SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – We just marked the 157th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln Library in Springfield, Ill. planned to display a handwritten copy of the famous speech, but COVID changed their plans.
The document at the library is one of the only five surviving copies written by President Abraham Lincoln.
It was taken out of its climate-controlled vault and displayed for two weeks in a dimly lit part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
However, the rising number of COVID cases nationwide has resulted in the popular presidential site having to close its doors temporarily.
“We decided not to display it this year,” Lincoln Historian Dr. Christian McWhirter said. “We’ve created a virtual way you can go look at it at.”
The display gives viewers a virtual journey into the words handwritten by the 16th U.S. president.
“A lot of that for him is wrapped up in the Emancipation Proclamation that it’s going to be a nation without slavery and that’s what the election the next year of 1864 becomes, a referendum on whether there’d be emancipation or not,” Whirter said. “So, lots of links to today with party division and election. Lincoln’s thinking about these things too in the most divisive time in American history.”
Whirter said several curators work in the library and museum.
“It’s a shame people can’t see it in person this year,” Whirter said. “Of course we all understand the circumstances from that, but it’s powerful to see something that connected with Lincoln.”
For more information, visit lincolnlibraryandmuseum.com.