AP archivist to revisit Gettysburg and Lincoln's immortal words Nov. 14 at NKU

For immediate release…
Monday – Nov. 11, 2013

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - As the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address arrives on Nov. 19, the archivist for The Associated Press, Valerie Komor, will revisit the words President Lincoln spoke to a divided nation that day and how the AP covered the event.

Mark your calendar for 6 p.m. on Nov. 14 at the Northern Kentucky University Griffin Hall George and Ellen Rieveschl Digitorium to learn more about a speech that never loses its luster, no matter how many times you read it or hear it.

“It only becomes more astonishing,” Komor said. “After even a few readings, you find you have it well in memory, and that is also testimony to Lincoln’s genius as a writer and orator.”

Titled “The AP at Gettysburg: Capturing What Lincoln Wrote and Said,” Komor’s talk is the next installment in NKU’s popular Six@Six Lecture Series. The series, now in its fourth season, includes lectures by NKU faculty, students and guests.

On Nov. 19, 1863, the AP engaged a young reporter from nearby Harrisburg to cover the president's address in Gettysburg, Pa. Joseph Ignatius Gilbert was just 23 years old but his reporting would influence the ages. Komor will detail Gilbert's coverage of the speech, drawing comparisons to Lincoln's own text and revealing what the contrast tells us about Abe's composition process and speaking style. Learn, too, how Lincoln came to favor the AP version when making his own copies of the Gettysburg Address.

Komor has been director of the AP Corporate Archives since they were established in 2003. Previously, she held positions at Oberlin College Archives, the Rockefeller Archive Center, the Smithsonian Archives of American Art and the New York Historical Society, where she headed the Department of Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections. She took an interest in AP coverage of the Civil War on the eve of the war’s sesquicentennial (2011-2015).

“I began doing the research, which led to an exhibit, which led to further research focusing on the address and how AP covered it,” Komor said. “I began to understand the major controversies being debated in current scholarship, and came to understand that there is no final answer to any of them. You can have an opinion based on reasoned deduction, but in the end, Lincoln’s interior composition process, what manuscript(s) he held on the podium to read from, and the dating of the five surviving versions in Lincoln’s hand ‒ these and many other matters will always be unresolved.”

Tickets to the lecture are available in advance at http://sixatsix.nku.edu. Admission is $6; student tickets are free. Elementary, high school and college students are encouraged to attend. To assure a seat, order all tickets (including for students) in advance. Tickets will be available at the door only if seating is still available.

The Six@Six Lecture Series is sponsored by the NKU Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, which works to connect the campus and community. Six@Six partners include the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, the Campbell County Public Library, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, the Mercantile Library in downtown Cincinnati, the Carnegie in Covington and the Baker-Hunt Foundation in Covington. Each partner hosts one or more of this season’s 13 lectures. The full season can be viewed online at http://sixatsix.nku.edu.

While in northern Kentucky, Komor will also jointly conduct a free workshop with the NKU Public History program and its Archives and Special Collections. “Connecting Collections and Learning: An Insider’s View of the AP Corporate Photo Archives and NKU’s Public History Program” will be held on Friday, Nov. 15, from 8:30-11 a.m. at NKU. For more information and to reserve your seat, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/event/9055700845.  

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