NPR logo

Gettysburg Eyewitness

Only Available in Archive Formats.
Gettysburg Eyewitness

Lost & Found Sound

Gettysburg Eyewitness

Lost and Found Sound: The Boy Who Heard Lincoln

Gettysburg Eyewitness

Only Available in Archive Formats.

Honest Abe hide caption

toggle caption

As part of our Lost and Found Sound series, Jay Allison unearthed a unique recording: the voice of William V. Rathvon, who as a nine-year-old boy, watched and listened to Abraham Lincoln deliver his address at Gettysburg in November 1863. The story was told in 1938 and recorded on a 78 r.p.m. record.


A family in Pallatine, Illinois shared this recording with us via our Quest for Sound phone line. Rathvon was a distant relative. No other Gettysburg eyewitness is known to have recorded their memories on record.

Produced by Jay Allison.