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Penn Libraries Events & Exhibitions
Detail of wood engraving The effects of the proclamation: Freed Negroes coming into our lines, Newbern, North Carolina, Harper's Weekly, February 21, 1863), Penn Libraries.
The Great Emancipator and the Great Central Fair
On exhibit January 20 - February 27, 2015
On December 27th, 1862, Republican activist John Murray Forbes wrote to Charles Sumner regarding the forthcoming emancipation decree from President Lincoln: "In such a Proclamation words become things and powerful things too." In 1864, as the meaning of the Emancipation Proclamation began to crystallize both for the millions in bondage and for the country at large, forty-eight autographed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation were put on sale in Philadelphia for $10 each. The Great Central Fair raised over one million dollars for the Union cause, and the relics that remain speak not only to the monumental scope of the Proclamation, its dissemination, and its place in the minds of wartime Americans but also to the power that the words would come to represent. This exhibit will display two of these forty-eight copies from the Fair as well as a wealth of material highlighting the Emancipation Proclamation as a document and as a deed.

Thursday, January 29, 5:30 PM
Exhibition Lecture and Reception

Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Please join us for a private reception to celebrate the opening of the exhibition featuring Dr. Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Sociology and Law, Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, and Director of the Penn Program on Race, Science and Society. Reception and curator-led tours of the exhibition to follow.

Tuesday, February 17, 5:30 PM
Lincoln's Jewish Telegrapher and the Emancipation Proclamation

Lecture by Kathryn Hellerstein, Associate Professor, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of Pennsylvania
Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts

A 22 year old Jewish immigrant from a village near Prague, happened to be the telegrapher on duty in the War Telegraph Office on New Year's Eve, 1863, when President Lincoln ordered the Emancipation Proclamation to be disseminated across the nation. In this talk, Penn professor of Yiddish Kathryn Hellerstein will discuss the quotidian experiences at this crucial historical moment of this young man, Edward Rosewater, her great-great-grandfather, though a letter he wrote his beloved. After the talk stay for a guided curatorial tour of the Penn Libraries' exhibit "The Great Emancipator and the Great Central Fair" which focuses on the material history of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Reservations are appreciated but not required. RSVP here


Goldstein Family Gallery, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Van Pelt Dietrich Library Center, sixth floor
3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
Gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm; Wednesday, 10am-8pm
For further information (215.898.7088 or rbml@pobox.upenn.edu)
free and open to the public (please show photo ID at entrance)