Writing from the perspective of the 20th Century, you'll often see
historians describe Lincoln's Gettysburg address as "unremarked" at
the time. However, it was really the fact that Edward Everett was
invited as the keynote speaker - and that his oration was about 2
hours long - that put the emphasis on Everett's role:
Library of Congress
"The Gettysburg Address" (April 14, 2003)
Thousands of people had flocked to Gettysburg for the dedication of
the national memorial there and Everett used the occasion to depict
the 3-day battle which made famous the landmarks of Cemetery Hill,
Culp's Hill, the Peach Orchard, Round Top (and Little Round Top),
Seminary Ridge and Wolf Hill.
Both Lincoln's and Everett's speeches were quoted verbatim in the New
York Times (and other leading newspapers) on Nov. 20, 1863. The Times
THE HEROES OF JULY.
A Solemn and Imposing Event.
Dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburgh.
IMMENSE NUMBERS OF VISITORS.
Oration by Hon. Edward Everett - Speeches of President Lincoln, Mr.
Seward and Governor Seymour.
There's no need to repeat Lincoln's words here but the Times account
notes that there are applause 4 times in the brief Address, with "long
continued applause" at the end. That was followed by three cheers for
the President and governors.
What probably helped as much as anything to cement Lincoln's
Gettysburg Address in national memory was the exchange between Everett
and Lincoln after the event. Everett praises the "eloquent simplicity
& appropriateness" of the President's remarks. "I should be glad, if I
could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the
occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes."
Lincoln's response is here:
Abraham Lincoln online
"Letter to Edward Everett"
Edward Everett (April 11, 1794 - January 15, 1865) was a college
professor, Unitarian clergyman and one-time Secretary of State. He
graduated from Harvard at the top of his class in 1811, then went on
to gain his Ph.D. in Germany. He returned to teach at Harvard in 1819
and was editor of the North American Review. (One of his students at
Harvard was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was an ardent admirer of his
intellectual abilities.) During this period he became known for
integrating German university training into American universities. It
wasn't until the post-Civil War period that masters and Ph.D. level
programs came into U.S. universities:
A speech in August, 1824 in which Lafayette was present helped make
his reputation as an orator. Following the Phi Beta Kappa oration,
the audience sat rapt for some time - then burst into tumultuous
applause. Everett was elected to Congress for 5 consecutive terms
He was involved in national affairs throughout the coming decades,
including serving as Secretary of State for 4 months under Millard
He continued to be in demand because of his speaking skills, in
particular with a speech on the character of George Washington, which
he gave more than 125 times. Everett used the speech in the pre-Civil
War period to advocate preserving the Union that Washington had made
It took 4 volumes to cover his academic and Civil War speeches when
"Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions" was published after the
Google search strategy:
"Edward Everett" + Lincoln
I also used the Gale Biography Resource Center, an online biographical
source at my local library.
Finally, I wanted to check the original records, so used Proquest
Historical Newspapers collection (a fee-based service often available
a major libraries) to see what the headlines said in the New York
Times on Nov. 20, 1863.
I see my colleague Scriptor has handled the text of the Everett