Presented is a lithographic broadside of the text of the Emancipation Proclamation issued on January 1, 1863. This broadside was published in Philadelphia by G.R. Russell, 1865. A full-length portrait of Abraham Lincoln is surrounded by the text of the Emancipation Proclamation in calligraphic script. Atop the decorative border, seated on crossed flags and armaments, are an American eagle, an allegorical figure of liberty, and a slave.
This broadside was lithographed by P.S. Duval & Son, after "an original designed and executed entirely with a pen by Gilman R. Russell, Prof. of Penmanship."
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."
One-sided and typically printed on large sheets of paper, engraved broadsides emerged in the 19th century. Advances in printing technology made their production inexpensive, making them all the more pervasive. By varying type style and size and including illustrations that could be both bold and elaborate, they had great visual appeal. They aimed to spread news, shape public opinion, and rally people to action. Broadsides were encountered posted on buildings, hung in meetinghouses and pubs, and in framed in homes as decorations. Surviving broadsides allow us to glimpse the making of public opinion in the era of emancipation. The Emancipation Proclamation enjoyed numerous broadside treatments, from simple texts to complex illustrations.
The broadside treatment of the Emancipation Proclamation presented illustrators with an opportunity to shape public opinion. In this example from 1865, the Proclamation is explained through its centered and large image of President Lincoln, standing firmly among the words of his Executive Order. His hand rests in a fist on top of the signed document, alluding to the strength and power of the executive branch to issue such decrees.
Good condition. Paper is slightly toned. Four early tear repairs on verso, each about 4 inches and faintly offsetting to recto, one of them causing very slight loss to the left part of border, plus a 2-inch closed tear in lower margin. Presented unframed. Dimensions: 27 " H x 19 7/8" W.
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