On Nov. 19,
1862 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the cemetery at the Civil War battlefield. One of the most famous speeches in American history, the speech is recognized as a literary masterpiece. In three short paragraphs—some 270 words—Lincoln proclaimed the principles upon which the nation was founded, honored the men who had given “the last full measure of devotion” in its defense, and challenged all citizens to a renewed commitment to freedom and democracy.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the address, documentarian Ken Burns, along with numerous partners, has launched today a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the speech. Among the notables participating in the project are the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, all the living American presidents, Taylor Swift, Martha Stewart, Steven Spielberg, Uma Thurman and Stephen Colbert.
Here you can watch the Librarian recite the speech.
You can visit the website Learn the Address for more videos and information on the project.
The commemorate the anniversary, the Library of Congress is currently displaying the Nicolay copy of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in the spectacular Great Hall of the Thomas Jefferson Building through Nov. 19, before the top treasure is placed in the Library’s exhibition “The Civil War in America.”
The Library of Congress holds two copies of the address: the Nicolay copy and the Hay copy, which are two of the five known manuscript copies handwritten by Abraham Lincoln. Likely the reading copy used at Gettysburg, the Nicolay copy was in the possession of Lincoln’s secretary John George Nicolay until his death in 1901. The Hay copy, or second draft, was made by the president shortly after his return to Washington from Gettysburg, and found among the papers of Lincoln’s other secretary, John Hay. Hay’s descendants donated both the Hay and the Nicolay copies to the Library of Congress in 1916.
(The following is a guest post from Michelle Springer in the Office of Strategic Initiatives.) On Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m, you’re invited to a special public event. Twice each year, the Library of Congress opens its magnificent Main Reading Room in the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C., […]
(The following is the cover story written by Stephen Wesson, educational resource specialist in the Educational Outreach Division of the Office of Strategic Initiatives, for the September-October 2013 edition of the Library of Congress Magazine. You can download the issue in its entirety here.) Teachers and students are discovering new ways of learning with resources from […]
Celebrants observing the 50thanniversary of the March on Washington should not miss special displays of artifacts, treasures and a talk by Congressman John Lewis on Wednesday, Aug. 28, all at the Library of Congress and all free and open to the public. Opening that day is the Library’s photo exhibition, “A Day Like No Other, […]
It is rather hard to believe that at one time some of the decorative murals that adorn every nook and cranny of the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building weren’t even known to be there. In the decades after it opened in 1897, the building became increasingly overcrowded with growing staff and collections. By the […]
(The following is a guest post by Jason Steinhauer, program specialist in the Library’s John W. Kluge Center.) Each year the International Seminar on Decolonization, sponsored by the National History Center (NHC) and hosted by The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, brings together young historians from the United States and abroad to […]
Jason Emerson is a journalist and an independent historian who has been researching and writing about the Lincoln family for nearly 20 years. He is a former National Park Service park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Ill. His previous books include “The Madness of Mary Lincoln,” “Lincoln the Inventor” and […]
The author Pat Mora has a word for it: Bookjoy. If you’re a lover of books, you won’t have to look that up in a dictionary – you’ll just know, instinctively, what it is. But where were you when you first experienced the joy of books? Odds are it was on your mom’s, dad’s or […]
(The following is a guest post by Jason Steinhauer, program specialist in the Library’s John W. Kluge Center.) Author Marie Arana is a writer-at-large for the Washington Post and former editor-in-chief of Book World, as well member of the Library of Congress Scholars Council. Her latest book, a biography of Simon Bolívar, was extensively researched […]
Washington Nationals newest mascot, William Howard Taft, stopped by the Library of Congress last Friday during a special event celebrating the acquisition of the historic recording collection of Hall of Fame sports broadcaster Bob Wolff. A selection of Library treasures was put on display for guests, including Taft’s papers, which the National’s mascot is seen […]