NOTE: These two articles below have been updated on August 20, 2008.

July 24, 2008: Barry Cauchon:

1. What is the current thinking about the purported John Badger Bachelder photo of Lincoln in death? Is it genuine, an outright fake or still up for debate?

Unauthenticated photo of Lincoln after death, April 16,1865

Unauthenticated photo of Lincoln after death, reported to be taken in the White House on April 16,1865 by John B. Bachelder.

For those of you who are not familiar with this disputed photo, the controversial image was apparently taken at the White House on April 16, 1865, the day after Lincoln died.  
The photographer was John B. Bachelder who took the photo in low light conditions to use as a reference shot for making an engraving. Like many photos of the day, it was touched up by adding more hair to Lincoln’s chin.
John B. Bachelder and wife 1890

John B. Bachelder and wife 1890

You rarely see this image published in Lincoln-related documentation because it’s authenticity is highly in dispute. On the other hand, there are still some true believers. I assume the debate continues.
To date, there is only one photograph of Lincoln in death that is accepted as authentic.
It was taken while he was lying in state in NYC during the Funeral Train tour from Washington DC to Springfield, IL.
Authenticated photo of Lincoln in his casket taken by John Gurney, Jr. on April 24, 1865 in New York City

Authenticated photo of Lincoln in his casket taken by Jeremiah Gurney, Jr. on April 24, 1865 in New York City

The photo was taken by Jeremiah Gurney, Jr. on Monday, April 24, 1865 in the rotunda of New York’s City Hall while the president’s body was being prepared for public viewing. Lincoln historians have accepted this photo as genuine and is not in question.

Truth is sometimes hard to find, so the question still remains. Is the Bachelder photo genuine, an outright fake or still up for debate?

NOTE: As this is a ‘very hot topic’ on some websites, I would prefer that the battles be waged elsewhere. However, if you wish to add ‘your view’ without name calling, I’ll gladly post your comments. Debate is good but don’t get beligerent! It won’t be tolerated. Thank you.



2. Lincoln at Gettysburg – Images of President Lincoln may have been found in Alexander Gardner photos taken on November 19, 1863.

Two photos taken by Alexander Gardner on November 19, 1863 at the dedication ceremonies for Soldier’s Cemetery at Gettysburg were discovered to have images of what looks like Abraham Lincoln in the crowd.

Enhanced image from Alexander Gardiner photo of Gettysburg Dedication Ceremonies taken on Nov. 19, 1863. Is this Abraham Lincoln in the stovetop hat?

Enhanced image from Alexander Gardner photo of Gettysburg Dedication Ceremonies taken on Nov. 19, 1863. Is this Abraham Lincoln in the stovetop hat?

In December, 2006, John Richter, the director for the Center for Civil War Photography was viewing images from a collection of over 5000 Civil War photos made available online to the public by the Library of Congress. Mr. Richter was focusing on a series of 3-D stereoscope images of the crowds at the Gettysburg Soldier’s Cemetery dedication ceremonies taken on the day that Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.

“I noticed there were three negatives from the dedication that were taken close together,” he said. “That struck me as odd because of the difficulty and cost of taking pictures back then. I also noticed the camera was not pointed at the stand but more toward the right. I zoomed in, and that was when I saw this figure.”

In the distance, a tall bearded man wearing a stovepipe hat was spotted. The man is on horseback and is part of the procession leading to the stage.

One of the enhanced images shows Lincoln passing by a row of soldiers, and a second shows him saluting them while wearing white gloves. The third was not clear. He has his face partially turned away with his back to the camera.

Although there is not 100% proof that this is Lincoln, the series of photos was presented at the Lincoln Forum Conference at Gettysburg held in November, 2007. Harold Holzer, vice chairman of the forum and respected Lincoln author and historian, indicated that many experts, including himself, spoke highly of the photos and confirmed their belief that these are genuine pictures of Lincoln at Gettysburg taken a short time before his famous address.

Detractors argue that the person identified as Lincoln could actually be Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln’s friend and self appointed bodyguard. He also wore a beard and favored wearing stovepipe hats. Lamon accompied Lincoln to the Gettysburg ceremonies that day.

