The First Sitting of Lincoln in Washington, D.C.
Harper's Weekly hand tinted portrait in color!
(1809-1865) An Illinois prairie lawyer, U.S. Congressman, and 16th President of the United States of America, 1861-65. He led the Union through the bloody American Civil War, and was famous for "The Emancipation Proclamation," freeing the slaves, and the "Gettysburg Address," given at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery on November 19, 1863. His second term in the White House was cut short when he became the first American President to be assassinated. He was shot by the famous actor, John Wilkes Booth, at Ford's Theatre, Washington, D.C., on the evening of April 14, 1865, dying early the next morning. Mr. Lincoln is considered by many historians to be the best president in the history of the United States.
Authentic, original wood cut engraving that has been hand tinted in color, and was published in the April 27, 1861 issue of Harper's Weekly. Caption: President Lincoln. Photographed by Brady. Harper's Weekly and date are printed in the margin. 10 3/4 x 15 1/2. Printed to the right of his portrait is a partial article titled, "President Lincoln," which goes into much detail about the new president's life. The opening paragraph reads, "We publish herewith, from a photograph just taken expressly for this paper, a Portrait Of The President. It is the first accurate portrait that has been published of him since he began to grow his beard. The article continues, "HON. ABRAHAM LINCOLN, of Illinois, was born on the 12th February, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. His family, although much respected, were not blessed with much of this world's goods, and he was forced to fight his own way through the opening struggles of life's campaign. In this way he became intimately acquainted with the industrial classes, and they now claim him as one of their number- "The Flat-boatman." It is also reported that he supported himself for a winter by splitting rails for a farmer- whence his sobriquet, "The Rail-splitter." More content.
Full seated view of President Abraham Lincoln deeply absorbed in thought, an inkwell clearly visible on the studio table at his side as well as a complete view of his trademark black silk top hat.
WBTS Trivia: Exhausted by a train journey during which he had traveled nearly two thousand miles and visited seven states, Lincoln went to Brady's Washington studio, probably on Sunday, February 24, 1861, and sat, absorbed in problems, while Alexander Gardner took five poses.
Youthful artist George H. Story, friend and associate of Brady, was at the sitting, and fifty five years later recalled: "Mr. Gardner, Mr. Brady's representative in Washington, came to my room and asked me to come and pose Mr. Lincoln for a picture. When I entered the room the President was seated in a chair wholly absorbed in deep thought....I said in an undertone to the operator, "bring your instrument here and take the picture."
Lincoln's right hand is badly swollen in this photograph. During his journey to Washington, Lincoln shook thousands of hands. Throughout the sitting he kept his swollen right hand closed.
Mr. John G. Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's two private secretaries, was quoted as saying that Lincoln had, "that serious far away look."
As noted above in the Harper's Weekly article that accompanied this portrait, the first sitting in Washington was held for Harper's Weekly, apparently to satisfy public curiosity about Lincoln's beard. The President-elect posed in his best attire. George H. Story recalled that he seemed, "elegant in dress and appearance, his clothes being made of the finest broadcloth."
In printing an engraving of the photograph (O-52B), Harper's Weekly noted, "We publish herewith, from a photograph just taken expressly for this paper, a PORTRAIT OF THE PRESIDENT...."
Extremely desirable item, this being the first published woodcut engraved portrait of a bearded President Lincoln to be seen by the general public of the United States, it appearing in the April 27, 1861 issue of Harper's Weekly.
Sources: Harper's Weekly and Lincoln in Photographs, by Charles Hamilton and Lloyd Ostendorf.