Abraham & Mary Lincoln Never Had A Photograph Taken Together

Abraham Lincoln (pic from marketingsupportnetwork.com)

In an old article The Long Lost Lincolns from the Civil War Times Illustrated (May 1979), Harold Holzer mentions that Mr. & Mrs. Lincoln never had a photograph taken together. There were companion portraits of the pair done by artist Francis Bicknell Carpenter. And also there is a sketch of the two walking done by Pierre Morand that had been “lost” for over one hundred years. In May 1979, that sketch was the only known picture featuring the Lincolns
together. Holzer states that Mary Lincoln would not “allow any painter to pose them as a pair. They looked queer together. And Mrs. Lincoln, ever vain, was sensitive about this disparity and rejected all proposals for such sittings. History was the loser.”  I also like Holzer’s thoughts on Abraham and Mary Lincoln as a couple:
” They were total, irreconcilable opposites: physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, even spiritually…Mary and Abraham Lincoln had absolutely nothing in common. Yet it must be true that opposites attract. They met, fell in love, fell out and then in again, and finally married and lived as husband and wife nearly a quarter century. They loved their children and their home. They were proud of each others accomplishments.”
There are now- as we are all aware- a few statues made by artists with both Abraham and Mary Lincoln together. It seems only fitting and proper. Not sure Mary would appreciate them! As Lincoln once quipped something to the effect of-“now you have the long and short of it.”

Mary Todd Lincoln

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5 Responses to “Abraham & Mary Lincoln Never Had A Photograph Taken Together”

  1. Joseph Mason says:

    “They don’t look like them”. That’s the long and the short of it for you people and therein lies the problem. Your in-depth analysis and reasoned explanation is sheer brilliance. We also differ quite substantially on what exactly constitutes a ‘learned scholar’. Evidently, it’s the number of Lincoln books one can publish or the number of posts to a website or blog. I did indeed register on the symposium earlier today but I learned a long time ago that a reasonable individual cannot have a productive discussion with a moron. Or a bunch of em.

  2. B. Nash says:

    I appreciate your visit to AbesBlogCabin.org to post a comment. In looking at the picture- I don’t see where the couple are Abraham and Mary Lincoln at all. They don’t look like them! I invite you to join the Lincoln Discussion Symposium to discuss this with many learned scholars and Lincoln enthusiasts.

  3. Joseph Mason says:

    Contrary to the universal belief perpetuated by the Lincoln community, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln were in fact photographed together on at least one occasion. On the evening of March 4th, 1861, a few hours after Lincoln’s inauguration as our nation’s 16th President and prior to the inaugural ball festivities later that night, Abe and Mary sat for a formal photograph. This photograph, an original quarter-plate daguerreotype, can be viewed on abeandmarydag.com.
    It is unconscionable for scholars and historians knowledgeable about Mary’s personality and thirst for recognition to choose to believe that she would forego an opportunity to cement her place in history because of her discomfort with the height differential between her and Abe. While it is undeniable that these sentiments were expressed and documented, it was also documented that Mary confided to friends as a teenage girl that her mission was to someday marry a man who would become President of the United States. She accomplished this goal, and her first instinct after the official swearing-in ceremonies was to arrange a formal sitting for a photograph with the man who would indeed cement her place in perpetuity, even if it meant sitting on a cushion to somewhat lessen the 14 inch disparity in height. Bear in mind that Abe’s height was disproportionately in his legs.
    In addition to the visual evidence present in the daguerreotype, there is also the documented statement by Mariah Vance, the housekeeper for the Lincolns throughout the decade of the 1850’s, that she owned a photograph of Abe and Mary posed together. At the time of this statement, Lincoln photographs had little monetary value and there would seem to be no practical reason to boast about owning a photo for someone who spent a decade in such close proximity to the famous first couple unless it was the absolute truth.

  4. B. Nash says:

    Agree totally!

  5. Darinda says:

    She actually looks prettier than most depictions i’ve seen of her. In most pictures she looks more matronly than here.

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