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Rare Lincoln documents on display Wednesday at main library

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 4:09 pm

Two rare documents signed by late President Abraham Lincoln will be displayed from 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza, in conjunction with the first annual Rolland Lecture Series presentation at 7 p.m. in the main library's auditorium.

The documents include a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation and a Senate copy of the 13th Amendment resolution, a library news release said. The documents are part of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection this is housed permanently at the Indiana State Museum.

The lecture will feature Professor James H. Madison of Indiana University in Bloomington speaking on "Three Reasons Why Lincoln is My Hero."

The library provided this additional background on the documents:

"On New Year's Day 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing 3 1/2 million slaves, authorizing the enlistment of blacks into the Union armed forces, and paving the way for the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery.

"In 1998, in honor of retiring Lincoln National Corporation President and CEO Ian Rolland, the Lincoln National Foundation purchased this rare signed edition of the Emancipation Proclamation by the publishing firm of Charles G. Leland and George H. Boker of Philadelphia.

"Forty-eight copies signed by President Lincoln, his secretary John G. Nicolay and Secretary of State William Seward were auctioned for $10 each at the Great Central Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia June 7-29, 1864. Fewer than half of the Leland Boker original issue of 48 copies are thought to exist today, and several are in private collections and not available for public viewing.

"After issuing the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, Lincoln then began to push for a constitutional amendment that would forever abolish slavery in the United States. Such an amendment was passed by the Senate in April 1864, but defeated in the House of Representatives two months later.

"Lincoln, not about to give up, made abolition a central plank of the Republican platform and his 1864 re-election campaign. After winning the election, Lincoln and the amendment's supporters brought the measure to another vote in the House on Jan. 31, 1865. This time it passed.

"This copy is one of three commemorative “Senate” copies of the 13th Amendment Resolution signed by President Lincoln, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax, and 36 of 38 senators who voted for it."