“Abraham Lincoln: The Image” is an Indiana State Museum traveling exhibition that examines how Lincoln was portrayed in political cartoons, campaign broadsides, photographs, lithographs and memorials from 1857 to 1870. The exhibit is available on a rental basis to select organizations and venues.
Few U.S. presidents have been as polarizing as Lincoln. He served as the 16th President of the United States and led the nation through one of its all-time greatest crises, the Civil War, and managed to preserve the Union. During Lincoln’s time, engravings and lithographs of political and military leaders were quite popular. It was quite common to find them displayed in family parlors around the nation.
Among the more noteworthy objects featured at the exhibit include “The Last Moments of Abraham Lincoln”, a hand-colored lithograph published in by Max Rosenthal in 1965 which depicts Lincoln dying a hero’s death; and “The Lincoln Family”, a mezzotint engraving inspired after a painting by Francis B. Carpenter which features a composite of the Lincoln family.
Interestingly, the best-selling Lincoln print of all time is the one he signed on to receive in 1864. It was a steel plate engraving inspired by a painting by Francis Carpenter, which depicted a bearded Lincoln at the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln was to receive the very first print, but unfortunately, didn’t live long enough.
The artifacts featured in the exhibit are drawn from a collection that dates back to 1905, when Arthur Hall and a group of Indiana businessmen founded The Lincoln National Life Insurance Company in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Hall was a devoted Lincoln admirer who was granted permission from Lincoln’s son, Robert Lincoln, to use the Lincoln name. He supplied Hall with a photograph of the president which was used as a basis for designing the company logo.
The company founded the Lincoln Historical Research Foundation in 1928, which began amassing a collection of Lincoln artifacts that over the next 80 years would consist of more than 30,000 artifacts, including 7,000 prints and engravings.
When the now Philadelphia-based Lincoln Financial Group ended its financial support in 2008, the Foundation awarded the collection to a consortium of Indiana institutions on behalf of the citizens of Indiana. These include the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) and the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis.
- Indiana State Museum
- 650 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204
- Tel. 317-232-1637