Exhibit Showcases GPO During the Civil War

Press release from the issuing company

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) has updated its history exhibit with the new display Lincoln and His Printers: GPO in the Civil War. GPO opened for business on March 4, 1861, the same day Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th president. The leader of GPO at that time was John D. Defrees, a friend and advisor to President Lincoln. The new display features four authentic documents from the Library of Congress showing the close working relationship between President Lincoln and Defrees. These documents are from Defrees to President Lincoln offering advice, introducing people of significance, and conducting business.  One document in particular is President Lincoln’s message to Congress on July 4, 1861 detailing the executive actions taken in the early weeks of the Civil War and setting forth his views on the aims of the war. On October 24, 1863 President Lincoln visited GPO where he toured the plant and spoke to employees. President Lincoln remains the only sitting president to visit the agency. 

The exhibit also tells the story of GPO's first veterans, the employees who formed two companies of the Interior Department Regiment and helped to defend Washington, DC from imminent attack in 1864. The exhibit will be open during regular hours, 8 am - 4 pm, Monday - Friday.  Lincoln and His Printers: GPO in the Civil War will run until mid-April, 2014.

“GPO is proud of its history and the ways the agency and employees served during the Civil War,” said Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks. “These historical documents tell the compelling story of GPO’s contributions to the Civil War.”


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