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Emancipation Proclamation, Leland-Boker Edition

Abraham Lincoln, Leland-Boker
Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, PA
Origin Date:
20 11/16" x 15 7/8"
Item ID:
Holding Institution:
Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, Courtesy of the Indiana State Museum
Available for Viewing:
Three-dimensional Objects


This artifact is black text printed on tan parchment. It is titled at the top center "By the President of the United States. A Proclamation." The document is archivally mounted on thin board. There is some loss at the corners. It is signed in ink script by President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward. These signatures are attested to by the President's secretary John Nicolay. This is an original hand-signed Leland-Boker edition of the Emancipation Proclamation. The original Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln, decreed that the 3.1 million slaves held in states that were at the time in rebellion were to be considered free. In an attempt to avoid antagonizing loyal border states, slaves held in regions that had remained loyal to the Union were exempted. On September 22, 1862 President Lincoln announced his intention to issue a formal emancipation, which took effect on January 1, 1863. Although the Proclamation covered only thoses areas not under Union control, and thus actually freed no slaves, the order explicitly made abolition a central goal of the war, energized anti-slavery forces, weakened those in Europe who wanted to intervene on the side of the Confederacy, encouraged slaves to escape to Union lines, and paved the way for over 200,000 African Americans to join the Union military. The abolition of slavery was finalized by passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which took effect in December 1865. The Leland-Boker "Authorized Edition" of the Emancipation Proclamation was printed in June of 1864 and signed by President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward, who's signatures are attested to by the President's secretary John Nicolay. These copies were then sold as souvenirs at the Great Central Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia from June 7-29, 1864. Sanitary Fairs were created to raise money for sick and wounded soldiers; to supply bandages, crutches, cots and the like; and to improve conditions in military camps. The Leland-Boker edition of the Emancipation Proclamation was created by two Philadelphia abolitionists: Charles Leland, a veteran of Gettysburg and the editor of Graham's Magazine and Continental Monthly, and George Boker a Philadelphia banker, playwright and political activist. Only forty-eight copies were printed and how many were signed by Lincoln remains in question. The current census details fewer than twenty five remain extant. The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection includes several more items related to various sanitary fairs held during the 1860s to raise funds for the United States Sanitary Commission such as a donation certificate, a fan, a medal, a broadside "To the Loyal Women of America," several lithographs, sheet music, "The Sanitary Commission of the United States: a Succinct Narrative of Its Works and Purposes," and several related books and catalogs of items donated for sale at various sanitary fairs, the full texts of which are also online. To see all of the related items in this collection go to www.lincolncollection.org and search the keyword "sanitary." To view the full text of books and pamphlets online, click in the "Download this document" box. Part of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum