Princeton University Library exhibition:
"A Republic in the Wilderness: Treasures of American History from Jamestown to Appomattox"
Feb. 22 through August 2013

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The exhibit in Firestone Library's main gallery will trace the American experience from 1607 to 1865. A special one-day display on March 5 will feature rare items from the Civil War, such as a souvenir copy of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery signed by President Abraham Lincoln and members of Congress.

Department of Rare Books and Special Collections


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After Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election in November 1860, seceding states seized federal forts within their own borders. In this confidential letter to politician Francis Preston Blair, Lincoln orders that federal forts lost before his inauguration in February 1861 must be retaken afterwards.

Department of Rare Books and Special Collections


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Louis-Alexandre Berthier prepared more than 100 maps during the American Revolutionary War. Here is Berthier's 1781 map of the town of Princeton, with the "College" (now Princeton University) labeled in the center.

Department of Rare Books and Special Collections


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The exhibition features various letters from prominent figures in American history. As state ratification conventions debated the new American Constitution, Thomas Jefferson wrote this Dec. 31, 1787, letter on the subject.

Department of Rare Books and Special Collections


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An illustration of Phillis Wheatley featured in her 1773 book "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral." Wheatley was the first African American woman to publish a book of poetry in English.

Department of Rare Books and Special Collections


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A poster dated April 20, 1865, advertises a reward for the capture of John Wilkes Booth and other conspirators for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Department of Rare Books and Special Collections


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A page from James Glennie's journal "The Particulars of & Sketches Taken during a Voyage to and Journey over the United States of America and Back," 1810–1811. Glennie traveled from London in September 1810 and composed more than 60 drawings of life in America.

Department of Rare Books and Special Collections


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A page from the English writer William Strachey's 1612 account of the early American settlement in Jamestown, Va., "The First Decade Conteyning the Historie of Travell into Virginia Britania."

Department of Rare Books and Special Collections


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Two weeks after the Civil War had been declared, abolitionist movement leader and former slave Frederick Douglass wrote this letter to clergyman William Sprague on May 1, 1861.

Department of Rare Books and Special Collections