Robert Green Ingersoll (1833 - 1899) is, arguably, the greatest orator in US history... certainly the greatest in the latter part of the 19th C, when fine oratory was an admired and cultivated art.
The foremost freethinker in US history, and a Republican just after the Civil War, he was devoted to rationalism, humanism, and intellectual freedom. His views were often controversial, particularly his criticisms of religious orthodoxy. He was a master of poetic prose and ridicule.
Prescient in his writings, Ingersoll spoke out for workers, women, blacks, prisoners, and other oppressed groups. Nationally renowned, and the most sought after lecturer in US history, he was beleaguered by those who opposed his religious skepticism.
He also delivered political speeches, nominating James G. Blaine for the presidency in 1876. That same year he delivered the Indianapolis Speech, which became one of his most well known pieces of oratory, particularly one section that became known as 'A Vision of War', one of the most famous written memorials to the Civil War.
This broadside is a period document, a late 19th C printing of Ingersoll's 'A Vision of War'. It is in it's original frame, period black walnut, and is covered with an astonishing piece of wavy, bubbly glass. It has remained untouched since just after the Civil War.
It was printed by the Chicago Evening Journal Mammoth Show Printing and Engraving House, 159 & 161 Dearborn St. Can you imagine the press they must have used?
It has condition issues, as it was put in it's frame with just a wooden backing. It could be displayed as it is, it is beautiful, but it would certainly be possible, and probably advisable, to stabilize and/or restore it. However, this work should only be undertaken by a qualified art conservator who has experience in handling paper. Please look at the pictures carefully. It measures 75½" tall, 41¾" wide, and 3¼" deep inclusive of the stretchers.
This piece is breathtaking. It's sheer size is stunning. It may be the only one of it's printing to survive, rendering it unique in our age. A spectacular piece of US history, it is wondrous that it still exists. It has been a privilege to own it. I am in awe.
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