President Lincoln was Interrupted Five times with Applause during his Gettysburg Address

Next-day Coverage of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address appearing on Page 2 of the November 20, 1863 issue of North American and United States Gazette, published in Philadelphia, PA

Next-day Coverage of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address appearing on Page 2 of the November 20, 1863 issue of North American and United States Gazette, published in Philadelphia, PA

Next-day coverage of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address did not appear in all newspapers.  Most of the newspapers that printed Lincoln’s speech utilized The Associated Press, who immediately sent out the speech from Gettysburg by telegraph.

Other newspapers utilized their own reporters to provide next-day coverage.  Several of these newspaper accounts noted where the President was interrupted with applause during his comments.  Lincoln received long continued applause upon completion of his remarks.

An article in the November 20, 1863 issue of North American and United States Gazette, published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, notes the five places where the President was interrupted with applause.  I’ve never heard a Lincoln re-enactor deliver the Gettysburg Address in a historically accurate manner, i.e. with applause interruptions.  It might take someone holding up an applause sign at the appropriate times to pull it off.

Related Gettysburg & Lincoln posts include:

Continue reading as I examine additional articles that noted applause placement during Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

 

Of the reporters that covered the Dedication of the National Cemetery in Gettysburg on Thursday November 19, 1863; some liked Lincoln’s remarks, however more were disappointed.  Not every newspaper printed Lincoln’s speech, word for word.

Most of the newspapers that printed Lincoln’s speech, the next-day, utilized The Associated Press, who immediately sent out the speech from Gettysburg by telegraph.  That AP version is identifiable by two wording changes made by the Associated Press reporters.

The AP version omitted the word “poor” in the line “The brave men living and dead who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our {poor} power to add or detract.”  Other reporters recorded “poor” in the sentence and it was later discovered to be present in both of Lincoln’s manuscript drafts.  Secondly the AP version used the phrase “to the refinished work” instead of the phrase “to the unfinished work.”  Lincoln later penned several copies of his speech; he reportedly referenced his own copy and the AP version to come up with the wording and punctuation in his penned copies; which is the reason for several, minutely different, versions of the Gettysburg Address.

Here is another non-AP article, that included the applause placements, however this reporter also failed to hear the word “poor.”  This article appears on Page 4 of the November 20, 1863 issue of Boston Evening Transcript.

Next-day Coverage of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address appearing on Page 4 of the November 20, 1863 issue of Boston Evening Transcript, published in Boston, MA

Next-day Coverage of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address appearing on Page 4 of the November 20, 1863 issue of Boston Evening Transcript, published in Boston, MA

I was not aware that President Lincoln was interrupted with applause so many times in such a short speech until I was doing research for a historical novel several months ago.  I wanted to see how the newspapers in Washington, D. C., reported Lincoln’s speech; that is when I discovered the applause interruptions.

The applause placements are identical between the articles in Philadelphia, Boston and Washington.  However there are very slight other differences between these three articles, which pretty much rules out they all came from the same reporter.

Do Lincoln’s words have greater impact when read with those applause interruptions?  I think they do; what do you think?

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

About Stephen H. Smith

Stephen H. Smith is a design engineer who worked at York International Corp. for 33 years before retiring several years ago to research and write books full time; his second career. The initial emphasis was on family history when he won a national award during 2002 for his first book “Barshingers in America." Positive feedback and that award were influential in his decision to retire early from engineering and start a retirement career.
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