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Original Copy of the Emancipation Proclamation Arrives in Gettysburg!

News

This original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation is on loan from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation have teamed up to honor the history of the Emancipation Proclamation by exhibiting a copy personally signed by President Abraham Lincoln. One of three color lithographic broadsides, this was given directly to Lincoln by David Williams Cheesman, and is known as the Cheesman copy.

The Emancipation Proclamation is on loan from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and will be on display from May 17-November 25, 2018 in the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War on the grounds of the Museum and Visitor Center.

Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached the third year of civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." It also announced the acceptance of men of color into the Union Army and Navy.

The Gettysburg Foundation invites visitors to see and reflect on the meaning of the Emancipation Proclamation as part of “Gettysburg Revisited,” an effort aimed at broadening our understanding of the deeper meaning of this hallowed ground.

Park Service Rangers lead walks in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery throughout the summer, where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, which spoke to a “new birth of freedom” in America. Visitors to the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War in the Visitor Center and the David Wills House Museum in Gettysburg may also experience pop up programs by Rangers throughout the Emancipation Proclamation’s exhibition dates. Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation also invite visitors to join the conversation during this period at #GETTalking.