ABE LINCOLN IN ILLINOIS is a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Robert E. Sherwood, first produced in 1938. The 12 scenes of the play are set in New Salem and Springfield, Ill., between 1831 and 1861.
Based on historical events, the play traces Lincoln’s career from unsuccessful storekeeper to president-elect of the United States. Lincoln changes from a melancholy and apathetic youth to a man of grave and responsible determination. The people who affect his life include Mentor Graham, the New Salem schoolmaster; Ann Rutledge, Lincoln’s early love; William Herndon, his law clerk; Ninian Edwards, his brother-in-law; Mary Todd Lincoln, his wife; and Seth Gale, a friend whose difficulties in reaching Oregon symbolize for Lincoln the problems facing the nation.
In the final scene Lincoln delivers his farewell address at the Springfield train station before leaving for Washington, D.C.