Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865

Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print,
(carte de visite), 1864
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, DC

On January 8, 1864, Abraham Lincoln posed for this portrait in Brady's Washington studio. A week before, Lincoln had welcomed the first African Americans to ever attend the President's annual New Year's Day reception at the White House, one of many sparkling celebrations that took place that winter. Looking ahead to the Republican convention, Lincoln used public events as well as private influence to counter challenges from opponents like Charles Sumner and his own secretary of the treasury, Salmon P. Chase. In February, Harriet Beecher Stowe published a warm, favorable interview, reporting the President's reflections on the war and his career, and his "dry, weary, patient pain." Stowe's article also contained Lincoln's chilling comment, "'Whichever way it ends . . . I have the impression that I sha'n't last long after it's over.'"

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