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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A glimpse of history

On Monday I had the pleasure of viewing part of the original Emancipation Proclamation signed and sealed by President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago.  This was quite an experience! 

Although the National Archives has a facsimile  of the document on permanent display, viewing of the original is limited to only a few days a year to protect it from more damage from handling and light exposure.  The Emancipation Proclamation is rarely displayed, while the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill or Rights are on permanent display.  This is because the Charters were written on very durable parchment made from animal skin and are sealed in a special environment, while the Proclamation was written on both sides of poor-quality 19th-century paper. 

The display was only open for three days and as you can imagine, the lines were long ... for me it meant 1-1/2 hours outside the Archives building, then another half hour or so inside before I actually reached the display case.  Because they wanted to push through as many people as possible, we weren't allowed to stop and actually look  at it - bummer! 

What we saw was two original pages and two high-resolution facsimiles (because he wrote on both sides of the paper).  The document was so very very  faded from light exposure, and the lighting in the Rotunda was so dim, I couldn't make out any of the words.  But I'm glad to have had a chance to see it ... part of our country's history.

Sew forth and sew on til later...


  1. I am reading a book that I think you will love. It is about Lincoln and Mary Todd - told from the perspective of her dressmaker.
    I have learned a lot from it. I will be writing a review once I finish it.

  2. The event even made the newspaper here in Tokyo. If I had waited in so long a line, I would have wanted a bit longer look!
    Happy New Year, Linda!

    1. Very interesting Linda. I am guessing Lincoln used homemade Iron Gall Ink made with the galls from the oak tree, similiar to what Jane Austen used. Although very weak her manuscripts stayed in tack.

  3. Oh wow! What an awesome privilege to see it! Have you seen the movie? It was a good movie. I'm not much for cinema, but that was a huge exception. ell made, well-written, and well acted.


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