2138
2138
Abraham Lincoln
THE PROCLAMATION OF EMANCIPATION, BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TO TAKE EFFECT JANUARY 1ST, 1863. [BOSTON" JOHN MURRAY FORBES, DECEMBER 1862]
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 13,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT
2138
Abraham Lincoln
THE PROCLAMATION OF EMANCIPATION, BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TO TAKE EFFECT JANUARY 1ST, 1863. [BOSTON" JOHN MURRAY FORBES, DECEMBER 1862]
Estimate
10,00015,000
LOT SOLD. 13,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana

|
New York

Abraham Lincoln
THE PROCLAMATION OF EMANCIPATION, BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, TO TAKE EFFECT JANUARY 1ST, 1863. [BOSTON" JOHN MURRAY FORBES, DECEMBER 1862]
8 pages (3 1/8 x 2 1/8 in.; 80 x 55 mm). Original light pink printed wrappers (title front wrapper; rear wrapper with a quotation of an 1861 speech by Alexander H. Stephens); wrappers and text soiled, wrappers detached.
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Provenance

The only contemporary pamphlet printing of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, evidently printed for distribution to Union Soldiers and Southern Blacks, both slave and free

In 1899, the publisher's daughter recalled the genesis of this pocket-sized edition: "With the view of placing the Proclamation of Emancipation in the hands of the negroes themselves, my father had printed 1,000,000 copies on small slips, one and half inches square, put into packages of fifty each, and distributed among the Northern soldiers at the front, who scattered them about among the blacks, while on the march. [Massachusetts Senator Charles] Sumner approved the idea …" (Sara Forbes Hughes, Letters and Recollections of John Murray Forbes, pp. 348-49). Indeed, in a letter to Forbes of Christmas Day, 1862, Sumner asked, "Why not send to all the hospitals, camps, posts? The more the better?"

John Murray Forbes was a Boston industrialist and an ardent abolitionist, who contributed to raising the celebrated 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, an African American regiment led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. In order to underline the key role of slavery in necessitating Civil War, Forbes had printed on the rear wrapper a quotation he attributed to "Alex. Stephens, Vice President of the so-called Confederate States": "This stone (slavery), which was rejected by the first builders, is become the chief stone of the corner in our new edifice." 

Given the rarity of this edition, it is likely that Forbes's daughter exaggerated the print run, as well as the diminutiveness, of her father's imprint—but the significance of his distribution scheme can scarcely be exaggerated.

Literature

Eberstadt, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation 7; Monaghan, Lincoln Bibliography 147

Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana

|
New York