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Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Eight weeks before his death, Abraham Lincoln posed for his last formal portrait. This is the famous cracked image by photographer Alexander Gardner (1821-1882), who damaged the plate during processing.  More on this image link to the video below.

CACHES OF INFORMATION--Amazing web sites available to celebrate Feb. 12, Abraham Lincoln’s 204th birthday.

Alfred Whital Stern
Video: National Portrait Gallery Curator Frank Goodyear explores the many faces of Abraham Lincoln through the extensive collection at the Smithsonian Institution:

Collection:  The Library of Congress has placed online the Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana.  The collection contains more than 11,100 items, but only 1,300 items with more than 4,000 images are online.  The date range of the online Stern collection is 1824-1931.  It includes the complete collection of Stern’s contemporary newspapers, Lincoln’s law papers, sheet music, broadsides, prints, cartoons, maps, drawings, letters, campaign tickets and other ephemeral items.  See link.

Cracked Image: Lincoln's faint, tired smile in this likeness [left] makes it one of the most compelling photographic images ever made of him. For many years, it was commonly thought that this photograph dated from early April 1865 and that it was the last one ever made of Lincoln. In fact, it was part of a series of photographs taken at Alexander Gardner's studio two months earlier, on February 5. In shooting the image, Gardner used a large glass negative, which broke before it could be processed. Nevertheless, he managed to make one print. Some have interpreted the crack running through the image as a portent of Lincoln's impending assassination.


Alexander Gardner (1821 - 1882)
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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