The New Lincoln Photo

Earlier today I posted an AP story regarding the discovery of a previously unknown photograph of Abraham Lincoln, possibly the last one taken before his assassination.

As the article indicates, the photograph was found in Ulysses Grant’s photo album, and was found by the General’s great-great-grandson. The photograph shows several people standing in front of the Executive Mansion, as the White House was then known. Mr. Grant consulted Keya Morgan, described by the AP as a “New York-based photography collector and Lincoln aficionado,” who identified one of the subjects as Lincoln. When they removed the photograph from the album, the verso showed the stamp of photography Henry F. Warren, who was known to have photographed Lincoln shortly after his second inaugural. There was also the date “1865”, and a hand-written inscription, “Lincoln in front of the White House.”

Although no facial features can be seen in the photograph, the subject in question appears to be the correct height (at 6’4″, Lincoln is our tallest president thus far), and computer-assisted enlargement shows a beard. In addition, the founding curator of the National Portrait Gallery’s photograph division, and the White House curator, believe it is Lincoln, as does Morgan, who has a financial stake having purchased the photograph, but is also a recognized name in this field.

As the article indicates, it has been decades since a Lincoln photograph was last discovered. Coming during the bicentennary of Lincoln’s birth, this is an exciting find.

Keya Morgan runs the Keya Gallery in New York City and the website Lincoln Images. The AP includes a trio of images with the article, including this one of the photograph itself. The National Portrait Gallery’s One Life: The Mask of Lincoln is on view through July 5, and the online gallery includes several of the 130 identified Lincoln photographs.

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~ by David Cupp on March 10, 2009.

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