Abraham Lincoln, 1864

Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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A tall, ill-favored man, with little grace.”


In 1861, the elegant Bostonian Charles Francis Adams characterized Lincoln in the quotation above. Lincoln described himself  as “six feet four inches, nearly; lean in flesh, weighing on average one hundred and eighty pounds; dark complexion, with coarse black hair and gray eyes.”


Seemingly  ungainly, Lincoln was physically strong, easily winning such frontier tests of strength as wrestling or holding a large axe parallel to the ground. Lincoln’s physical prowess helped him to connect with ordinary working Americans.

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