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Lincoln at Gettysburg: 1863

Lincoln at Gettysburg: 1863

        "President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address at the dedication. Examination of the image in 2007 by members of the Center for Civil War Photography indicates that Lincoln may be visible in the crowd when viewed through magnification."

-- Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

November 19, 1863. "Dedication of Monument at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania." Wet plate glass negative by Alexander Gardner. View full size.


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The question is,

Did Gardner really intend to take a recognizable photograph of Lincoln, or was he merely documenting the occasion by recording a few crowd scenes? The photographs of Lincoln's inauguration were taken at a distance, but Lincoln's face is recognizable as are those seated on the stand near him. The camera at Gettysburg is so far from the speakers stand as to make any identification a matter of speculation. As far as the recent studies are concerned, only one view can be said with any assurance to show Lincoln. In it, the President is seated and hatless, with Secretary of State Seward seated nearby.

Chrome dome

There is one photo of Lincoln giving the Gettysburg Address. It's not a very clear picture, but it shows one little-known thing about him: he was partially bald.

Alexander Gardner

The bearded fellow standing in the bottom right corner of the photo has been identified as photographer Alexander Gardner, supervising his crew as they set up to record the main event. (Which, of course, they ended up missing.)

Deja vu

I hear tell --

Lincoln, merely an inexperienced attorney from Illinois, was extremely hated during his presidency. Seems like deja vu.

His "few comments" were over

The close-up of Lincoln speaking never came about, as the president was finished before the photographer could set up the shot.

Image of Lincoln

The location of President Lincoln in the above photograph is still being debated. Check out the article here:

No and Yes

More recent (and more sophisticated) photo research suggests that Lincoln is in this photo, but is not the figure previously identified. There is, naturally, a controversy among interested historians. But the alternative identification seems to be more persuasive.

Timely and tantalizing

I was familiar with an earlier photographic "discovery" (circa early 1950s) of Lincoln at Gettysburg -- with Lincoln seated on the stage, bareheaded, with Ward Lamon standing to Lincoln's left.

I was not aware of this latest (2007) discovery. It is both timely and tantalizng.

Thank you for publishing these photos.

A giant among men

Lincoln was head and shoulders above the rest in all ways. Thanks for the enlargement. I'm visually impaired and could never have found him in this photo.

[Sitting on a horse probably helped. - Dave]

Couldn't see the horse

Misses opportunity

The opening speech, by famous orator Everett Horton, was over an hour long. A photographer, with one more plate ready, was waiting for the right time to take a photo of Lincoln delivering his address. Expecting a speech of similar length, the photographer was caught off guard when The Gettysburg Address lasted under five minutes; the speech was over before the photographer took a photo.

Abe Enlarged

Details here.

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