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Loan to Nevada Museum of Art

Today’s post comes from James Zeender, Senior Registrar at the National Archives. 

Governor Brian Sandoval and Curator Ann Wolfe at Nevada Museum of Art press conference, July 29, 2014. Courtesy Nevada Museum of Art.

Governor Brian Sandoval and Curator Ann Wolfe at Nevada Museum of Art press conference, July 29, 2014. Courtesy Nevada Museum of Art.

The Emancipation Proclamation will be on exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art for 36 hours from October 30 to November 2, 2014.

This will be the capstone to the museum’s exhibition “The 36th Star: Nevada’s Journey from Territory to State,” which opened on August 2. It features other original documents from the National Archives, including President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation establishing Nevada as the 36th state in the Union and the state’s constitution transmitted by the Nevada Governor to Secretary of State William Seward. (The Governor sent the constitution in a 175-page telegram that cost $4313.27 at the time (over $60,000 in 2014 dollars).

Nevada became the 36th state in the Union just before the 1864 Presidential election. Its two Electoral College votes for Lincoln played little role in the outcome of the election—Lincoln handily defeated his opponent, Gen. George McClellan, in the popular vote, getting 55% of the popular vote to McClellan’s 45%, and overwhelmed him in the Electoral College vote of 212 to 21.

Governor Brian Sandoval speaks at the press conference. July 29, 2014. Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

Governor Brian Sandoval speaks at the press conference. July 29, 2014. Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art.

However, Nevada’s votes in Congress for the 13th Amendment—where Lincoln’s opponents posed more of a threat—played more of a decisive role in the amendment’s eventual passage.

In April 1864, a vote in the House of Representatives on the 13th Amendment fell short of the necessary two-thirds majority, despite a lopsided victory in the Senate. After the November elections and the arrival of the Nevadan congressional delegation—and among other factors—Lincoln’s hand was strengthened.

Ultimately, the amendment passed by a 119 to 56 vote on January 31, 1865, narrowly exceeding the  two-thirds majority.

At a press conference on July 29, the Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, said, “This is something that will make all Nevadans proud. We [Nevadans] were there when we abolished slavery.”

The National Archives contribution to the exhibition was acknowledged during the press conference and on the exhibition introductory panel. Exhibits Conservator Terry Boone was thanked for her role in conserving, preparing, and installing the National Archives documents.
The Emancipation Proclamation has traveled to Reno one other time, when it spent the day there on March 22, 1948, during the Freedom Train Exhibit.

For more information, see the Nevada Museum of Art’s website.
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