Gilcrease Museum Displays Signed Copy Of Emancipation Proclamation

Thursday, February 21st 2013, 5:11 pm
By: News On 6

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Tulsa's Gilcrease Museum has on display one of few existing copies of the document actually signed by President Lincoln.

Dr. Duane King, Executive Director of the Gilcrease Museum, took us through the special exhibit to honor the Emancipation Proclamation.

"We put this up to acknowledge and honor this important event in American history," King said.

The proclamation was issued in January 1863. It was a five-page handwritten document and freed the slaves in the Confederate states.

In June of 1864, 48 copies of the Emancipation Proclamation were printed and President Lincoln signed each one. They were donated to the Sanitary Commission, which later would become the Red Cross. They were auctioned off at huge fairs to raise money for medical treatment of Union soldiers.

6/22/2012 Related Story: Gilcrease Museum Portrays George Washington In New Tulsa Exhibit

And the Gilcrease Museum has one of those signed copies.

"As you know, this is Black History Month, so there is a lot of interest in the collection in the Gilcrease archives," King said.

Also in the exhibit are photographs of Lincoln's second inaugural, illustrations from Harper's Weekly Magazine from January 1863, and a handwritten bill of sale for 16 slaves in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1857.

The Gilcrease has a wonderful collection of significant historical documents.

"We have the only certified copy of the Declaration of Independence, an original copy of the Bill of Rights; many documents that chronicle the founding of democracy in the United States," King said.

Those historic documents will be on public display through the end of the year.