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William Springer Lincoln and Civil War collection

Identifier: OU-SC-SPR

Scope and Contents note

The William Springer collection consists of some 2000 volumes, pamphlets, manuscripts, newspapers, graphic materials, artifacts and other materials that celebrate and document President Lincoln's life, career, and assassination. Many of the materials date back to the Civil War era, while others correspond to later commemorations and studies related to President Lincoln, covering the period from 1866 through the 1950s.

The collection is organized in 8 series, excluding the monographs: Pamphlets and Ephemera; Lincolnook Memories (William Springer's articles published in New Center News); Lincoln Lore (and other publications from the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company); Catalogs and Bibliographies; Manuscripts; Scrapbooks; Graphic Materials; and Historical Newspapers. Monographs have been separated and can be found by searching Kresge Library's catalog. The pamphlets can also be searched in the catalog.


  • 1854 - 1968

Access and Use note

The William Springer Collection is open for research.

Biographical note

Born in an Austrian-Croatian village near Karlstadt, Austria, in 1897 as Adam Alphich, William Springer emigrated to the United States to live with a miner uncle in Pennsylvania shortly before World War I. He enrolled in a correspondence course in electrical engineering but interrupted it to enlist in the US army for 2 years, during which time he became a naturalized citizen and changed his name to William Springer. Upon his discharge he became a door-to-door salesman for advertising items. In 1932 he came to Detroit, took up residence near Wayne State University and found a job in direct mail advertising. In January 1933 he developed his company - a small tabloid called “This Week,” which later became “Monday Morning” and then the ”New Center News.” It chronicled the life of people working in the area of the GM and Fisher Buildings. It is still published today by Springer Publishing.

For 42 years he was an avid collector of Lincolniana. His interest was aroused when Dr William Barton, a minister and Lincoln authority, presented him with a volume about Lincoln in 1927. He started amassing books, but had to sell them during the Depression. He started again in 1933, and it developed into the large collection that would eventually be sold to Oakland University.

In 1952 he founded the Abraham Lincoln Civil War Roundtable of Michigan and served two terms as its president. He was associated with major Lincoln collectors and experts in the nation, such as Carl Sandburg, Bernhardt Wall (creator of the etched book Following Abraham Lincoln), Thomas Starr, Stewart McClelland (President of Lincoln Memorial University), Edgar DeWitt Jones (a reverend and fellow Lincolnian), and Louis Warren (historian and archivist at the Lincoln National Life Foundation). Frederick Black was also a close friend.

For more information: - “The Legend of William Springer: A Brief Pictorial Autobiography of a Boy and the Man,” New Center News Dec 25, 1972. (available in William Springer biographical file) ; - The William Springer biographical file (newspaper clippings, copies of addresses and media statements that Springer collected and send to Oakland University with his collection); - James Jay Monaghan, "Lincoln Bibliography"(and many other bibliographies in the Springer collection); - Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association.


150 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



A large collection of materials related to the history of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, created by William Springer. The collection includes materials from the 1850s and 1860s as well as later memorabilia and scholarship. Books; pamphlets and ephemera; Lincolnook memories; Lincoln Lore; catalogs and bibliographies; manuscripts; scrapbooks; graphics; historical newspapers; Frederick L. Black papers; Bernhardt Wall collection; artifacts.

Related Materials

The Frederick L. Black papers and the Bernhardt Wall collection were acquired along with the William Springer collection but processed separately.


Processed by Dominique and Shirley Paquette, 2016

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Oakland University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Kresge Library
100 Library Drive
Rochester MI 48309 USA