Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Missing Pages of 1862 Message Located

This morning, I reread Lincoln's 1862 Annual Message to Congress in preparation for my annual Lincoln sermon.  In The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy Basler, there is a notation that the first two pages are missing and are reproduced from a periodical.

Imagine my surprise when I read this article at lunchtime, when a team from the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project announced that the first two pages had been located at the National Archives, along with a complete second copy, signed by Lincoln, of the 86 page message (handwritten, though evidently not by Lincoln himself).

While the discovery seems unlikely to alter anything -- there is no reference that the quoted passage differs in any way from the original handwritten pages -- it is nice to know that the complete document of this important state paper is now available for researchers and properly catalogued and preserved for posterity, "for a vast future also" that Lincoln mentions in the message's memorable conclusion.

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