Ward Hill Lamon

Up to this point, the only authenticated photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg was found by Josephine Cobb at the National Archives in Washington DC in 1952.

Lincoln at Gettysburg

Enhanced photo of Lincoln on stage prior to giving Gettysburg Address.

So, is the figure that Mr. Richter found really Abraham Lincoln? Many want to believe that it is. What do you think?

If you go to the attached link from USA TODAY, they have done a wonderful job of posting the images. Use their ‘Pan and Zoom’ feature to examine the details of both photos. Kudo’s to the folks who put this together.

Library of Congress Images: The actual photographs, which belong to the public, can be seen at the Library of Congress Web site, Enter “stereograph+civil war” in the search field.

Center for Civil War Photography: You can see the photos at the Center for Civil War Photography’s Web site,





If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:


“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 


  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 



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31 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have what seems to be an original print of the photo of Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg cemetary. The back of the photo has an AP stamp on it with information about the photo and a date stamp on it for the 100 year anniversary. This was found in a cherished family album of ancestors from Lincoln’s time. How should I go about getting it authenticated?


  2. Hi Tzai: Thanks for your email about your photo.
    The 100th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address would put your photo in or around November 19, 1963 (3 days before John F. Kennedy was assassinated).

    AP probably stands for Associated Press and could be a print that they made for promotional or other reasons.

    What are you actually looking to authenticate? Is it the photo itself or rather the print from 1963?

    Regarding the image, is the photo a close up of Lincoln sitting in a crowd with a bearded gentleman (Ward Hill Lamon) in a stovetop hat and coat to his left?

    You can see this photo by going to:

    It’s not the full photo but you can see that one by going to:

    If it is not this picture, please let me know what you have. In 2007, a set of three existing photos were discovered to have images of Lincoln (or Lamon) in them from Gettysburg.

    Other than these, no other photos are known to exist.
    Please let me know if these are your photos.


  3. Hello to everyone. I would like to stop for a moment to thank Barry for all his hard work in helping me to find out the truth behind the photo I found in my family desk. And his on going help in this great story.He has gone beyond the call to get some of the number one people on Abe Lincoln history to give there thoughts. And all in a short time span.Thanks to his work we have found out that the photo I have maybe the same photo published in a book called 20 days.By Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt and Philip B.Kunhardt JR.In the book the photo is listed as one of a few “fakes passed down to family members over the years”.So we will keep you posted on who the man in the photo is. And again thank you barry for all your hard work , And to everyone who helped in the search who took the time to read the story and give there spin on a great mystery. Best Regards Mr. P.

  4. Excellent blog! Interesting article and very informative! I will necessarily subscribe for this blog.

  5. Thanks for your comments. It is very appreciated.

  6. None of the close up photos of Abe L are any good from what i have tryed to view, what does confues me is his death mask with no beard,but when they removed his coffin and viewed it he had a beard,wart and that nose but no eye brows, so this has confused me. can you be of any help too me on this question.

    • Hi Frank: Lincoln never had a death mask made. What you are referring to are probably the two life masks that he had made while he was still alive. The first one was made in 1860 by Leonard Volk just before Lincoln was nominated for President. This is the one you are referring to which has lincoln with no beard. Then in February of 1865, just two months prior to his assassination, he was did his second life mask. This one was made by Clark Mills. In this one, Lincoln has his beard.
      To read a little more about this story, go to my “The Lincoln Life Masks” and you can see the information and photos of both masks. I hope this has helped.

  7. As I child I read an article about a Lincoln exhumation (one of many-probably 1874) that had a side shot photo of the casket with Lincoln’s profile barely visible and mention of gloves that his wife gave him. There was no lid on the casket so it was not the 1901 reburial where workmen chiseled in. Others have reported remembering this from the 1950s in blogs but we can’t figure out where we saw it. I was sure it was the Feb 15 1963 LIFE magazine but apparently it only covers the 1901 Springfield event. It is from the 1950s. Can anyone shed light on this mystery? I distinctly remember the picture and mention of the gloves he wore being a gift from his wife. Could have been fake, I suppose, but it is indicated in the historical record that the body was viewed and verified at each reburial so there was opportunity. I read on a website that there was only one known photo of Lincoln in his coffin and when I viewed the image I immediately remembered the other one. Any old-timers out there?

