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Thread: Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

  1. #1

    Default Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

    You have probably already seen these stories... but...

    Collector: Lincoln photo uncovered in Grant album

    By BRETT ZONGKER
    Associated Press Writer

    Posted: Mar. 10, 2009
    Updated: Mar. 10 5:22 p.m.

    WASHINGTON ? A collector believes a photograph from a private album of Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant shows President Abraham Lincoln in front of the White House and could be the last image taken of him before he was assassinated in 1865.

    If it is indeed Lincoln, it would be the only known photo of the 16th president in front of the executive mansion and a rare find, as only about 130 photos of him are known to exist. A copy of the image was provided to The Associated Press.

    Grant's 38-year-old great-great-grandson, Ulysses S. Grant VI, had seen the picture before, but didn't examine it closely until late January. A tall figure in the distance caught his eye, although the man's facial features are obscured.

    He called Keya Morgan, a New York-based photography collector and Lincoln aficionado, who helped identify it as Lincoln.

    "I was like, 'I don't know who this is, Keya,'" said Grant, a Springfield, Mo., construction business owner.

    Although authenticating the 2 1/2-by-3 1/2-inch photo beyond a shadow of a doubt could be difficult, several historians who looked at it said the evidence supporting Morgan's claim is compelling and believable.

    Morgan talked Grant into taking the photo out of the album and examining it for clues, such as the identity of the photographer.

    "Not knowing who the photographer is is like not knowing who your mother or father is," Morgan told Grant.

    Grant carefully removed it and was shocked to see the handwritten inscription on the back: "Lincoln in front of the White House." Grant believes his great-grandfather, Jesse Grant, the general's youngest son, wrote the inscription.

    Also included was the date 1865, the seal of photographer Henry F. Warren, and a government tax stamp that was issued for such photos to help the Civil War effort between 1864 and 1866.

    Morgan recalled the well-documented story of Warren's trip to Washington to photograph Lincoln after his second inauguration in March 1865. Lincoln was killed in April, so the photo could be the last one taken of him.

    Warren, a commercial photographer from Massachusetts, enticed Lincoln into his frame shortly after the inauguration by taking pictures of young Tad Lincoln and asking the boy to bring his father along for a pose, according to the book, "Lincoln in Photographs: An Album of Every Known Pose," by Charles Hamilton and Lloyd Ostendorf.

    "This is the first act of paparazzi ever toward a president," Morgan said. "Lincoln is not too happy at all."

    Historians say it has been decades since a newfound Lincoln image was fully authenticated. And in the Grant photo, it's not obvious to the naked eye who is standing in front of the executive mansion.

    You can see the White House, a short gate that once lined the building, and, on the lawn, a Thomas Jefferson statue that was later replaced with a fountain. Five people can be seen standing in front of the building. The tall man's face is obscured, but zooming in on the image with a computer reveals a telling beard.

    "Once you scan it and blow it up, you can see the whole scenario - there's a giant standing near the White House," Morgan said.

    At 6-foot-4, Lincoln was the tallest U.S. president.

    Morgan, who has sold photographs of Lincoln and other historical figures to the Smithsonian Institution, the White House and others, said he purchased the image from Grant for $50,000 in February. It will be added to Morgan's $25 million collection of Lincoln artifacts and original images.

    Several historians say Morgan has a good case.

    Will Stapp, who was the founding curator of the National Portrait Gallery's photographs department and who now appraises fine art and photographs, said he's usually cynical about such claims. But he said he was "very satisfied that it's Lincoln" in the picture.

    "It looks to me like Lincoln's physique," he said. "I can see his hairline. I can see the shadow of his beard."

    White House curator William Allman said the photo appears to include Lincoln. "I guess there's always an element of doubt," he said. "It feels pretty likely, though."

    Even if it's not Lincoln, it would be among the oldest photographs of the White House.

    Lincoln artifacts have recently been hot commodities leading up to the 200th anniversary of his birth, and President Barack Obama has evoked his memory several times for his work to unify the nation.

    The significance of the photo is difficult to judge, Stapp said. It does show the relative freedom Lincoln had compared with presidents today, and offers a unique view of the White House from the 1860s, he said.

    "We don't so much think of (Lincoln) as living at the White House," Stapp said. "In that respect, I think it's an important find."

    On Tuesday, Morgan's gallery Web site was overwhelmed with more than 1,000 inquires and telephone calls about the photograph after history buffs read of his purchase, he said. To him, the historical significance is simple.

