Gettysburg seeking copy of Lincoln's famous address - abc27 WHTM

Gettysburg seeking copy of Lincoln's famous address

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Seven score and ten years ago, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous two-minute speech in Gettysburg.

Only five original copies of the Gettysburg Address exist, and the foundation that runs Gettysburg National Military Park's museum and visitor center wants to put one on public display for celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's historic speech in November.

One of the copies Lincoln transcribed is in the White House. Another is on display at Cornell University and another is at the Illinois State Historical Library.

The Library of Congress has two copies, one of which is often believed to be the first draft, and the Gettysburg Foundation has it's eye on borrowing it.

The problem is that since 1990, the Library of Congress has a policy of not lending out delicate material deemed "priceless".

The foundation is still optimistic that at least one of the sources will pull through.

The last time a copy of the speech was loaned to Gettysburg was in 2008 for a dedication ceremony. That copy came from the Illinois State Historical Society.

"That address exemplified the spirit of the American people at that time, and I think at this time," said Bob Tanner, a visitor from Wyoming.

Lincoln's speech on November 19, 1863 was part of the dedication ceremony for the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. While Lincoln spoke to the nation, historians believe he was speaking more specifically to mothers who had lost children in Civil War, offering his apologies and asking them to understand why the war must go on.

According to Gettysburg park staff, there is a common misconception that Lincoln wrote the speech on a train. They say it is more likely he wrote most of it in Washington and finished it at the Gettysburg home of David Wills.


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