1. Curated Grouping:
  2. The Emancipation Proclamation

President Lincoln writing the Proclamation of Freedom, January 1, 1863

Ehrgott, Forbriger & Co., David Gilmour Blythe
Pennsylvania, Allegheny County, Pittsburgh
Origin Date:
paper, print
overall: 23 1/4 in x 28 in
Item ID:
Holding Institution:
Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum
Available for Viewing:
Fine Art


This chromolithograph is based on David Gilmour Blythe's satirical painting of President Abraham Lincoln writing the Emancipation Proclamation. Contrary to the title, the proclamation was issued in 1862 and went into effect in January 1863. In a cluttered study Lincoln sits in shirtsleeves and slippers, at work on the document near an open window. His left hand is placed on a Bible that rests on a copy of the Constitution in his lap. The scene displays several symbolic details and other meaningful references. A bust of Lincoln's strongly Unionist predecessor Andrew Jackson sits on a mantlepiece near the window at Lincoln's right. A bust of another former President, James Buchanan, who was widely viewed as ineffectual against secessionism, hangs by a rope around its neck from a bookcase behind Lincoln. The scales of justice appear in the left corner, and a railsplitter's maul lies on the floor on top of a map at Lincoln's feet. Part of the Lincoln Financial Foundation, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum.