January 1, 2013, marked the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, an order that proclaimed all those enslaved in Confederate territory to be forever free and ordered the Army and all segments of the Executive branch to treat as free all those enslaved in 10 states that were still in rebellion. Brown’s Charles Woodberry McLellan Collection of Lincolniana, housed in the John Hay Library, includes many items that provide important insight into the mindset of Lincoln and the state of the country during this historically significant era. Comprising more than 30,000 items by and about Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, and about the historical and political context of his life and career, chiefly the U.S. Civil War and its causes and aftermath, the collection includes broadsides, manuscripts, objects, graphics, and sheet music. “Brown’s Lincoln collection contains more than a thousand manuscripts that detail Lincoln’s conduct of the presidency during the Civil War,” said Holly Snyder, curator of American historical collections. “One of the most significant items in the collection is the draft of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation in the hand of Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln’s treasury secretary, created during Cabinet discussions early in September 1862. The Collection also includes a number of printed copies of the final text of the Proclamation that are decorated with vignettes of African American life in slavery and in freedom.” Also included in the collection is a document penned by Lincoln titled “Meditation on the Divine Will,” circa 1862, which conveys his feelings about God and how those beliefs informed his decision on the Emancipation. “In great contests, each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. You can not be for and against the same thing at the same time,” Lincoln wrote. Many of the items in Brown’s Lincoln collection have been digitized and can be viewed at library.brown.edu/cds/lincoln.

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