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home : arts, entertainment and events - archive : featured events May 24, 2016

   
6/27/2013 9:29:00 AM
Gettysburg Address going on display at presidential museum

SPRINGFIELD — Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address – 272 words that rang out in remembrance of fallen soldiers – is one of America’s greatest speeches. To mark the 150th anniversary of the speech and the battle that inspired it, a handwritten copy will be on display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from June 27 until late November.

Lincoln delivered his now-famous remarks on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the National Soldiers’ Cemetery. More than 50,000 men were killed or wounded July 1-3 at Gettysburg, the largest battle in North American history.

Dr. Mark DePue will give a presentation about the battle on July 2 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, part of his Civil War sesquicentennial presentations on key battles. The free presentation takes place at 7 p.m.

Lincoln wrote out five copies of his address, each slightly different. The version owned by the State of Illinois is the “Edward Everett copy,” which Lincoln gave to the orator, scholar and politician who also spoke at the Gettysburg dedication.

Everett’s two-hour speech, delivered from memory, placed the battle into context of the anti-slavery movement and other epic battles in history. After hearing Lincoln’s two-minute speech, Everett congratulated him on its spirit and asked for a copy.

The handwritten copy will be on display in the Museum’s Treasures Gallery, accompanied by two extremely rare printed versions of the address. They are being displayed for the first time.

The first is a pamphlet that contains both speeches from the ceremony, and is one of three copies in existence today. The other is a small, pocket-sized version of Lincoln's speech, printed in color in New York that week. Only two of these are known to survive.

The Battle of Gettysburg was an attempt by Confederate General Robert E. Lee to deliver a painful defeat that would force the Union to the bargaining table. He pushed into Pennsylvania and encountered Union troops on July 1. Ultimately, however, Lee was the one forced to withdraw in defeat.

DePue, director of the oral history program at the library, will examine the influential campaign during a presentation on July 2 at 7 p.m. in the Union Theater. Tickets can be reserved at www.presidentlincoln.illinois.gov by clicking on “special event tickets.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the museum’s journeys and galleries will be open during the evening.


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