A lost Gettysburg address that even the National Park Service was unaware of? How could that possibly be?
What makes history so exciting to me are the new discoveries that keep popping up on a regular basis. Who knew that someone would find Richard III’s bones below a parking lot, or that one lucky garage sale addict would find an original copy of the Declaration of Independence behind an engraving in a battered, old picture frame?
I felt a little like Indiana Jones when Rob Tolley, the man responsible for saving and donating much of former Ohio governor Charles Anderson’s private papers, asked me to review and identify a stack of documents. While reading through them, several pages sounded familiar. As it turned out, these were drafts that Anderson created while he prepared for his address, which followed Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. Since the delivery manuscript has already been donated to the Ohio Historical Society, Rob and I felt that Gettysburg also deserved to have a small piece of this long lost history so they could preserve it for posterity.
On Monday, September 19th, 2016, I had the pleasure of acting on behalf of Tolley to donate eight original manuscript pages of Charles Anderson’s Gettysburg address. Ed Clark, superintendent and Greg Goodell, curator of the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park were on hand to receive the artifacts. It was an exciting moment for all of us. Now the complete story of the speeches on Dedication Day can be told, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg address more fully understood as part of a rhetorical ensemble, with each speech having a distinct political purpose.
We hope that some day, a small mention might be made of Anderson’s Gettysburg address in the park museum, or perhaps at the Wills house downtown, where Lincoln finished composing his iconic address.