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Page Two

The Museum of Abraham Lincoln Photographs, Miniature Paintings, and More

A campaign flag for the Unionist Party in 1860

When Lincoln ran for President in 1860, he was running against a crowded field of contenders. After winning the race for the Republican candidate, he had to contend with Democrats, Southern Democrats, and Unionists

The Northern Democratic Party nominated Stephen A. Douglas for President and Herschel V. Johnson for Vice President.

The Democratic Party was divided over the issue of slavery. At the convention, 50 southern Democrats walked out and nominated pro-slavery advocate, John C. Breckinridge, for President and Joseph Lane for Vice President.

Former Whigs and Know-Nothings formed the Constitutional Union Party, nominating John Bell for president and Edward Everett for vice president.

Few people ever get a chance to see what Edward Everett looks like, so here is a nice original CDV of him taken in his home town of Boston.

The issues were varied with some appealing to the Southern states, others appealing to the Northern states and some trying to appeal to everyone. Lincoln won by a narrow margin receiving 1,866,452 votes to Stephen Douglas’ 1,376,957. Breckinridge received 849,781 votes and Bell only got 588,879 votes.

Tintype political button for the 1860 race Tintype political button for Lincoln for President Tintype political button for Lincoln for President Tintype political button for Stephen Douglas for President

Stephen Douglas CDV by Brady
Stephen Douglas CDV by Gardner Stephen Douglas 1860 salt print photo on a "For President" card

Tintype political button for the 1864 Presidential race where Johnson was the Vice Presidential candidate replacing Hanibal Hamlin Tintype political hanger for the 1864 presidental race. Tintype political button for the 1864 presidental race. An unusual tintype button for the 1864 presidental race.

In 1864, Lincoln's slogan changed to a "Union" theme. Several small lapel pins were made for that campaign.
An 1864 Lincoln stickpin.
In 1864, Lincoln's slogan changed to a "Union" theme. Several small lapel pins were made for that campaign.

Among the more difficult-to-find, the Grand National Banner by Currier and Ives showing the Presidential candidates for the Republican Party in 1860

The Grand National Banner by Currier and Ives showing the Presidential candidates for the Republican Party in 1864

A CDV showing a composite photo of Lincoln and the current senators in a period gutta percha frame.
Known as the "Crewcut" shot of Lincoln taken in late 1864

A stereoview of Abraham Lincoln taken by Brady on January 8, 1864

A group of four Brady CDVs of Lincoln as he sat for his portrait on February 24, 1861. His hands and head moved between shots.
The camera was a four lens camera so that it could also take stereoviews at the same time. Note the angle of the piller on the left side of the photo. It changes dependent upon which lens was used.

Alexander Gardner photographed Lincoln for these CDVs on August 9th, 1863 Gardner originally worked for Brady, but objected to Brady taking credit for every photo taken.

Gardner started his own studio and took some of the most interesting photographs of Lincoln The back mark for Gardner's Studio


Vice-President Andrew Johnson
Sec'y of the Treasury Salmon Chase
Sec'y of the Navy Gideon Wells
Sec'y of War Edwin Stanton
President Abraham Lincoln
Sec'y of State William H. Seward


An Ayers/Hessler platinum photograph of Lincoln
An Ayers/Hessler platinum photograph of Lincoln


Photos were made in larger sizes, many after Lincoln’s death. In the late 1880s, silver and platinum prints began to appear. The detail and tonal range of the photographs changed again. By way of example, a negative can reproduce 256 tonal variations from black to white. Once the negative is printed, an albumen or silver print only reproduces 12 tonal variations at best. A platinum print reproduces more than 200 tonal variations, yielding a richer photograph. Some of the nicest of these later photos are the “Ayres’ Lincolns”. Ayres’ platinum photographs are commanding a premium over other “reprinters” works. Ayres was an artist in the printing medium and his work is of the highest quality.

      The story behind the Ayres/Hessler photographs: Springfield, Illinois photographer, Alexander Hessler took several photographs of a beardless Lincoln in 1858 & 1860. The photos were used in the campaign for president, but were in little demand once Lincoln became President and grew a beard. Publishers wanted pictures of the new president with a beard. In 1865 Hessler retired and sold his Chicago studio and supplies to photographer, George Ayres. Ayres ran the studio for 2 years, during which time, he recycled the silver and glass of the studio’s old glass negatives. While digging among Hessler’s negatives, Ayres came upon several glass negatives of Lincoln which he set aside. He moved to Buffalo in June, 1867 taking his equipment and the negatives. Five weeks later, Hessler’s former studio burned down. Ayres resurrected the negatives in 1886 and printed the photo that was used as the frontispiece for Hay and Nicolay’s history of Lincoln. The photo appeared in The Century Magazine, November, 1886 issue. Ayres made copy prints for his friends over the next few years. In 1893, with the countrywide interest in Lincoln revived, Ayres began to reprint and sell the photographs from the original negatives.

            He made prints in 3 forms - a silver print, where the tones are similar to a modern black and white photo; an albumen print where the tones are light to medium browns, and a toned platinum print where the tones are dark, rich browns. The silver prints are not too popular, albumen prints are actively sought and platinum prints are the most wonderful of the Lincoln prints. The detail and tonal quality is rich and full. Ayres made the prints in several sizes, 6” x 8” or larger, and usually marked his prints on the front or back. He did not mark them all.


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