This 1863 lithograph is a broadside printing of the final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, written by President Abraham Lincoln. On September 22, 1862, five days after the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln issued a preliminary decree stating that, unless the rebellious states returned to the Union by January 1, freedom would be granted to slaves within those states. No Confederate states took the offer, and on January 1, 1863 Lincoln presented the Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation declared, "all persons held as slaves within any States, or designated part of the State, the people whereof shall be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free."
President Lincoln donated the original final draft to the Northwestern Sanitary Fair in Chicago in 1863, to be sold to raise money for medical support of the soldiers. Thomas B. Bryan purchased the document for $3,000 and, in turn, donated it to the Soldiers' Home in Chicago. Bryan commissioned lithographer Edward Mendel to create broadside printings of the original document. The sale of these broadsides funded the United States Sanitary Commission and the Soldiers' Home in Chicago. The original final draft was later destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871, thus making this a scarce facsimile record of a lost Lincoln manuscript.
In the center, beneath the title, is another facsimile of the October 26, 1863 letter written by President Lincoln to the "Ladies having in charge of the North Western Fair" to accompany the final draft. To the left of the letter is a portrait of President Lincoln. To the right of the letter is the logo for The Soldiers' Home with the text “Let Loyal Hearts and Willing Hands Cherish, Comfort and Care for my Wounded Heroes.”
Beneath the Proclamation is the statement of the purpose for the sale of the facsimiles signed by Thomas B. Bryan, President of The Soldier's Home, Chicago, Illinois:
“This publication is undertaken in behalf of the General Treasury of the United States Sanitary Commission, and also to create a fund for the erection and maintenance of a permanent home for our sick and disabled soldiers. Purchasers of this fac-simile of the Proclamation of Freedom will thus invest that immortal instrument with a new interest, as contributing to noble institutions which shall prove a just tribute of a Nation’s gratitude to her patriot sons.”
To the left of the statement is the official seal of authenticity with the statement above it reading "Every genuine copy has the Proclamation Seal attached immediately hereunder."
Toning to broadside, with four slightly darker vertical lines, possibly a result of previous wooden frame backing. Few scattered stains and slight surface abrasions. Archivally presented in a custom black and gold frame. Framed dimensions: 43 1/4" H x 37" W x 3 1/4" D.
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