The 150th-anniversary commemorations continue at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. President Lincoln decided in September 1862 to sign an Emancipation Proclamation, and it took effect Jan. 1, 1863. The display of a commemorative copy of the proclamation begins at the museum Wednesday and runs through Jan. 1.
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The copy is one of several copies printed but actually signed not only by Lincoln, but by Secretary of State William Seward and Lincoln’s private secretary, John G. Nicolay. “Seward, a world figure in his own right,” says museum deputy director Dave Blanchette, “and the closest advisor that Lincoln had in his cabinet, and, of course, Nicolay, a close friend, close associate, and a secretary who was responsible for the preservation of many of the original Lincoln documents that do survive to this day.”
Blanchette says several copies were printed at the time the proclamation was signed, which was fortuitous; the original burned in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Along with the copy of the proclamation will be two items on display for the first time. A poster advertising a slave sale in Kentucky illustrates that the proclamation did not apply to border states. And an 1870s-era statue of Lincoln over a kneeling slave. “Some people may not find that depiction too realistic in today’s society,” says Blanchette, who adds people will have the opportunity to comment on its appropriateness.