Four Score and Seven Years Ago someone printed copies of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and gave them away.  Today people are selling them as the real thing.  Now I’m not sure if it was 87 years ago, but there are a number of printed facsimiles of that most famous work floating around the country.  It is printed on two quarto (8-1/2” x 11”) sheets.  On the verso (the back) is the printed text; “A Donnelley DEEPTONE Offset Facsimile / R.R. DONNELLEY & SONS COMPANY / The Lakeside Press.”  They are very attractive, and could fool the novice collector or dealer.  I have seen some framed and matted.  Under glass the printer’s note is not visible, and it is difficult to tell it not authentic.

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, published in 1953, indicates there are several different versions of the text, some written on White House stationery, others written on a single sheet, a newspaper version for the press, and a copy for Edward Everett.  Everett was the statesman who also spoke at Gettysburg (for over an hour!!), but his speech is not the one we remember.  The copy to Everett was to be bound in a book for the Sanitary Fair in New York.

Mark Neeley’s The Lincoln Encyclopedia indicates that the five copies are accounted for as follows: Two in the Library of Congress and one in each in The White House, Cornell University, and the Illinois State Historical Society.

There may be other copies out there, but chances are, if you run across one, it is probably a facsimile.  Remember – that’s they said about the Declaration of Independence until some one found one framed under a print and sold it for eight million dollars.

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