The Gettysburg Address will be placed back on display Thursday, a
full 97 weeks after it was removed from public viewing in August
2008. It will remain available for public viewing through Nov. 21,
two days after the anniversary of the day Lincoln gave the speech on
Nov. 19, 1863.
"People ask us when the Gettysburg Address might go back on
display, and in honor of the people who changed the course of
history there, the answer is, right now," said James Cornelius,
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum rotates its
collection of original Lincoln artifacts so that about three dozen
are on public display at any given time while the remainder are
stored in a secure, climate-controlled underground vault. Original
historical materials such as the Gettysburg Address remain in better
condition if they are allowed to "rest" in a more controlled
environment rather than remain on constant public display.
The vault in which the 52,000 items of the ALPLM Lincoln
Collection are stored maintains a temperature of 65 degrees F,
relative humidity of 43 percent and, for the most valuable items,
complete darkness -- ideal conditions for paper conservation.
Conditions are close to these targets in the museum's Treasures
Gallery, where fiber-optic lighting minimizes any natural fading of
There are five original handwritten versions of the Gettysburg
Address. Two are in the Library of Congress, one at Cornell
University and one in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House. The
ALPLM's copy, written out at the request of Edward Everett, the main
speaker on Nov. 19, 1863, at the Gettysburg Cemetery dedication,
came to the state of Illinois in 1944 thanks to the contributions of
pennies by Illinois schoolchildren plus a donation by department
store magnate Marshall Field III. The ALPLM copy contains the two
additional words "under God" that Lincoln had not included in his
two original file copies.
And what is the market value of what many would argue is one of
the most important documents in American history?
"Since the state of Illinois does not sell its Lincoln artifacts,
no one knows for certain what price it would bring," said Cornelius.
"Suffice it to say, priceless."
[to top of second column]
The ALPLM's Henry Horner Lincoln Collection also contains:
original letters and manuscripts written or signed by Lincoln,
including one of the Leland-Boker printings of the Emancipation
Proclamation signed by the president.
More than 250
historical artifacts associated with the 16th president and his
family, including Lincoln's original traveling shaving mirror,
Tad Lincoln's toy cannon, the skirt to Mary Lincoln's wedding
dress and Robert Lincoln's college keepsakes.
pieces of Mary Lincoln's correspondence.
The 46 letterpress
books of Robert Lincoln's professional career.
More than 2,700
Lincoln-related prints and photographs.
More than 1,100
More than 14,000
books and pamphlets.
More than 2,400 items of Lincoln
artworks, crafts and ephemera that reflect evolving notions of
Lincoln and his legacy in the collective memory of the American
people and the people of the world.
For more information, visit
[Text from file received from
the Illinois Historic