1865 "Emancipation Proclamations. Allegorical Portrait of Abraham Lincoln" Engraving by Swander, Bishop & Co.

Presented is an elaborate engraved broadside presentation of both the preliminary and final Emancipation Proclamations, dated September 22, 1862 and January 1, 1863.

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 intent of Lincoln's Proclamation is explained through decorative text and illustrated vignettes. The words are formed to create a ghostly portrait of President Abraham Lincoln. The ornate border is embellished with two vignettes, a plantation whipping and an emancipation scene presided over by a black soldier with his sword held high, an illustrated reminder that Lincoln did not achieve emancipation by himself.

R. Morris Swander was the artist and P.S. Duval & Sons were the engravers. The work is dedicated to the Union Leagues of the United States. The engraving was published by the Art Publishing Association and Swaner Bishop & Co., Philadelphia.

CONDITION:

Good condition. Engraving with strong impression. Four chips in margins, professionally repaired. Toning along top margin. Unframed. Dimensions: 23 3/4" H  x 17 3/4" W.




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