    "These photos were the last sitting of Lincoln," Morgan said of Warren's photography. "It's the last glimpse of the greatest American that ever lived."
    Super 32 Challenge - October 26-27, 2013

    "Good things happen when you wrestle for a full seven minutes." -- Jayson Ness, post-finals press conference

  2. #2

    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

    Museum reveals engraving hidden in Lincoln watch

    By BRETT ZONGKER
    Associated Press Writer

    Posted: Mar. 10 12:43 p.m.
    Updated: Mar. 10 9:17 p.m.

    WASHINGTON — For nearly 150 years, a story has circulated about a hidden Civil War message engraved inside Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch. On Tuesday, museum curators confirmed it was true. A watchmaker used tiny tools to carefully pry open the antique watch at the National Museum of American History, and a descendant of the engraver read aloud the message from a metal plate underneath the watch face.

    "Jonathan Dillon April 13 - 1861," part of the inscription reads, "Fort Sumpter (sic) was attacked by the rebels on the above date." Another part reads, "Thank God we have a government."

    The words were etched in tiny cursive handwriting and filled the the space between tiny screws and gears that jutted through the metal plate. A magnifying glass was required to read them.

    Jonathan Dillon, then a watchmaker on Pennsylvania Avenue, had Lincoln's watch in his hands when he heard the first shots of the Civil War had been fired in South Carolina. The Irish immigrant later recalled being the only Union sympathizer working at the shop in a divided Washington.

    Dillon's story was passed down among his family and friends, eventually reaching a New York Times reporter. In a 1906 article in the paper, an 84-year-old Dillon said no one, including Lincoln, ever saw the inscription as far as he knew.

    Dillon had a fuzzy recollection of what he had engraved. He told the newspaper he had written: "The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a president who at least will try."

    For years the story went unconfirmed.

    The watchmaker's great-great grandson, Doug Stiles, first heard the tale of the engraving from his great uncle decades ago. He said the story had reached extended family as far away as Ireland.

    A few months ago, he used Google to find the New York Times story, and last month he passed the information along to Smithsonian curators, who knew nothing about the engraving.

    On Tuesday, watchmaker George Thomas, who volunteers at the museum, spent several minutes carefully opening the watch as an audience of reporters and museum workers watched on a video monitor.

    "The moment of truth has come. Is there or is there not an inscription?" Thomas said, teasing the audience, which gasped when he confirmed it was there. He called Stiles up to read his ancestor's words, drawing smiles and a few sighs of relief.

    "Like Pearl Harbor or 9/11, this was the reaction he had (to the Civil War,)" Stiles said of the inscription.

    Later, Stiles said he felt closer to the 16th president.

    "My gosh, that was Lincoln's watch," he said, "and my ancestor put graffiti on it!"

    Lincoln's family kept the watch until it was donated to the museum in 1958. It was Lincoln's everyday pocket watch, one of the president's only valuable possessions he brought with him to the White House from Springfield, Ill., said Harry Rubenstein, curator of the museum's politics and reform division.

    "I think it just captures a bit of history that can transform you to another time and place," he said. "It captures the excitement, the hope of a watchmaker in Washington."

    The watch will go back on display at the museum by Wednesday as part of the exhibit, "Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life." It will have a new label to tell Dillon's story and a photo of the inscription.
    Super 32 Challenge - October 26-27, 2013

    "Good things happen when you wrestle for a full seven minutes." -- Jayson Ness, post-finals press conference

  3. #3

    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

    That's pretty cool, Stardust!
    "All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind." -- Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4

    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

    I'm considering having those prints blown up for wall art. Is that weird?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

    no more weird than the cookies
    Super 32 Challenge - October 26-27, 2013

    "Good things happen when you wrestle for a full seven minutes." -- Jayson Ness, post-finals press conference

  6. #6
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
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    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

    "only about 130 photos of him (Lincoln) are known to exist"

    Actually, that is far more than any other President and most other people of the era, before Lincoln and long after him. It took about 45 seconds of still pose to take a portrait back then, not too many wanted to sit that long nor could the afford the price.
    Life's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out that gets you through the day ain't what it's all about. It's the moments that take your breath away.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

    I think Spider had a lot of photos taken of himself back then.
    Super 32 Challenge - October 26-27, 2013

    "Good things happen when you wrestle for a full seven minutes." -- Jayson Ness, post-finals press conference

  8. #8

    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

    One of my wife's ancestors notes in her diary that the clamp used to keep her head still during the photograph left bruises on her neck.

    R.I.P. Cyrano and Roxanne.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Abraham Lincoln stuff for Bluestater!

    I got a print of Abe Lincoln wrestling from the Dan Gable museum today. I love being a geek!

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