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    One of the earliest printings of the Gettysburg Address

    [Gettysburg Address]. New-York Times, November 20, 1863. Eight pages, 15.5" x 21". Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address appears on the front page of this edition of the New York Times only hours after the president delivered the speech, making this one of the earliest printings of arguably the most important speech in American history. Though several versions of the speech were printed in the days after Lincoln delivered it on November 19, more Americans in 1863 read variations of this Times version than any other.

    Lincoln delivered the address at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19. (The Battle of Gettysburg, fought July 1-3, 1863, resulted in over 57,000 casualties.) The speech was famously short, lasting only about two minutes. In contrast, Edward Everett's speech on the occasion-now mostly forgotten-lasted almost two hours.

    Joseph Gilbert of the Associated Press, one of only four newspaper copyists in attendance at the dedication in Gettysburg, reviewed Lincoln's written text immediately afterwards and then sent it by telegraph to the Times, which printed it near the top of the middle column on page one in this November 20th morning edition. The text of the speech, taking up a mere thirty-one lines, is included in an article entitled "The Heroes of July" and contains bracketed notations indicating when the audience applauded. Interestingly, the text of Everett's lengthy speech takes up all of page two of this edition and one column of page three. The New-York Times was an important Republican newspaper and, thus, reported favorably on the speech, giving it valuable front page space (unlike papers such as the Hartford Courant which printed two versions of Secretary of State William Seward's speech and large extracts of Everett's speech but did not mention Lincoln's address).

    This issue of the Times also contains other Civil War content, including news of recent skirmishes by the Army of the Potomac and Confederate movements toward Knoxville, Tennessee. The toned pages exhibit chipped edges. The first and eighth pages have detached.

    References: Gary Wills, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America, (New York; Simon and Schuster, 1992), 191-192; Gabor Boritt, The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech that Nobody Knows, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006), 138, 239.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
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