Abraham Lincoln and Macomb


1 Courthouse Square, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

Abraham Lincoln photo by: William Painter Pearson (aka W.P. or T.P. Pearson or Pierson or Tom Pearson), Macomb, IL

Date: 26 August 1858 in Macomb, IL

Black and white cameo photograph of Abraham Lincoln in 1858 looking directly into the camera.
This photo was taken five days after the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate and a day before the second Debate

From a photograph loaned by W. J. Franklin of Macomb, Illinois, and taken in 1866 from an ambrotype made in 1858 in Macomb. This portrait figures in the collection in the Lincoln Home at Springfield, Illinois, and on the back of the photograph is the following inscription: “This likeness of Abraham Lincoln is a faithful copy of an original ambrotype, now in possession of James K. Magie. It was taken August 25, 1858, by Mr. T. P. Pierson, at Macomb, in this State, and is believed to be of anterior date to any other likeness of Mr. Lincoln ever brought before the public. Mr. Magie happened to remain overnight at Macomb, at the same hotel with Mr. Lincoln, and the next morning took a walk about town, and upon Mr. Magie’s invitation they stepped into Mr. Pierson’s establishment, and the ambrotype of which this is a copy was the result. Mr. Lincoln, upon entering, looked at the camera as though he was unfamiliar with such an instrument, and then remarked: ‘Well, do you want to take a shot at me with that thing?’ He was shown to a glass, where he was told to ‘fix up,’ but declined, saying it would not be much of a likeness if he fixed up any. The old neighbors and acquaintances of Mr. Lincoln in Illinois, upon seeing this picture, are apt to exclaim: ‘There! that’s the best likeness of Mr. Lincoln that I ever saw!’ The dress he wore in this picture is the same in which he made his famous canvass with Senator Douglas.” This inscription was written by J. C. Power, now dead, but for many years custodian of the Lincoln monument in Springfield. — Page 65 of The Early Life of Abraham Lincoln, by Ida M. Tarbell and J. McCan Davis, New York: S.S. McClure, 1896.

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