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News From The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
08-31-2012, 03:41 PM (This post was last modified: 08-31-2012 04:03 PM by RJNorton.)
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News From The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Emancipation Proclamation
On display September 5 through January 21, 2013

[Image: emanproc.jpg]

One hundred fifty years ago, on September 22, 1862, buoyed by the recent Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, President Abraham Lincoln announced his intention to issue an Emancipation Proclamation, which he did on New Year’s Day 1863. To commemorate this momentous anniversary, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is putting its signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, plus two new artifacts, on display in the Museum’s Treasures Gallery starting Wednesday, September 5. The items will remain on display through January 21, 2013.

“Every year in our country, the legal and social equality of all races continues to come closer to our ideal,” said James M. Cornelius, curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Presidential Library and Museum. “The great break with the past, the seminal event, the leap forward, began with Lincoln's pen in September 1862. People at the time - black or white, American or European, North or South - knew this, and their experience tells us to celebrate this document and its anniversary.”

The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the officially printed commemorative copies that Lincoln signed in full, along with Secretary of State William Seward and Lincoln’s private secretary, John G. Nicolay. The President signed the original Emancipation Proclamation in private with only a few witnesses at his side – no “photo opportunity” as we like to say today.

It is fortunate that the commemorative printing was ordered, because Lincoln’s original manuscript was lost in the Chicago Fire of 1871. The Proclamation measures approximately 27 by 20 inches. It was most recently displayed during a five-day special viewing around his birthday in 2012, and during the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial.

Next to it will be two artifacts never before displayed. One, created in the 1870s, is a bronze statue of Lincoln breaking the shackles of a slave. The sculptor was probably a Frenchman, Léon Falconnier. It was inspired by a giant Washington, D.C., statue by Thomas Ball for which Frederick Douglass gave the dedication speech in 1876. In that speech Douglass declared Lincoln “the white man’s president,” though he had earlier deemed him “the black man's president.” Falconnier may have wanted to capitalize on Ball's work, which, though less popular today, was commissioned and paid for by freedmen and helped solidify the image of Lincoln as the liberator of a race. Lincoln in fact had urged freedmen to show their gratitude to God and not to him, since freedom is a human right.

Visitors will be asked to give their thoughts about the sculpture as part of an “interactive experience” about this trio of historic objects.

The other item on view for the first time will be an 1864 notice of a slave sale in Louisville, Kentucky. This sale, held nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, shows that the Proclamation did not apply to the border states during the Civil War, thus keeping these slave-holding states in the Union. The next year, Lincoln and Congress voted to change the U.S. Constitution with the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the entire United States.


The Extravagances of Mary Lincoln
On display now through November

[Image: jewelrymary.jpg]

First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln was a woman of contrasts. Her embarrassed husband had to bail her out when she overspent the White House budget; she bought entire supplies of cloth so no one could have a dress made like hers; and she spent her later years keeping persistent creditors at bay. Yet, when it came to hiring the African American seamstress who would later become one of her closest confidantes, Mrs. Lincoln was very frugal, as she was with other important things in her life.

An exhibit of original items relating to one side of Mary Todd Lincoln, her extravagances, may be seen now through November here at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. The exhibit includes the first public display of the original jury verdict form declaring her insane. Paid museum admission is required to see the exhibit.

All of the original items in the exhibit come from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum's collections, and many have never been publicly displayed. They include diamond, red coral and black onyx jewelry; a parasol and a fan; a plaid lap rug; pieces of three custom-made dresses; ivory desk items and a letter seal; a music portfolio; and a mahogany vanity with mirror.
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News From The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum - RJNorton - 08-31-2012 03:41 PM

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