Oration Delivered on the Battlefield of Gettysburg

Abraham LINCOLN   |   Edward EVERETT

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Item#: 115117 price:$65,000.00

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"ONE OF THE SUPREME UTTERANCES OF THE PRINCIPLES OF DEMOCRATIC FREEDOM" (PMM): FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM OF LINCOLN'S GETTYSBURG ADDRESS

(LINCOLN, Abraham) EVERETT, Edward. An Oration Delivered on the Battlefield of Gettysburg, (November 19, 1863) at the Consecration of the Cemetery Prepared for the Interment of the Remains of Those Who Fell in the Battles of July 1st, 2d, and 3d, 1863. New York: Baker & Godwin, 1863. Octavo, original tan publisher's printed wrappers; pp. 48. Housed in a custom chemise and half morocco slipcase. $65,000.

Rare first book-form appearance of Lincoln's magnificent Gettysburg Address, scrawled, according to legend, on scratch-paper and envelopes, corresponding almost exactly to the spoken version transcribed by Associated Press reporter Joseph L. Gilbert, in original wrappers.

The Gettysburg Address, a few short lines scrawled, according to legend, on scratch-paper and the backs of envelopes, is one of America's most cherished documents. As noted by David Mearns of the Library of Congress, "Touch any aspect of the Address and you touch a mystery"—one immersed in history. Before a large crowd assembled at Gettysburg, orator Edward Everett delivered his address as President Lincoln waited on the platform, occasionally "removing his speech and glancing over it before returning it to his pocket… As Everett started back to his seat, Lincoln stood to clasp his hand and warmly congratulate him… the 'flutter and motion of the crowd ceased the moment the President was on his feet'… Lincoln put on his steel-rimmed spectacles and glanced down at his pages. Though he had had but a brief time to prepare the address, he had devoted intense thought to his chosen theme for nearly a decade… giving truth to the phrase 'all men are created equal'… 'Four score and seven years ago,' he began" (Goodwin, Team of Rivals, 585-6). This work paid "unforgettable justice to the thousands of young Americans who had struggled with incredible bravery" (Bruce Catton). "The Washington Chronicle of 18-21 November reported extensively on this ceremony and included a verbatim text of 'Edward Everett's Great Oration'… On the fourth day it noted in passing that the President had also made a speech, but gave no details. When it came to the separate publication on 22 November, Everett's 'Oration' was reprinted from the standing type, but Lincoln's speech had still to be set up. It was tucked away as a final paragraph on page 16 of the pamphlet. It was similarly treated when the meanly produced leaflet was replaced by a 48-page booklet published by Baker and Goodwin of New York in the same year" (PMM 351). This is that New York printing, with Lincoln's Address on page 40. This edition was preceded only by the exceptionally rare 16-page pamphlet, The Gettysburg Solemnities, known in only three copies. This printing corresponds almost exactly to the spoken version transcribed by Associated Press reporter Joseph L. Gilbert, with the omission of "poor" in "our poor power to add or detract," and correcting "refinished" to "unfinished work." Wills, 191-204; 261-263. Howes E233. Sabin 23263. Streeter 1747. Monaghan 193. Grolier, American 100, 72 (note).

Fragile original paper wraps fine with light vertical crease and minor darkening at top edge. An exceptional copy of this important Lincoln rarity in fine condition. Handsomely boxed.

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