Wish You Were Here reflects the value of postcards as tools for learning about the past, with images drawn from Manuscript Group 213, Postcard Collection, Pennsylvania State Archives.

We just had the thrill of standing just where Lincoln stood when he dedicated this beautiful cemetery,” wrote “Net” to a Mrs. Grace Utter of Lake Beulah, Wis­consin, on July 19, 1938. Net penned her note on a post-card depicting the Soldiers’ National Monument, the centerpiece of the Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Adams County. Published by Marken and Bielfeld, lnc., of Frederick, Maryland, the postcard is known as a “linen type” because new processes allowed printers to use card stock with high rag content, giving the postcards a textured feel or linen look.

President Abraham Lincoln opened his immortal Gettysburg Address (which lasted less than two minutes) before a throng of ten thousand people during the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery on November 19, 1863, with words known by virtually every Ameri­can school student: “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation: con­ceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Lincoln traveled to the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, which had raged just four months earlier, during the first three days of July, and resulted in more than fifty-one thousand soldiers killed, wounded, captured, or missing.

Workers laid the memorial’s cornerstone on July 4, 1865, and celebrants dedicated it on July l, 1869. Rising sixty feet in height, the monument is capped by a sculpture entitled The Genius of Liberty. Four allegorical figures, War, History, Peace, and Plenty, are located on buttresses at the monument’s lower level.

By the time Net visited Gettysburg in 1938, stewardship of the cemetery and monument had been assigned to the Gettysburg National Military Park, created in 1895. The park now incorporates nearly six thousand acres, with twenty-six miles of roads and more than fourteen hundred monuments, markers, and memorials. Gettysburg National Military Park will conduct programs commemorating the one hundred and forty-second anniversary of the Gettysburg Address on Saturday, November 19.

Gettysburg National Military Park is open all year, September through May, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and June through August, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

To plan your visit, go to www.nps.gov/gett on the Web; telephone (717) 334-1124; or write: Gettysburg National Military Park, 97 Taneytown Rd., Gettysburg, PA 17325-2804.