Reflections on a Nation: American Writings from the Gilder Lehrman Collection

September 10, 2013 through January 12, 2014
Image of Declaration of Independence

This fall, the Morgan will display a selection of exceptional documents from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, one of the country's foremost archives of Americana. The selection represents seminal moments and key figures in U.S. history, and reflects the collection's strengths in documents from the Revolutionary, early national, antebellum, and Civil War periods.

On view will be the only surviving copy of a 1776 edition of the Declaration of Independence printed in South Carolina; George Washington's letter to Henry Knox expressing reluctance at assuming the presidency; a first edition of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, along with her letter to Prince Albert praising Britain's early abolition of slavery; Abraham Lincoln's 1858 stump speech fragment in which he argues that all creatures are entitled to the fruits of their own labor; and a poignant letter to Mary Todd Lincoln from Frederick Douglass, thanking her for the gift of her late husband's walking stick.

Image Caption: 

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826)
Declaration of Independence printed by Peter Timothy, 2 August 1776, Charleston, South Carolina.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History