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Urbana in Champaign County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Lincoln & Photography

Looking for Lincoln

 
 
Top Section - - Lincoln & Photography Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Courtesy:: Trevor Searcy, May 23, 2010
1. Top Section - - Lincoln & Photography Marker
(Click on any of these photos to see the details.)
Inscription.  
Top Section
During the Spring term of the Circuit Court in 1858, Abraham Lincoln sat for a portrait with photographer Samuel Alschuler. Alschuler’s 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 ‘Some Recollections of Abraham Lincoln’: “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 Alschuler’s 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.”
* * * Photo Text * * *
This sketch, drawn by Lincoln photographer expert Lloyd Ostendorf,
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recreates Lincoln’s 1858 portrait session with itinerant photographer Samuel Alschuler. The session took place in the Lowenstern Building in downtown Urbana. The resulting portrait, shown below, is one of the earliest known photographs of our sixteenth president. Note Lincoln’s expression in the portrait- - -is he suppressing merriment?

Lower Section
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 Lincoln’s 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.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker
Lower Section - - Lincoln & Photography Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Courtesy:: Trevor Searcy, May 23, 2010
2. Lower Section - - Lincoln & Photography Marker
is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicGovernment & Politics. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1858.
 
Location. 40° 6.732′ N, 88° 12.544′ W. Marker is in Urbana, Illinois, in Champaign County. Marker is on South Race Street south of West Main Street, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located at the East side-walk by the Busey Bank Building and the parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Urbana IL 61801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Nat H. Cohen Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Busey's Hall/Princess Theater (within shouting distance of this marker); Tiernan's Block / Masonic Temple (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Urbana's Lincoln (about 600 feet away); The Eli Halberstadt House (about 700 feet away); Abraham Lincoln - Eighth Judicial District (about 800 feet away); Lindley House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Unitarian Universalist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Urbana.
 
Also see . . .
Wide View - - Lincoln & Photography Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Courtesy:: Trevor Searcy, May 23, 2010
3. Wide View - - Lincoln & Photography Marker
The "Champaign/Urbana Bike 'Grande Prix'" was in progress. .

1. "Every Known Photograph of Abraham Lincoln". YouTube slideshow, 7 min. (Submitted on May 24, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 

2. 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.) 

3. Looking for Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area website homepage:
Many resources for tracking Lincoln through History and Illinois, for all ages. (Submitted on May 24, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.) 
 
Additional commentary.
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.
 
Looking North - - Lincoln & Photography Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Courtesy:: Trevor Searcy, May 23, 2010
4. Looking North - - Lincoln & Photography Marker
Looking South - - Lincoln & Photography Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Courtesy:: Trevor Searcy, May 23, 2010
5. Looking South - - Lincoln & Photography Marker
Travel with Lincoln image. Click for more information.
Photographed By Larry Gertner
6. Travel with Lincoln
All the HMDb Lincoln Circuit Markers, and a few others, following Lincoln's travels while a member of the Circuit of the Eighth Judicial District from 1847 - 1857.
Climb into Lincoln’s 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) during 1847-1857. Use the “First >>” button in the upper right to see these markers in sequence, starting from Springfield.
(Submitted on May 24, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.)
Click for more information.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 24, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana. This page has been viewed 1,461 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 24, 2010, by Al Wolf of Veedersburg, Indiana.   6. submitted on June 3, 2021, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 24, 2024