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Old 02-22-2007, 06:06 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by dthomsen8 View Post
Tonight I was watching a book talk by two authors about Lincoln. One of them mentioned about how Lincoln delivered a speech on February 24, 1860, at Cooper Union in Manhattan, and how this speech was set in type in time for him to proofread it at the New York Herald Tribune about midnight, after he delivered the speech and had dinner.

The question for our printing experts is whether a 7,500 word speech could have been set at a newspaper while he was having dinner, or whether they might have made an earlier draft from his handwritten speech. I am guessing that hand typesetting by very experienced newspaper typesetters could be done in an hour or two, but maybe not.
It was just the New York Tribune in 1860 (Horace Greeley’s paper). I have handbooks from the 19th century on how much text a compositor should do per hour, but without looking I have a feeling this would have been a stretch. Seems Lincoln did provide a copy of his comments to the Tribune (and maybe to the Times, as it also had the speech in the next day’s edition, though maybe a later edition).

Here is a relevant quote from The Claremont Institute (the mentions of Holzer refer to his Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President).
The sponsors of the lecture series took Lincoln out to dinner afterward; but before he went back to his hotel room at the Astor House, Lincoln crossed City Hall Park to the offices of the New York Tribune to proofread the typeset version of the speech that Greeley had promised to publish the next day. Holzer suspects that Lincoln had lent his own reading copy to Greeley earlier in the afternoon—otherwise the typesetters would have had barely enough time after the Cooper Union event to set the type for the morning edition--which only underscores for Holzer how very cannily Lincoln was managing the impact he wanted to make. "Lincoln came to New York precisely to create a sensation in the national media," Holzer insists, and if visibility is any mark of sensation, Lincoln more than succeeded. The next day, 170,000 copies of the speech were in circulation through the newspapers; Greeley published it as a separate pamphlet (which went through five printings), and the Young Men's Central Republican Union reprinted it as a 32-page booklet, with extensive footnotes. "Cooper Union was not just a speech," Holzer says. "It was a conquest—a public relations triumph, a political coup d'etat within the Republican party, and an image transfiguration abetted by the press...."

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