’s grant request at a meeting last spring. Back then, Daniel Stowell, the project’s longtime director, was on paid administrative leave, and the commission cited his uncertain status as a reason for postponing a decision on the grant request. Stowell recently was placed on unpaid leave pending termination. The reasons why aren’t clear. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which employs Stowell, this week refused a request for records showing why he was placed on leave last spring and again this fall, saying that providing records would be “unduly burdensome.” IHPA has blamed the lack of a state budget for deep cuts at the papers project, which once employed a dozen people and is now down to five staffers. Chris Wills, IHPA spokesman, said that the federal grant will be used for a variety of things, including salaries. “The grant money can be used for general operations, and part of that would be the staff’s salary,” Wills said.