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New-York Historical Society Displays Handwitten Copy of 13th Amendment Through 4/1

Related: New-York Historical Society, Abraham Lincoln
New-York Historical Society Displays Handwitten Copy of 13th Amendment Through 4/1

As Black History Month begins and Abraham Lincoln's birthday approaches, the New-York Historical Society is pleased to add to its displays a rare handwritten copy of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution-the measure that abolished slavery-signed by Lincoln himself. The document, which was recently acquired by David Rubenstein, managing director of The Carlyle Group, will be on view at New-York Historical in the new Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History.

Mr. Rubenstein will participate in the unveiling ceremony at noon with a group of eighth-grade American history students from IS 259 in Brooklyn and KIPP Academy in Manhattan. The ceremony will be held at 12:00 PM at New-York Historical on February 1, the 147th anniversary of the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment. It will then be on public display through April 1.

"I am honored to have recently purchased an Abraham Lincoln-signed copy of the Thirteenth Amendment, and am pleased that the first public exhibition since my purchase will be at the New-York Historical Society," said Mr. Rubenstein. "Along with the Bill of Rights, I believe the Thirteenth Amendment is the most important addition to the Constitution, and I hope as many people as possible will have a chance to see this Amendment in person."

One of about thirteen manuscripts Lincoln signed in addition to the original, this copy belonged to Schuyler Colfax, House Speaker in 1863 and later Vice President under Ulysses S. Grant. According to Seth Kaller, president of Seth Kaller, Inc., who acquired the document for Mr. Rubenstein in a private transaction, and arranged its loan to New-York Historical, "this is the one that is directly traceable to a leader instrumental in the amendment's passage. It has not been displayed in New York for more than forty years.

Other extremely rare documents currently on view at New-York Historical include the Stamp Act of 1765 (which set off riots that ultimately led to the American Revolution), on loan from the Parliamentary Archives, London, and the only known surviving copy of the first printing of the Haitian Declaration of Independence (1804, National Archives, London). These two documents, exhibited to the U.S. public for the first time, are part of the current exhibition Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn.

Also currently on view at New-York Historical is Freedom Now: Photographs by Platon, an exhibition of large-scale, present-day images of figures who were engaged in the Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and '60s.

About the New-York Historical Society
The New-York Historical Society, one of America's pre-eminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research, presenting history and art exhibitions, and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered political, cultural and social history of New York City and State and the nation, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

New-York Historical is recognized for engaging the public with deeply researched and far-ranging exhibitions, such as Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America; Slavery in New York; Nature and the American Vision: The Hudson River School at the New-York Historical Society; Grant and Lee in War and Peace; and the 2009 exhibition Lincoln and New York. Supporting these exhibitions and related education programs are one of the world's greatest collections of historical artifacts, works of American art, and other materials documenting the history of the United States and New York.


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