ITHACA, N.Y. (Nov. 19, 2013) – Cornell’s original copy of the Gettysburg Address — one of only five written in Abraham Lincoln’s own handwriting — now has a spotlight from Google.
The Google Cultural Institute, which offers online collections from hundreds of museums and archives all over the world, is featuring the Address today. Lincoln delivered his iconic speech exactly 150 years ago: Nov. 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Pennsylvania.
The original document, along with an exhibition of Cornell’s extensive Lincoln-related materials, is currently on display in the Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. Cornell is also celebrating the anniversary with several events.
“Today’s anniversary resonates with so many people, and we’re really excited to be able to share this piece of its story,” said Anne R. Kenney, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell. “Our Library has a long history of partnering with Google on digitization projects, and now we’re expanding that partnership in a new way.”
Lincoln wrote out Cornell’s copy of the address at the request of George Bancroft, the most famous historian of his day, who wanted to auction it at a fundraiser for soldiers in Baltimore. But when Bancroft saw Lincoln had copied the text on both sides of the paper, he realized it wouldn’t be suitable and asked the president to redo it.
The new, two-page copy eventually made its way to the Cuban ambassador and now resides in the Lincoln Room in the White House. Bancroft kept his original version, though, and Nicholas H. and Marguerite Lilly Noyes gave the manuscript now known as the “Bancroft copy” to Cornell University Library in 1949.
All five copies of the Address in Lincoln’s handwriting are featured as part of the Google Cultural Institute, which is bringing Cornell’s copy of the Address to the millions of people who visit the site every month. A link to the exhibits also appears on the Google homepage, just below the search box.
With more than 350 partners in 52 countries, the institute acts as a free museum available to anyone with an Internet connection. Its collections represent events such as the first post-apartheid elections in South Africa, the Hiroshima bombings, the birth of the Eiffel Tower and many more.
About Cornell University Library
Cornell University Library’s rich collections, expert librarians, responsive services and welcoming spaces inspire and nourish scholarship and learning throughout the university. Its world-class collection — 8 million print volumes, nearly a million e-books and 5 million journal article downloads per year — covers incredibly diverse fields, such as hip-hop and punk, East and Southeast Asia, labor, agriculture, hospitality and Liberian law.
About the Google Cultural Institute
The Google Cultural Institute is dedicated to creating technology that helps the cultural community to bring their art, archives, heritage sites and other material online. The aim is to increase the range and volume of material from the cultural world that is available for people to explore online and in doing so, democratize access to it and preserve it for future generations.