The company that owns The State
Journal-Register and The Courier of Lincoln announced
Monday that it is making a $1 million donation to the
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in the
name of the newspapers' publisher, Patrick Coburn.
"I am proud to announce that my company, The Copley
Press Inc., has pledged $1,000,000 to the foundation
supporting the museum," Copley's owner, David Copley,
wrote in a letter to Richard Norton Smith, the
presidential library and museum's executive director.
"(Coburn), the publisher of The State
Journal-Register, is vice president of The Copley Press
and has spent his entire 38-year journalism career in
Springfield. His dedication to the city and to its
legacies, especially the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, is
deep and abiding."
The foundation hopes to raise $50 million over the
next several years to support the library and museum,
said Susan Mogerman, chief operating officer of the
"The endowment would be able to pay in the future to
provide new programming such as traveling exhibits,
temporary exhibits, speakers, conferences and
educational programs," she said. "Those are the things
that keep people interested in an institution like ours
and keep them coming back."
Mogerman said there have been a handful of similarly
sized donations to the endowment. Every donation helps
the library and museum's future, she said.
"A million-dollar contribution is an incredible and
wonderful vote of confidence in this institution," she
The Copley donation will be recognized in the naming
of the replica of the White House in the museum.
Mogerman added that it's fitting the contribution is
being made in Coburn's name because of his involvement
in the project.
"He's been a supporter. He's on the board, and, sure,
he's been very supportive of the project for a very long
time," she said.
Coburn said he's thrilled with the donation because
it's a sign that the Copley company, which is based in
La Jolla, Calif., is interested in investing in
Springfield, as it has with other projects such as the
Hoogland Center for the Arts, the Elijah Iles House, the
YMCA and Lincoln Memorial Garden, among others.
"He couldn't have picked a better thing to give back
to the community," Coburn said of David Copley. "The
library and museum is going to change the face of this
community more than anything I can think of since I came
here in August 1966."
Coburn said it was "not a hard sell" to get Copley to
consider a donation. In part, that may be because of the
family's interest in American history - especially that
of David's father, the late James Copley.
"There are some Lincoln artifacts in the James Copley
library in La Jolla. We own the Lincoln Depot - the
Great Western Depot - and we operate it as a tourist
attraction free of charge," Coburn said. "There is a
connection there, and David is carrying it on."
In the letter to Smith, Copley wrote that "the
history of Springfield's newspapers cannot be told
without reference to the city's most famous son." He
pointed out that a Lincoln quote, "The Journal paper was
always my friend," is featured prominently on the
newspaper's masthead, so it's fitting that The State
Journal-Register be associated with the library and
"We have published newspapers in Springfield since
1928 and look forward to being a part of the community
far into the future," Copley wrote. "The library and
museum will help ensure for Springfield a future even
richer than the legacy the institution so vibrantly
Sarah Antonacci can be reached at 788-1529 or