Item #8411 Facsimile of the Emancipation Proclamation. Abraham Lincoln.

Sign up to receive email notices of recent acquisitions.

Lincoln, Abraham.

Facsimile of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Chicago: Printed by Edward Mendel, 1863. Lithograph; image size: 19.5” x 31”; sheet size: 23” x 34.25”. CONDITION: Very good, some chipping to edges, recently reinforced on verso with Japanese tissue.

A large broadside facsimile of the final manuscript draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued to raise funds for the U.S. Sanitary Commission and the Soldiers’ Home in Chicago. 

After composing the final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln wrote to the women organizing the 1863 Northwestern Sanitary Fair notifying them that, in response to their request, he was sending them the original manuscript, which he enclosed with his letter, so that it could be sold to raise money for the support and care of sick and disabled soldiers of the Union Army. An auction was held by the Northwestern Fair and the manuscript was purchased for $3000 by Thomas B. Bryan, President of the Soldiers Home of Chicago. In turn, Bryan created and sold facsimiles of the draft to fund the U.S. Sanitary Commission and establish a permanent home for Union veterans. The price of the facsimile was $2. The Soldiers’ Home deposited the original manuscript at the Chicago Historical Society, where it was exhibited until the Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the document along with much of the city. 

At the top of this broadside is Bryan’s printed certification of the authenticity of the facsimile and his statement of purpose for its sale, flanked by emblems of the Soldiers’ Home. Below and to the left is a facsimile of the letter Lincoln wrote on 26 Oct. 1863 to the “Ladies having in charge the North Western Fair for the Sanitary Commission, Chicago.” The letter identifies those portions of the manuscript not in his hand and explains that the printed text pasted on the manuscript “was cut from a copy of the preliminary proclamation, and pasted on merely to save writing.” Following the letter is the final manuscript draft of the Emancipation Proclamation. To the left of the letter is an oval portrait of Lincoln. A blind-stamped official seal of authenticity appears in the lower left corner, with a statement above it reading, “Every genuine copy has the Proclamation Seal attached immediately hereunder.” A printed line at the bottom has been filled in with the name of one John Deichman M.D. of Whitewater, Wisc., and his date of purchase, March 29th, 1864.

On January 7th, 1864, Bryan sent two copies of the facsimile to Lincoln accompanied by a letter reading in part: “I mail herewith for your acceptance the two first copies of the lithographer Fac-Similes of your Proclamation of Freedom.—Have the kindness to inform me if the copies impress you favorably as an exact Fac-Simile which it purports to be…” To this, Lincoln replied: “I have received the two copies of the lithographed fac-simile of the original draft of the Emancipation Proclamation…I have to say that although I have not examined it in detail, yet it impresses me favorably as being a faithful and correct copy.”

Born in Berlin where he trained as a map engraver, Edward Mendel (1828–1884) was a lithographer, engraver, and map publisher. He immigrated to Cincinnati in the 1840s and moved to Chicago in the early 1850s. Mendel was the city’s first lithographer, and by the time of the Civil War his company was printing chromolithographs. Although Mendel’s operation was destroyed in the fire of 1871, he rebuilt and continued working as a lithographer until his death in 1884.

Bryan published three versions of this broadside, all printed by Mendel. The other two versions are vertically-oriented, one illustrated with a mounted photograph of Lincoln and the other with a portrait identical to that appearing on the version offered here.

Counting all three versions, OCLC records ten copies (many of the records are insufficiently detailed to know which version is described).

REFERENCES: Eberstadt 36; Last, Jay. The Color Explosion : Nineteenth-Century American Lithography (Santa Ana, CA, 2005), p. 116; Abraham Lincoln papers collection (at the Chicago History Museum) at Explore Chicago Collections online; Facsimile of Emancipation Proclamation at The Lincoln Collection online.

Item #8411

Price: $4,500.00

See all items in Broadsides & Ephemera
See all items by Abraham Lincoln