    • Hi David: Thank you for your comments. Regrettably, I am not familiar with the article that you are referring to. However I can tell you that there is only one verified image of Abraham Lincoln in death that is known today (and verfied by Lincoln scholars as being authentic). That one is shown in this article. It was discovered by Ronald Rietveld at the age of 14 in 1952. Mr. Rietveld has contributed to this blog in the past. As well, I personally asked this question to Mr. Harold Holzer, a top Lincoln scholar and he indicated that no other photograph has come along and been authenticated as genuine. There have been several photographs claiming to be Lincoln after death but they have all been rejected by scholars as being fakes or just flat out misidentifications by owners who thought they had the real thing. You can see some of these photos in books such as Twenty Days by Dorothy and Philip Kunhardt which was released in 1965 or the newest book from the Kunhardt family called Looking for Lincoln by Philip B. Kunhardt III, Peter W. Kunhardt and Peter W. Kunhardt Jr. Perhaps one of these images is the one you saw. If so, it, and the other three have been classified a fakes. I do hope you come across the article and let us know what image was printed.
      You are correct that Lincoln’s corpse was viewed on several occasions when his coffin was repeatedly opened over the years. However there is no record, written or otherwise, that supports the existence of a photograph taken of the President during those times. It’s not to say that it couldn’t have happened, but no evidence of it exists. If it did, it would be a huge find and well publicized.
      I wish you well and hope you do find the article that you seek.

  8. Dear Lincoln Fans:

    I am a teacher and dramatist researching a project:

    If it is true that no known photo exists of Abraham & Mary Todd Lincoln together, how many photographs exist of them on their own?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Michael: Thanks for the comment. I may be mistaken as I have not come across the exact numbers for some time, but I believe there are over 300 photos of Abraham Lincoln. Mary Lincoln photos are much fewer coming in somewhere between 30 and 40. Anyone know the firm answer?

  9. Awesome site!! I have been a Lincoln researcher and have enjoyed studying him and his life for years. I have never found a site like this before and just stumbled upon it today. I am thankful that you have put so much energy into this subject and I will look into the site many more times going forward. By the way, has there ever been talk of taking Lincoln’s oldest son and moving him to Springfield?

    • Hi Shane: Thank you very much for your kind words. I love history in general but have gotten quite caught up in the history of Lincoln. And I’ve met some great people with similar interests sense doing so.
      With regards to Robert Lincoln and moving his body back to Springfield, I have never heard that before. I would think it is extremely doubtful that it would occur for one or two major reasons. Museums, cemeteries and cities for that matter are extremely proprietary when it comes to their ‘treasures’. Arlington Cemetery, and Washington DC would fight tooth and nail to keep Robert Lincoln, the Kennedy’s and just about anyone else of note buried on their grounds. It’s the same mentality I see in museums all the time. Their collections are so important to them, that they rarely or never, give their treasures to other institutions. That is why items from the night of the assassination are found in several different museums. It would make sense that all the items would end up under one roof, in one collection, but that will never happen. The items are too valuable to the owners. I believe it is the same with Robert Lincoln’s burial site. His wife insisted that he be buried in Arlington to honor and distinguish him separately from his father. Although that will never sit well with everyone (and certainly did not at the time of Robert’s death) it was her wish and it was honored. Please let me know if you do hear any talk about this subject as you never know what tomorrow will bring.

  10. I know that the chair Lincoln sat in when he was shot is in Dearborn, MI at the Henry Ford Museaum, as well as his hat I think, but where are the rest of the artifacts from that night held at? I would love to go to any museum that has Lincoln items in them…Any help in this matter would be appreciated.


    • Hi Shane: You are correct that the rocking chair that Lincoln sat in at Ford’s Theatre is found at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. Although another version of Lincoln’s stove pipe hat may be on display at the Henry Ford Museum, the actual one he had with him at the time of the assassination is at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. It is currently on display in an exhibit called “Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life”. That exhibit is also displaying the canvas hoods and shackles that Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton forced the male conspirators to wear during most of their incarceration and trial.
      I keep an on-going list of assassination artifacts and their locations in an article called “Lincoln Assassination Artifacts: Where to Find Them” at the following link.

