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Author Topic: Lincoln Death Photo  (Read 25764 times)
Roger Norton
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« on: May 13, 2011, 10:36:27 AM »

A post Barry made under a different topic reminded me of something I've thought about posting before. Over the past 15 years I have received roughly 10 letters similar to the one I'm including here. All the people who have written me on this topic seem extremely sincere, but I draw a total blank whenever I've tried to research what they believe they saw. If anyone on the board knows anything regarding this I would love to know. Many thanks.



--------------------------------------------------------------

July 29, 2002


Dear Mr. Norton,

I'm 60 years old now.  When I was a teenager in high school (about 1957 or so)  I read an intriguing article about Abraham Lincoln's exumation in a medical journal in my father's medical office.  It contained a very clear photograph of Abraham Lincoln in a coffin - very close-up, staight-on, extremely clear full-face shot.  The caption or some adjacent text remarked how little physical deterioration was evident at the exhumation.  I was amazed at the clarity of the photo, which was printed in approximately 2" tall x 1.5" wide and showed Lincoln clearly lying in a coffin.

I've searched online for a copy of that photo - only to  read that no such picture exists.  So there is a bit of a mystery here.  If you research the popular medical journals that MD's subscribed to in the late 1950's, you should be able to find the picture I'm describing.  I'd recommend starting with Journal of the American Medical Association, c. 1954-60.  If you cannot find it in JAMA and there were any competiting monthly magazines or journals that were similarly thick (about 3/8 inch or so) they should be checked.

I suppose the photo I saw might be the one recently published in a book.  But that book photo was taken soon after the assasination - not at the 1901 exhumation.  What struck me about the photo in the my dad's medical journal, was that the text made it clear it was taken at the time of exumation.  I was shocked at that, not only because the photo looked so normal, but because the accompanying text was my first knowledge of his exhumation.

I just thought you might be interested.

Cheers,

(name deleted)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2011, 10:49:00 AM by Roger Norton » Logged
chuckciao
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2011, 09:04:03 AM »

A post Barry made under a different topic reminded me of something I've thought about posting before. Over the past 15 years I have received roughly 10 letters similar to the one I'm including here. All the people who have written me on this topic seem extremely sincere, but I draw a total blank whenever I've tried to research what they believe they saw. If anyone on the board knows anything regarding this I would love to know. Many thanks.



--------------------------------------------------------------

July 29, 2002


Dear Mr. Norton,

I'm 60 years old now.  When I was a teenager in high school (about 1957 or so)  I read an intriguing article about Abraham Lincoln's exumation in a medical journal in my father's medical office.  It contained a very clear photograph of Abraham Lincoln in a coffin - very close-up, staight-on, extremely clear full-face shot.  The caption or some adjacent text remarked how little physical deterioration was evident at the exhumation.  I was amazed at the clarity of the photo, which was printed in approximately 2" tall x 1.5" wide and showed Lincoln clearly lying in a coffin.

I've searched online for a copy of that photo - only to  read that no such picture exists.  So there is a bit of a mystery here.  If you research the popular medical journals that MD's subscribed to in the late 1950's, you should be able to find the picture I'm describing.  I'd recommend starting with Journal of the American Medical Association, c. 1954-60.  If you cannot find it in JAMA and there were any competiting monthly magazines or journals that were similarly thick (about 3/8 inch or so) they should be checked.

I suppose the photo I saw might be the one recently published in a book.  But that book photo was taken soon after the assasination - not at the 1901 exhumation.  What struck me about the photo in the my dad's medical journal, was that the text made it clear it was taken at the time of exumation.  I was shocked at that, not only because the photo looked so normal, but because the accompanying text was my first knowledge of his exhumation.

I just thought you might be interested.

Cheers,

(name deleted)
Roger,
Could the boy have been referring to the photo taken in the NY State House of AL lying in state in the coffin flanked by the two Millitary Officers??
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Roger Norton
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2011, 11:47:34 AM »

It's a mystery. All of the folks who have written mention the 1950's or 1960's. They are all convinced they saw something. I am including another e-mail, not written as formally as the one above.

The 1865 photo is not a "straight-on, extremely clear full-face shot" so I do not think it's a reference to that. The article by Dorothy Kunhardt in the February 15, 1963, edition of Life has no photos of Lincoln in an open coffin.

