33 Portraits Of Abraham Lincoln from 1846-1865 (In Chronological Order)
1846 – This daguerreotype is the earliest confirmed photographic image of Abraham Lincoln. It was reportedly made in 1846 by Nicholas H. Shepherd shortly after Lincoln was elected to the United States House of Representatives.
October 27, 1854 – The second earliest known photograph of Lincoln. From a photograph owned originally by George Schneider, former editor of the Illinois Staats-Zeitung, the most influential anti-slavery German newspaper of the West. Mr. Schneider first met Mr. Lincoln in 1853, in Springfield. “He was already a man necessary to know,” says Mr. Schneider. In 1854 Mr. Lincoln was in Chicago, and Isaac N. Arnold invited Mr. Schneider to dine with Mr. Lincoln. After dinner, as the gentlemen were going down town, they stopped at an itinerant photograph gallery, and Mr. Lincoln had this picture taken for Mr. Schneider.
February 28, 1857 – “I have a letter from Mr. Hesler stating that [Lincoln] came in and made arrangements for the sitting, so that the members of the bar could get prints. Lincoln said at the time that he did not know why the boys wanted such a homely face. Joseph Medill went with Mr. Lincoln to have the picture taken. He says that the photographer insisted on smoothing down Lincoln’s hair, but Lincoln did not like the result, and ran his fingers through it before sitting.” — H. W. Fay of DeKalb, Illinois, original owner of the photo
May 27, 1857 – Although some historians have dated this photograph during the court session of November 13, 1859, and others have placed it as early as 1853, most authorities now believe it was taken on May 27, 1857. The photographer Amon T. Joslin owned “Joslin’s Gallery” located on the second floor of a building adjoining the Woodbury Drug Store, in Danville, IL. This was one of Lincoln’s favorite stopping places in Vermilion County, Illinois, while he was a traveling lawyer. Joslin photographed Abraham Lincoln twice at this sitting. Lincoln kept one copy and gave the other to his friend, Thomas J. Hilyard, deputy sheriff of Vermilion County. Today, one original resides in the Illinois State Historical Library.
1858 – “…the Photo you have of Abraham Lincoln is a copy of a Daguerreotype, that I made in my gallery in this city [Peoria] during the Lincoln and Douglas campaign. I invited him to my gallery to give me a sitting…and when I had my plate ready, he said to me, ‘I cannot see why all you artists want a likeness of me unless it is because I am the homeliest man in the State of Illinois.'”
— R.M. Cole, July 3, 1905 letter to David McCulloch
Lincoln liked this image and often signed photographic prints for admirers. In fact, in 1861, he even gave a copy to his stepmother. The image was extensively employed on campaign ribbons in the 1860 Presidential campaign, and Lincoln “often signed photographic prints for visitors.”
1858 – A Civil War soldier from Parma, Ohio, was the original owner of this portrait, published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on February 12, 1942, from a print in the Anthony L. Maresh collection. Possibly it is a photographic copy of one of two daguerreotypes, both now lost, taken in Ohio.
May 7, 1858 – Formerly in the Lincoln Monument collection at Springfield, Illinois. Mr. Lincoln wore a linen coat on the occasion. The picture is regarded as a good likeness of him as he appeared during the Lincoln Douglas campaign
May 25, 1858 – “One morning I was in the gallery of Mr. Alschuler, when Mr. Lincoln came into the room and said he had been informed that he (Alschuler) wished him to sit for a picture. Alschuler said he had sent such a message to Mr. Lincoln, but he could not take the picture in that coat (referring to a linen duster in which Mr. Lincoln was clad), and asked if he had not a dark coat in which he could sit. Mr. Lincoln said he had not; that this was the only coat he had brought with him from his home. Alschuler said he could wear his coat, and gave it to Mr. Lincoln, who pulled off the duster and put on the artist’s coat. Alschuler was a very short man, with short arms, but with a body nearly as large as the body of Mr. Lincoln. The arms of the latter extended through the sleeves of the coat of Alschuler a quarter of a yard, making him quite ludicrous, at which he (Lincoln) laughed immoderately, and sat down for the picture to be taken with an effort at being sober enough for the occasion. The lips in the picture show this.” — Mr. J. O. Cunningham, present when the picture was taken
August 26, 1858 – “Mr. Magie happened to remain over night at Macomb, at the same hotel with Mr. Lincoln, and the next morning took a walk about town, and upon Mr. Magie’s invitation they stepped into Mr. Pierson’s establishment, and the ambrotype of which this is a copy was the result. Mr. Lincoln, upon entering, looked at the camera as though he was unfamiliar with such an instrument, and then remarked: ‘Well, do you want to take a shot at me with this thing?’ He was shown to a glass, where he was told to ‘fix up,’ but declined, saying it would not be much of a likeness if he fixed up any. The old neighbors and acquaintances of Mr. Lincoln in Illinois, upon seeing this picture, are apt to exclaim: ‘There! that’s the best likeness of Mr. Lincoln that I ever saw!’ The dress he wore in this picture is the same in which he made his famous canvass with Senator Douglas.” — J. C. Power, custodian of the Lincoln monument in Springfield
September 26, 1858 – “In 1858 Lincoln and Douglas had a series of joint debates in this State, and this city was one place of meeting. Mr. Lincoln’s step-mother was making her home with my father and mother at that time. Mr. Lincoln stopped at our house, and as he was going away my mother said to him: “Uncle Abe, I want a picture of you.” He replied, “Well, Harriet, when I get home I will have one taken for you and send it to you.” Soon after, mother received the photograph, which she still has, already framed, from Springfield, Illinois, with a letter from Mr. Lincoln, in which he said, “This is not a very good-looking picture, but it’s the best that could be produced from the poor subject.” He also said that he had it taken solely for my mother.” — Mr. K. N. Chapman of Charleston, Illinois, great-grandson of Sarah Bush Lincoln