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Chicago Lithograph of the Emancipation Proclamation
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An elaborate and colorful Chicago pre-fire imprint of Lincoln’s historic proclamation. Embellished with three-quarter borders of scrolling oak leaves and acorns, twining with large letters proclaiming “Freedom” and “Forever”; the oak leaves hand-colored in green; at the top and bottom are engraved vignettes (symbols of industry and the arts, a village scene, an American eagle, and a harbor scene); the central portion with a field of pale blue with a ground of stars and a sunburst design at top.

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. Broadside, “National Proclamation of Emancipation.” Chicago: Rufus Blanchard. ca. 1863-64. Color lithograph, 11½ x 15½ in., on parchment-like paper.

Inventory #24989       Price: $3,750

Partial Transcript:

“I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States…do…Order and Declare that ALL PERSONS HELD AS SLAVES within designated States, or parts of States, are, and henceforward SHALL BE FREE, and that the Executive Government of the United States…will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons, and I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free, to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases where allowed, they LABOR FAITHFULLY FOR REASONABLE WAGES; and I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the ARMED SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES…And upon this, sincerely believed to be AN ACT OF JUSTICE WARRANTED BY THE CONSTITUTION, upon Military Necessity, I invoke the Considerate Judgment of Mankind and the Gracious Favor of Almighty God…”

Historical Background

In sounding the death knell of slavery, Lincoln took a decisive stand on the most contentious issue in the country’s history. His preliminary proclamation, announced on September 22, 1862, warned Southern states that if they did not abandon the war they would lose their slaves. As the final version took full effect on January 1, 1863, slavery in the United States at last approached its demise.

Rufus Blanchard (1821-1904), one of Chicago’s foremost publishers of maps, guidebooks and globes, was a strong supporter of the Lincoln administration. In another broadside from his press, Blanchard noted that the Emancipation Proclamation “perfects the purposes of the Declaration of Independence” and would serve as “a powerful incentive to the slave to fight for the Union instead of his rebel master....”

Eberstadt 18.

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