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Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Mathew B. Brady, 1823? - 15 Jan 1896
Abraham Lincoln, 12 Feb 1809 - 15 Apr 1865
February 27, 1860
Salted paper print
Image: 8.6 × 5.4 cm (3 3/8 × 2 1/8")
Mount: 10.3 x 6.2 cm (4 1/16 x 2 7/16")
Printed Material\Book
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Table
Abraham Lincoln: Male
Abraham Lincoln: Law and Law Enforcement\Lawyer
Abraham Lincoln: Military\Soldier
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\President of US
Abraham Lincoln: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Environmentalist
Abraham Lincoln: Business and Finance\Businessperson\Merchant
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\US Congressman\Illinois
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\Government Official\Surveyor
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\State Senator\Illinois
Abraham Lincoln: Politics and Government\Government Official\Postmaster
Abraham Lincoln: Crafts and Trades\Boat builder
United States\New York\Kings\New York
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Object number
Exhibition Label
“Let us have faith that right makes might. . .”
On February 27, 1860, Lincoln held an overflow crowd at New York’s Cooper Union spellbound as he delivered a careful, comprehensive, and eloquent elucidation of the Republican Party’s opposition to slavery, ending with a near-biblical plea of moral conviction. His speech convinced his audience that he was not a country bumpkin but a serious constitutional thinker and an eloquent representative for the party. Before the speech, Lincoln had his portrait taken by Mathew Brady, and this picture became known as the “photograph that made Lincoln president.”
This photograph played a significant role in shaping the public image of Republican hopeful Abraham Lincoln during the 1860 presidential campaign. Taken at Brady’s New York gallery on February 27—the day Lincoln delivered his famed Cooper Union address—the carefully crafted portrait revealed a candidate whose dignified bearing stood in sharp contrast to the unflattering characterizations circulated by his detractors.
Brady issued his Lincoln portrait in several sizes, including small, card-mounted photographs known as cartes de visite. Introduced to the American market from Europe in 1858, the carte de visite quickly became the nation’s most popular photographic format.
Esta fotografía tuvo un papel significativo en la creación de la imagen pública del candidato republicano Abraham Lincoln durante la campaña presidencial de 1860. Fue tomada en la galería de Brady en New York el 27 de febrero, día en que Lincoln pronunció su famoso discurso en la Cooper Union, y es una obra de cuidada factura que nos revela a un personaje cuyo porte distinguido y solemne contrasta drásticamente con las imágenes poco favorecedoras que difundían sus detractores.
Brady hizo copias del retrato en varios tamaños, incluso en el formato llamado “tarjeta de visita”, que eran fotos pequeñas montadas en cartón. Las fotos tipo tarjeta de visita llegaron desde Europa al mercado norteamericano en 1858 y pronto se convirtieron en el formato fotográfico más popular del país.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery