Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, Taken by Alexander Gardner, Washington, D.C., November 8, 1863

Summary

President Abraham Lincoln made himself readily available to many photographers of the era, leaving a large and varied photo legacy. This unusual full-length portrait of Lincoln was taken by Alexander Gardner in his Washington D.C. studio on Sunday, November 8, 1863. This contact print was made by Frederick Hill Meserve in the early 20th century from the original 1863 glass plate negative, which measured 20x16 inches.

President Abraham Lincoln made himself readily available to many photographers of the era, leaving a large and varied photo legacy. This unusual full-length portrait of Lincoln was taken by Alexander Gardner in his Washington D.C. studio on Sunday, November 8, 1863. This contact print was made by Frederick Hill Meserve in the early 20th century from the original 1863 glass plate negative, which measured 20x16 inches.

This unusual full-length portrait of President Abraham Lincoln was taken by Alexander Gardner in his Washington D.C. studio on Sunday, November 8, 1863. Lincoln is shown seated on one of the chairs that was used by the House of Representatives in the 1850s and then replaced and sold as surplus at auction in 1859. Alexander Gardner bought some of these chairs to use in his photographic studio. Another chair like this one is part of The Henry Ford's furniture collections (ID 68.127.1).

The original glass plate negative was among a large group of American Civil War era negatives found and preserved by Frederick Hill Meserve in 1902. For many years, Meserve made meticulous photographic prints from original negatives, helping to preserve Abraham Lincoln's legacy. Meserve made this photographic print in the early 20th century from the original 1863 glass plate negative. The negative measured about 20 x 16 inches, a format called mammoth plate. This very large size captured an incredible amount of detail--even the wrinkles in Lincoln's boots are clearly visible.

Detailed Description
Artifact

Photographic print

Subject Date

08 November 1863

Creators

Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882 

Place of Creation

United States, District of Columbia, Washington 

Creator Notes

Originally photographed by Alexander Gardner in 1863. This is a later contact print made from the original mammoth plate negative by Frederick Hill Meserve, probably between 1902 and 1920.

 On Exhibit

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Object ID

94.0.40.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Paper (Fiber product)
Glass (Material)
Wood (Plant material)

Technique

Albumen process
Mammoth plate
Framing (Processes)
Gilding (Technique)

Color

Black-and-white (Colors)

Dimensions

Height: 20.75 in  (Frame)

Width: 16.75 in  (Frame)

Depth: 1 in  (Frame)

Height: 16.75 in  (Frame opening)

Width: 12.75 in  (Frame opening)

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