  11. I own a photo as noted below. There IS substantial documentation the proves what Lloyd Ostendorf stated as truth, which is the general accepted explaination, is incorrect. Lincoln did visit Princeton Illinois, had his picture made by Matson, and I have documetation to prove this as well as know the owner of one of the original plate glass negatives, that was discovered in the 1950’s and sold to a lawyer in Illinois. His son now has possession of the plate glass negative as well as one of the Hessler’s plate glass negatives. I desire to set the history straight and have the Smithsotian magazine correct this history injustice.

    Date : 7/24/04

    To : Kim Bauer at the Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield, Illinois 62701-1507

    From : Brian Brutcher 1501 Sierra Alta, Santa Ana, Ca. 92705

    Subject: Lincoln Photo

    Good Morning Mr Bauer:

    I am a former resident of Princeton Illinois now living in California. I recently purchased a Lincoln photo as described below in the attached .jpeg file printout and e-mail below. I was hoping you could shed some light on the comments of Dr. Ronald D. Rietveld in the attached e-mail correspondence..

    I will be in Illinois during the weekends of September during Sept 18 – 19 and Sept 24-25. I would be interested in possibly meeting with you to show you the photo and gain any knowledge you may know.

    My e-mail address is (Now

    Please feel free to contact me at either the e-mail address or my home address above. My work phone number is 949-250-3699 in the event you wish to call me.

    Best Regards

    Brian Brutcher

    Attachments :

    1) Lincoln Photo As Purchased
    2) Signature With Purchased Lincoln Photo
    3) Known Lincoln Photo by Hesler
    4) E-mail Correspondence

    1) Lincoln Photo As Purchased

    2) Signature With Purchased Lincoln Photo

    3) Known Lincoln Photo by Hesler

    4) E-mail Correspondence


    Thank you for your e-mail, just received this morning. And I appreciated your inquiry and the attachment of both the photograph and the inscription.

    First of all, the likeness is not from the senatorial campaign of 1858, as the “seller” indicated on your e-mail. Let me quote from Lloyd Ostendorf’s Lincoln’s Photographs: A Complete Album (Rockywood Press, 1998), p. 258:

    “On February 28, 1857, Alexander Hesler took the famous photograph of Lincoln [note pages 6 and 8] in Chicago. About seven months earlier, so went the story, Lincoln had posed for William H. Masters of Princeton, Illinois. No photograph by Masters has turned up, and there is no evidence that he took Lincoln’s picture. But the Masters Studio, avoiding the use of the word photograph, widely distributed the picture “from the Masters Portrait made July 4, 1856, at Princeton, Ill.” So extensive were the sales of the Masters portrait, a reversed and retouched copy of Hesler’s likeness, that it has become the best known of Lincoln faked photographs.”

    From the accompanying photographs by Hesler and the other [which appears to be like the one you attached], it may not be authentic. I know no details regarding the photograph other than Lloyd’s comments. However, the inscription you sent refers to “the negative this photo was made from was made by G. W. Masters July 4th, 1856 at Princeton, ill.” Lloyd has since passed away, so I cannot put you in contact with him, of course. But you may contact Kim Bauer at the Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield, Illinois 62701-1507. Kim is in charge of the Lincoln Collection at the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library there. Perhaps, he can shed more light on this for you.

    All my best,

    Dr. Ronald D. Rietveld,
    Department of History
    California State University, Fullerton
    Fullerton, CA 92834
    From: Brian Brutcher []
    Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2004 10:57 PM
    Subject: Licoln Phot Question From Lincoln history buff

    I recently purchased a photo of Lincoln and found your web site detailing the history of Abraham Lincoln

    Have you ever seen this photo? I am originally form Princeton Illinois and now live in Santa Ana.Thanks

    Below are the notes form the seller

    Thanks for your questions about the Lincoln photo. I first bought this
    photograph from an image dealer in the San Francisco Bay Area about two
    years ago. As far as receipts going back to when it was originally made
    I can’t help you. I have been a commercial photographer for over 30
    years and I know it is a period photograph printed in the mid 1800’s.
    The writing on the back is certainly period handwriting too. Take a look
    at the photos in the ad to verify yourself. The quality of the printing
    process is unequaled even by today’s standards. I have taken it to
    several experts in early photographs and they all seem to agree that it
    is an original photograph and possibly a ‘salt process’ image due to the
    extremely high quality that as been represented. That’s about all I know
    about it except it is Abraham Lincoln when he was running for senator
    before he was elected President.

    • Hi Brian: Thanks for commenting. I’ve tried to understand the string of emails that you’ve attached here from 2004 but am a little confused. If my interpretation is correct, you own, or someone you know owns, a glass plate of an original Lincoln image taken prior to his presidency. You’ve contacted several experts about the photo. I read Dr. Rietveld’s response but did not see one from Kim Bauer. These were the correspondence that you attached from 2004. Now, this week, you’ve posted some information about either this, or another photo that the Smithsonian magazine has comment on, in your opinion, incorrectly and wish to have the record corrected.
      Before I comment, could you clarify specifically what photo you are referring to, either by catalog number or forward the jpeg to me please so I can post it for my readers. Secondly, can you clarify what issue of the Smithsonian Magazine you are referring to and what specifically they have stated that you are challenging.
      I do appreciate your comments but really need clarity to help everyone who may read this later.

      At this point, what I can tell you is that in many Lincoln Research circles, the work of Lloyd Ostendorf is not respected due to indescrpencies in his research and claims of falsified research. Although I have no direct information to the validity of these claims, I can assure you that I have heard this from more than one respected Lincoln researcher so that kind of clout makes you pause and consider the allegations.

      Anyway, if you can supply me with more information, and the proof that you have, I will be happy to post it as well as pass it along to a few dedicated researchers who may be able to shed more light on the situation.

      Thanks so much.

      • Barry,

        Sorry I am so late on this subject but I did want to reply since my name was mentioned. If I recall I sent information to Mr. Brutcher concerning his Masters’ Lincoln photo. If I remember correctly I replied that the Master’s photo is a reverse image of the original Alexander Hesler image of Lincoln taken in Chicago by Hesler in 1857. How do I know? The ALPLM has an original of this image with Hesler’s photographer’s name imprint on it. There have been attempst over the years to atlernately claim that MAster’s took it and Hesler stole it or that Hesler Did his own version but I do not believe them. It is interesting that there was no prior mention of this image – an image that was supposedly taken for the important 1858 senatorial debates – until years later and AFTER Hesler was gone from the scene. No, I am terribly sorry, but if it is the same image that I have perviously seen before it is my humble opinion that the image was originally done by Alexander Hesler. If it is a different one and is NOT the “tossled hair” Lincoln (Hesler’s image nickname)than I would be very interested in vreviewing it and I will be happy to extend my apologies to Mr Brutcher. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to reply to this question Barry.

        Kim Bauer

      • Thanks for responding Kim. Better late than never. LOL. I hope your answer helps Mr. Brutcher or others interested in the subject.

  12. All,

    Wow, thanks to the Maker for allowing me to find such a wonderful group of enthusiasts regarding something that has only recently become a curiosity to me.

    I am in great need to investigate the full provenance of the glass-plate photograph of the crowd at Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.

    I would like to see Tzai’s image, and learn what has been done to prove that out.

    If possible, does anyone have an early photograph of the original print, or better…something developed from this negative? I would rather see something done before 1972.

    I am amazed at the cascading co-incidences around this photo and others tagged to this enigmatic man. I had NO idea there was so much mystery surrounding him, including exhumation of his grave.

    Can anyone lead me to where I can be fully brought up to speed regarding this whole issue? It may help me track the theory I’m attempting to prove out.

    It is not easy to squeeze into an ‘elevator pitch’ succinctness, but suffice to say it would curl the hair of anyone who feels the time/space continuum we’re currently surfing contains everything there is.

    Cheers and more from gray Detroit,

    P.S.: How sick is this…I’ve lived within fifteen minutes of Greenfield Village/The Henry Ford Museum most of my life…and have only been there a handful of times?! I will make amends and offer ANYONE who wishes to visit…they now have a local guide to Detroit, should y’all desire!

  13. I can’t seem to find this portrait, on the internet, of Abraham Linclon, July 4, 1856, taken in Princeton, Ill. I found these among my family pictures. It was done by W.H. Masters Gallery.

    2 attachments | Download all attachments (2.1 MB)
    DC250LEFT…pdf (1029.8 KB), DC250LEFT…pdf (1143.8 KB)

    I had it scanned at Fed-Ex, Kinko’s to get the best copy. Lincoln had no facial hair. He was facing left with just half of his chest showing. The inscription with it said;

    This unusual portrait of Abraham Lincoln shows him as he was in 1856 when, on his visits to our city, he used to come into The Chicago Tribune office at 53 Clark street, where the Olympic theater now stands, hoist his feet on Managing Editor Medill’s desk, and discuss the questions of the hour, which were slavery and how to distroy it and the Union and how to preserve it. The picture was taken at Princeton, Ill., July 4, 1856. Linclon was orator of the day. After dinner at Dr. S.A. Paddock’s home. Mrs. Paddock asked Lincoln to have his picture taken, and they all went over to W.H. Masters’ gallery. It was a hot day. “Is my hair all right?” Mr. Linclon asked, then ran his fingers through it, and sat.

    Have you seen it before?


    • Hi Theresa: I can’t seem to find or open the attachments. Can you send them to my email address at and I’ll view them there.
      Many thanks. I’ll see what I can do.

  14. Dear Barry,
    I just found your wonderful site while trying to get information on a photograph I have of our dear President Abraham Lincoln. Many years ago I purchased a large book at a swap meet. When I got home I realized that there was a 10×13 photograph of Lincoln tucked inside with an old piece of paper from a commercial photographer in Hollywood, Ca., named L.A.Todd. His address for the store is 6806 Fountain ave., Hollywood,28,Ca. and phone # is HOllywood9-7007.
    It is obviously too late to get any info from him, but maybe you can shed some light on this. The paper reads :

    Abraham Lincoln was nominated for the presidency in May 1860, and in June, Alex Hesler of Chicago, the best photographer of his day, was sent to Springfield, Ill. , to obtain his likeness, for campaign purposes.

    When Mr. Hesler arrived, Lincoln was much surprised, not caring for pictures, especially of himself and could not see why anyone wanted a picture of his ugly face but he would sit to please the people , if they wished it.
    Two negatives were made and when the proofs were shown him, he selected this likeness, saying “Well that looks better and expresses me better than any I have seen. If it pleases the people, I am satisfied.”
    This was considered by Lincoln his best photograph, also by John Hay, Secretary of State, and promises to remain the likeness that best displays his soulful countenance to future generations.
    Not only the rarest but the most accurate likeness being beardless, the typical rural American features are most pronounced and portray him in the hey-day of his life and not when he was care-worn with affairs of State or the sorrows of the war.
    This photograph was made from the original negative, the ragged edges of the back-ground being retained as proof of the original, it having been made from the old wet-plate process.
    The original plates were broken and the fragments are now in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
    This is all the paper says. The photo is of Lincoln facing left, no beard,in a black suit and vest, bow tie, and a thin chain or? coming from his right collar and hanging down and across to his left, ending under his jacket. I have seen this picture on line, but never one this well preserved. Can you give me any info on this at all? Thank you for your time , Janie Brittain

  15. Oh, wonderful, a website that looks updated! I don’t know where else to turn for help. I need info. on a “death mask” that my mom picked up at a rummage sale. It is inscribed “Gen. R.E. Lee by Clark Mills” on the top. I don’t know who to ask about this… would appreciate some advice. Thanks! -Pam (pdove @

    • Hi Pam: Thank you for your comment. What a fascinating story. I am not an expert in Robert E. Lee’s death mask but I do know a little bit about Clark Mills. Mills was a sculptor who is known for creating the 2nd Life Mask of Abraham Lincoln just months before he was assassinated.
      According to the article below, upon Lee’s death, Mill’s made his death mask of the ex-Confederate General. The internet is not the best place to find accurate historical information however, it is always a good place to start. I came across this article on Lee’s death mask at Trivia-Library. I hope it helps. Please send me a picture of your mother’s mask. I’d love to see it.
      Also, a close up of the signature would be helpful too.

