NEW YORK (AP).-
As Black History Month begins and Abraham Lincolns birthday approaches, the New-York Historical Society
adds to its displays a rare handwritten copy of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitutionthe measure that abolished slaverysigned by Lincoln himself. The document, which was recently acquired by David Rubenstein, managing director of The Carlyle Group, is on view at New-York Historical in the new Robert H. and Clarice Smith New York Gallery of American History.
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 amendments 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.