Rare Documents Part of Cornell University Library’s Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration

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Rare Documents Part of Cornell University Library’s Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration
Major Civil War Exhibition Opens with Lecture from James McPherson

ITHACA, N.Y. (Oct. 15, 2009) – In honor of Abraham Lincoln’s 200th birthday, Cornell University Library will display a rare trio of documents that framed Lincoln’s presidency and etched an indelible chapter into American history. Original copies of the Gettysburg Address, the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment will be displayed during an exhibition opening Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Also in celebration of the anniversary, Civil War historian James McPherson will deliver the Library’s Rudin lecture, entitled “Stretching the Constitution: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief.” McPherson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for History, will speak on Oct. 20 at 4:45 p.m. in the Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall.

A reception opening the exhibition will follow in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, level 2B of the Carl A. Kroch Library. Access to Kroch Library is through Olin Library, Cornell’s main library on the central campus. All events are free and open to the public.

“The Library is incredibly fortunate to own original copies of these three documents and to be able to gather them together for people to see all at once,” said Katherine Reagan, curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts. “Together, these documents determined the direction of the country and shaped its most sacred values.A gift of Nicholas H. and Marguerite Lilly Noyes, the three documents arrived at Cornell between 1949 and 1952 as part of the Noyes Collection of Historical Americana.

The exhibition, “The Lincoln Presidency: Last Full Measure of Devotion,” will include the three seminal documents as well as scarce and important photographs of Lincoln; memorabilia from his 1860 and 1864 campaigns; engravings, photographs and programs commemorating his assassination and funeral; and rare materials from the Lincoln and Civil War collections of Cornell’s first president, Andrew Dickson White.

Cornell’s original copy of the Gettysburg Address, written in Lincoln’s own handwriting, will be on display during the first week of the exhibition only: Tuesday, Oct. 20 to Friday, Oct. 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 24, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Monday, Oct. 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A facsimile of the Gettysburg Address, along with the rest of the large-scale Lincoln exhibition, will remain on view through April 2010.

The exhibition is made possible by a grant from the Nicholas H. Noyes, Jr. Memorial Foundation, and McPherson's lecture is made possible by a gift from Gail '56 and Stephen Rudin.

About Cornell University Library
One of the leading academic research libraries in the United States, Cornell University Library is a highly valued partner in teaching, research and learning at Cornell University. The Library offers cutting-edge programs and a full spectrum of services, rare books and manuscripts and a growing network of digital resources.
The Library’s outstanding collections – from medieval manuscripts to hip hop and from ancient Chinese texts to comic books – preserve the past and pave the way for future scholarship. To learn more about Cornell University Library, visit <http://library.cornell.edu>.

Major Civil War Exhibition Opens with Lecture from James McPherson