      Famous Death Masks Civil War General Robert E. Lee

      About the history of the plastar death mask made of Civil War general Robert E. Lee.

      ROBERT E. LEE (1807-1870), U.S. general

      From the end of the Civil War in 1865 to his death, Lee served as president of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Va. His campus residence was the President’s House, which he designed, and there he died on Oct. 12, 1870, following an apparent stroke some days previously. His last words, uttered in delirium, were “Strike the tent.”

      Lawyer-diplomat James Brown Scott gave a copy of Lee’s death mask to the Museum of the Confederacy in 1925. The mask, according to Scott, was taken by sculptor Clark Mills “immediately upon General Lee’s death. Two copies of it were known to exist, one of which came, last year, into the possession of the American sculptor, the late Paul W. Bartlett, who had intended to use it for making a medallion of General Lee. Mr. Bartlett was good enough to make me two copies of the mask, one of which I would like to keep for myself. . .”Thus at least four copies of the mask existed, though the present whereabouts of three are unknown.

      After accepting the mask from Scott, Susan B. Harrison, a regent of the museum, took it to Edward V. Valentine for criticism. Valentine, himself a sculptor who had posed Lee for the general’s last sitting in 1870, noted a greater likeness from the side view. According to the sketchy Harrison notes of their conversation, Valentine thought “the nose is too pinched for a life mask–the ear is not correct (altogether)–the nostrils [are] peculiarly shaped–Just over the eyes there is a likeness to Gen. Lee. . . .”

      This copy of the mask is still owned and displayed by the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va.


  16. The photo of Lincoln as displayed here is false. The bullet wound would have left ecchymosed blotching beneath the eyes and the hair at the back of the head would not be as so full as shown here. He appears too clean and natural looking after the experience of an autopsy.The official photo of Lincoln lying in state, the only one retained since Edwin Stanton gave orders not to take anymore, reveals a gaunt looking Lincoln with a haggard face.

  17. I was given an old photo album from my great grandmother. In the back was a photo of Lincoln. I don’t know anything about old photos, or how to tell if they are real or fake. I have looked online and can’t find a picture like the one I have. It is Lincoln sitting at a desk reading a letter, his legs are crossed and he is facing right. On his desk is a picture of a women by herself, and two small children. There are also encyclopedias on his dest on is open and one is closed. There is no hat in the picture, and it is a full body shot of him sitting in his chair. If it matters there is nothing stamped on the back of the photo, but there is a faint number on the ride side of the picture. I cant make out the numbers completly though. I found this one with a picture of Kennedy and his Memoranom. Any information you can give me would be great. I need to know if these are real photos or fakes so I can keep them safe.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’ve been on the road so not able to have full access to my site. It is likely that you have a print of one the many Lincoln photos taken during his lifetime (over 130 I believe). If you can send me an image of it to my email I’ll be happy to look at it. Best. Barry

  18. I have a photo of Abraham Lincoln dated 1860 which has been in this frame from the 1930’s. Do you think it is worth anything? It is similar to the photo of Lincoln at the Cooper Union speech but not the full length.

    • The front of the photo is signed “Hanover”. George W. Hanover lived from 1874 to 1944 and is assumed to have developed this photo.

      • Hi Tess,
        Thank you for writing me. If you have a high-rez image of the photo I’d love to see it. If so, please feel free to send it to my email address at Have you ever removed the photo from it’s frame and looked at the back of it. Often there is additional information written or printed on the back.
        Based on what you’ve described so far, my gut feel is that this is a common print that was made sometime in the early 1900s. Any original prints would have likely been made using methods common to photography reproduction of the era (1850-60). Glass plates, tin types, etc were all original methods. For instance, copies made from an original glass plate would be of importance to a collector (depending on condition) and would be worth certainly more than a reproduction made in the 1900s. From your description, this photo is likely not an original print and so would probably not have much desire to a collector.
        I am not sure which image of Lincoln you are referring to but if you can send a photo of it, I can better advise you.
        Best regards,

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