Just five known copies of the Gettysburg Address exist as written in the hand of Abraham Lincoln. One of those copies is going to be put on display for only three days next month at the new Visitor Center at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. The display of this priceless document, on loan from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, will be part of the grand opening celebration of the center in Gettysburg. The manuscript will be on display from September 26-28, 2008.
This particular copy of the Gettysburg Address is known as the “Everett Copy.” Contrary to popular belief, Abraham Lincoln was not the featured speaker at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863. That honor fell to Edward Everett, a nationally renowned orator of the day. While Lincoln’s famous Address took only two minutes to deliver, Everett’s speech took over two hours! A few weeks after the ceremony, Everett asked Lincoln for a copy of the Address in order to include it in a volume that Everett was assembling to mark the dedication. This copy is also the first to feature the words “under God” in the final sentence of the address.
Many myths surround the Gettysburg Address. No, Mr. Lincoln did not write it on the back of an envelope while riding the train to the town. No, it wasn’t universally declared to be a brilliant speech in the weeks and months after it was given. Click here to find out the facts behind the legends. Also you may click here to learn more about how and why Lincoln was invited to Gettysburg to give a “few appropriate remarks.”