U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivered his now famous Gettysburg Address 150 years ago today while standing on the hallowed site in central Pennsylvania. On this anniversary of Lincoln's speech, Google has brought together an exhibit of five handwritten versions of the 272-word address in an online gallery where visitors can view them and see their distinct differences.
The special gallery in the online Google Cultural Institute was unveiled by Amrit Dhir, a Google partner development manager, in a Nov. 18 post on the Google Official Blog.
"Today, on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, we're helping make the past come a little bit more alive," wrote Dhir. "Three new exhibits now available on the Google Cultural Institute focus on President Lincoln and the 272 words that shaped a nation's understanding of its identity. Thanks to our friends at the White House, the Lincoln Library, Cornell University, Dickinson College and the Library of Congress, you can browse high-resolution digital versions of all five Lincoln-handwritten copies of the address."
Five different copies of the Gettysburg Address were written by Lincoln and given to five different people, each named for the person to whom they were given, according to AbrahamLincolnOnline.org.
Visitors to the Google gallery can see all five versions, named for Col. Alexander Bliss, John Nicolay, John Hay, Edward Everett and George Bancroft. Two of the versions were presented before Lincoln delivered his speech, and the other three were presented later to their recipients, according to the site.
On the Google site, visitors can see how the five versions differ and can see the copy of the Gettysburg Address that hangs in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House, wrote Dhir. Visitors can also explore several multimedia exhibits created by Lincoln historians for more context about the speech and Lincoln's words, he wrote.
Visitors to the online gallery can also read "272-word reflections of our contemporaries like former President Jimmy Carter, former chairman of the NAACP Julian Bond, and our very own Eric Schmidt on the legacy of Lincoln and his address," according to Dhir.
"Most of us will never stand in the Lincoln Bedroom and see the handwritten draft exhibited there," wrote Dhir. "But now anyone with access to an Internet connection can explore all these artifacts from this defining moment in history."
Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863, as he looked over the battlefield to dedicate the Soldiers' National Cemetery on the site. The speech came almost five months after the Union forces defeated the Confederate armies at Gettysburg in a huge turning point in the Civil War.
A Lincoln re-enactor was scheduled to read Lincoln's famous speech today at special services at Gettysburg to commemorate the original event. Civil War historian James McPherson, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett were also scheduled to make brief remarks, according to a story from The Washington Post.
Less than two years after his Gettysburg speech, Lincoln was shot by assassin John Wilkes Booth while watching a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865, and he died of his injuries the next day. He was 56 years old. Lincoln was buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Ill.