University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The items in the Digital Collections of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library contain materials which represent or depict sensitive topics or were written from perspectives using outdated or biased language. The Library condemns discrimination and hatred on any grounds. As a research library that supports the mission and values of this land grant institution, it is incumbent upon the University Library to preserve, describe, and provide access to materials to accurately document our past, support learning about it, and effect change in the present. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, we do not censor our materials or prevent patrons from accessing them.

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American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement

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Stephen A. Forbes Papers (Digitized Content)

The digitized content of the Stephen Alfred Forbes Papers consists of Civil War diaries and correspondence of Captain Stephen Alfred Forbes, a soldier in the 7th Illinois Cavalry, as well as a photograph of him in uniform.

Stephen Alfred Forbes (1844-1930) enlisted at age 17 to serve in the 7th Illinois Cavalry during the Civil War, attaining the rank of Captain. During the war, he faced a number of challenges, including imprisonment and disease, but he survived to become a premiere natural historian for the state of Illinois.

The digitized content contains the entirety of Stephen Forbes's original Civil War diaries from 1861, 1862, and 1864-1865 as well as over a dozen letters from the same era. The digitized materials also include a photograph of Stephen A. Forbes in uniform, circa 1862.

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit at the University of Illinois Library manages the physical items of the Stephen Alfred Forbes Papers (MS 815). The collection was partially digitized in 2017, 2018, and 2019. For more information, contact an archivist at