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Appendix II: Manuscripts and Other Signed Editions of the Emancipation Proclamation

Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

•           Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Robert Todd Lincoln Family Papers.

First draft. Autograph manuscript signed and endorsed by Lincoln, “Emancipation Proclamation as first-sketched and shown to the Cabinet in July 1862.”

•           New York State Library.

Draft. Autograph manuscript, with manuscript changes by Secretary of State, William H. Seward, and formal beginning and end by the chief clerk of the State Department.  [facsimiled by Lossing, Nicolay and Hay, and others.] September 22, 1862.

•           National Archives.

Official Proclamation, signed by Lincoln and Seward, September 22, 1862.


A copy “partly in Lincoln’s hand; July 25, 1862”, once reported to be in the Library Company of Philadelphia, is really a predecessor, relating to the Confiscation Act (this manuscript was also sold at a Sanitary Fair).


Lincoln and his allies stand for the Union in the 1864 election.
From Harper's Weekly, October 1, 1864.

Drafts of the Final EP: Unsigned Manuscripts, December 30, 1862

•           Library of Congress.

Four manuscript copies, all in secretarial hands. One has William Seward’s changes; one is believed to have Edward Bates’s changes; one has changes by an unknown individual; and one has no changes (the latter two may have been the copies of Chase and Blair).


Lincoln is believed to have given copies to each of his cabinet members. An unsigned draft in a secretarial hand, which sold at Christie’s a few years ago, could have been one owned by another cabinet member.

Final Proclamation

•         National Archives - official, engrossed Final EP.  Issued January 1, 1863.


Lincoln’s handwritten draft was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Photographic copies and prints survive.

The only other Lincoln-Signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation are the privately designed “California printing” features a large flag at the top, but the text of the Proclamation is far from complete. Three were reportedly signed. We can locate two, one in the Gilder Lehrman Collection at New-York Historical Society, and one owned by Louise Taper for eventual donation to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

Next Page: Appendix III: Slavery and Emancipation in American History