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It’s Lincoln’s birthday, but you get the present

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Everybody loves Abe Lincoln (excluding guys in Confederate flag trucker hats, perhaps), so to celebrate the Great Emancipator’s 200th birthday, the Brooklyn Historical Society is lifting the protective shroud from its copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by the man himself.

The Red Cross gave out such signed copies as fundraisers during the Civil War, said Historical Society Archivist Chela Scott Weber, and half of these souvenir documents were either lost or destroyed, making Brooklyn’s copy even more of a historical gem.

Gem or not, few Brooklynites know that our borough possessed one because the copy is kept out of view to protect it (and Lincoln’s John Hancock) from light.

But to the relief of history buffs and Lincoln enthusiasts everywhere, the museum is working on remedying this. “We’re working to get our archival documents online,” said Scott Weber. “Right now, the only way to find out what we have is to e-mail me or visit the museum. This copy is one of many exciting things we have that we want to make more visible to the public.”

The copy will rolled out to coincide with a reading by historian Matthew Pinsker, author of “Lincoln’s Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers’ Home.” After that, back to the obscurity of the archives it goes.

Pinsker reading and viewing of the Emancipation Proclamation, March 19, 7 pm at the Brooklyn Historical Society [128 Pierrepont St. at Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 222-4111].

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