Museum unearths Lincoln's expense reports

December 6, 2012

Alma Bahman

Courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Courtesy of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

If you think 55 cents per mile for travel reimbursement is low, it’s not much better than what Lincoln got.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum found its namesake’s old travel expenses at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

He got $8 per day and another $8 for every 20 miles he traveled between home and work. That’s 40 cents per mile. While he was a U.S. Representative in 1848, Lincoln submitted reports for $1,300.80 of travel (which comes to 3,252 miles). His salary was $2,024 from January to August of that year.

About 160 years later, president’s annual salary is $400,000 plus $50,000 for expenses. Flying on Air Force One costs about $180,000 per hour.

The reports are part of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a project focused on all document written by or to Abraham Lincoln.