Urbana in Champaign County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Lincoln & Photography
óLooking for Lincoln ó
During the Spring term of the Circuit Court in 1858, Abraham Lincoln sat for a portrait with photographer Samuel Alschuler. Alschulerís studio was on the second floor of the Lowenstern Building, at the southwest corner of Main and Race streets, where the Busey Bank Building stands today. According to Urbana judge J. O. Cunningham, Mr. Lincoln was wearing a light colored duster (a long open coat worn when traveling by horse to protect clothing from dust). Since light colors did not photograph well, Alschuler offered his own jacket for the portrait. As Cunningham later said in ĎSome Recollections of Abraham Lincolní: “Alschuler was a very short man in height, with short arms, but with a body nearly as large as the body of Mr. Lincoln. The arms of Lincoln extended through the sleeves of Alschulerís coat a quarter of a yard, making him appear quite ludicrous; at which he, Lincoln, laughed immoderately, and sat down for the picture to be taken, with great effort at looking sober enough for the occasion.”
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This sketch, drawn by Lincoln photographer expert Lloyd Ostendorf, recreates Lincolnís 1858 portrait session with itinerant photographer Samuel Alschuler. The session took place in the Lowenstern Building in downtown Urbana. The resulting portrait, shown below,
This photograph is an ambrotype, a successor to the earlier and better-known daguerreotype. The ambrotype is a direct positive, created by under-exposing collodian on a glass negative backed by a black background so as to appear positive. Ambrotypes were easier and less expensive to produce than daguerreotypes and were popular through the late 1850's. Abraham Lincoln was probably the first presidential candidate to realize their potential and to exploit the poser of photography. According to Meserve and Sandburg, the Mathew Brady photographer and Cooper union speech (February 27, 1860) were critical to Lincolnís successful campaign for the Presidency: “It has been said, perhaps with exaggeration, that over one hundred thousand copies were distributed in the campaign later in the year. Mr. Lincoln himself said that this speech and these photographs helped him to the White house.”
Erected 2008 by City of Urbana.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 40° 6.732′ N, 88° 12.544′ W. Marker Click for map. Marker is located at the East side-walk by the Busey Bank Building and the parking lot. Marker is in this post office area: Urbana IL 61801, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Urbana's Lincoln (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (about 800 feet away); The First Congregational Church (approx. 1.6 miles away); Champaign's Lincoln (approx. 1.6 miles away); Lincoln at Kelley's Tavern (approx. 8.6 miles away); Lincoln in Tolono (approx. 9.3 miles away); Lincoln 1861 Inaugural Train Stop (approx. 9.3 miles away); Potawatomi Trail of Death (approx. 9.7 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Urbana.
Also see . . .
1. Courtesy: "YouTube" Every Known Photograph of Abraham Lincoln :::. (Submitted on May 24, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
2. Travel with Lincoln ::. Climb into Lincolnís buggy and take a trip with Lincoln and his fellow lawyers on the job traveling Illinois as Circuit Lawyers. See all the Lincoln Circuit Markers (and a surprise or two), in the order of his travels while a member of the Circuit of the Eighth Judicial District (of Illinois) (Submitted on May 24, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
3. Looking for Lincoln Video - on P. B. S. Follow Henry Louis Gates, Jr. "...from Illinois, to Gettysburg, to Washington, D. C., and face to face with people who live with Lincoln every day..." (Submitted on May 24, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
4. Looking for Lincoln::. Many resources for the Tracking of Lincoln through History and Illinois. Aimed at all ages. (Submitted on May 24, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
1. Samuel G. Alschuler
Samuel G. Alschuler also took the first photograph of Lincoln growing a beard on November 25, 1860 in Chicago.
— Submitted September 27, 2011, by Jean Powers Soman of Pinecrest, Florida.
Categories. • Notable Events • Notable Persons • Notable Places •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,096 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.