Lincoln at Gettysburg
“The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here,” worded Lincoln, ironically enough at the dedication ceremony for the Fallen at the Gettysburg. The line and the entire Gettysburg Address, indeed passed unnoticed on that November day 1863.
The main speaker of the day was not Lincoln but the orator Edward Everett, who droned on for two hours in a 1,500-sentence speech full of what Bill Bryson called, “literary allusions, Ciceronian pomp and obscure historical references that bore only the scantest significance to the occasion”. Abraham Lincoln was the second speaker and his speech contained only 268 words, two thirds of them of only one syllable, in ten short sentences. He barely took his eyes of his written speech–which didn’t mentioned Gettysburg or slavery or the Union. His talk of a little over 2 minutes was too short for the official photographer to take the president delivering the iconic speech.
Abraham Lincoln photos are rare — from the day of the Gettysburg Address, only one verified photo exist the one above. One is currently being verified here.
The photos were even rarer than the manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address. Of five known copies, the Library of Congress has two (those of Lincoln’s private secretaries), and other three copies of the Address were written by Lincoln for charitable purposes. (Everett, to whom Lincoln confided that he thought the speech was a failure, got a copy).