I just don't know what these folks think they saw.

----------------------------------------------------

Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2009 3:05 PM
Subject: photo of Lincoln in casket

I distinctly remember having seen an article with photos in either LOOK or LIFE magazine when I was a child (late 50s early 60s).  It had photos of Lincoln taken about 10 years after his death and mentioned the condition of a pair of gloves given to him by his wife. One photo clearly showed the head and beard and it still resembled him greatly. These must be somewhere. I don't think it was the 1901 opening. It was earlier. Other people remember it as well. It was most likely the Oct 1874 event and a Feb 1963 edition of Life according to one blogger. He said the photo page had been removed. I did find this but one lady said she saw the pics in the 50s.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2011, 12:01:15 PM by Roger Norton » Logged
Roger Norton
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« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2011, 05:17:00 AM »


So, this is real.

Are you 100% positive it was a photograph and not artwork made to look like a photograph? Or another kind of fake, like those in Twenty Days? I have been researching this issue for 15 years, and nothing like you describe has ever shown up. Please do your best to recall more information on that book. Maybe we can finally put closure to this mystery through your recollection.

I have Dorothy Cashman's booklet, and I just re-read it. There is absolutely no mention of any photo taken during the 1901 viewing.

Also, there's no mention of it in Dorothy Kunhardt's in-depth article on the viewing.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 06:36:39 AM by Roger Norton » Logged
Roger Norton
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2011, 07:25:36 AM »

Basically I will tell you the same thing I've been telling folks in e-mails since 1996. First of all I have learned that "new discoveries" are made, and anything is possible. However, in this particular case, I simply cannot believe a photo like this exists in a medical journal (as the one gentleman who wrote me said), a magazine, or a book. Due to the sensational nature of an exhumation photo, I feel copyright (if one existed) law would be totally ignored, and the photo would be on the Internet, in books, etc.

I own between 300 and 400 Lincoln books. The photo is in none of them.

I believe a photo like this, if it existed, would be more widespread than Dr. Rietveld's discovery from 1952.

It's possible you saw something like the one owned by _________. Several people on the forum will know whom I am talking about, but I refuse to put her name on this highly-respected forum where it will be given publicity, indexed by Google, etc.

There was a long-standing rumor that a picture of Lincoln's body was taken in Indianapolis, but that legend is based on a drawing by George Koch. And Dr. Houmes can tell you all about the Bachelder "photo."
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 07:33:38 AM by Roger Norton » Logged
Rob Wick
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2011, 07:30:29 AM »

Another aspect of this story. At the final exhumation, Robert Todd Lincoln left strict orders that the casket was not to be opened, which was ignored. However, had anyone snapped a photo, it would have gotten back to RTL who, ala Stanton, would likely have ordered any such photo destroyed. I agree with Roger that such a photo, if it existed, would have been well known to all.

Best
Rob
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Rob Wick
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« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2011, 08:22:33 AM »

I personally am not accusing anyone of anything. My only interest in this is to wonder how such a historically-valuable photo would appear once and then never again. That's all.

Best
Rob
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Dave Taylor
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« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2011, 10:46:04 AM »

Is it one of these?



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Roger Norton
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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2011, 07:12:49 AM »

It appears Dr. Modestino has removed his posts from this section. This makes the posts Rob Wick, Dave Taylor, and I made look like we were responding to no one.

We were sincerely responding to a question, and all we were doing was trying to be helpful. I do not understand the point of his deletions.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 07:17:48 AM by Roger Norton » Logged
Linda Anderson
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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2011, 07:54:19 AM »

Dr. Modestino also removed his remarks from the section Miscellaneous details regarding Powell's attack on Seward so my response to him that there is no need to shout look likes it came out of the blue. And Betty is saying, "Thanks, Ed, I see what you mean" to no one!

Perhaps he became uncomfortable with some of the remarks he made.
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Mark
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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2011, 08:33:11 AM »

I noticed it yesterday around 11:30.

(I suspect a conspiracy.)
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historynut1123
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 07:30:50 AM »

Yep, it's a conspiracy, man!!! Maybe he just had a foot in mouth moment, doesn't seem like a big deal, although it makes a thread read awkwardly.

Dave, I just get overwhelmed with emotion at those photos, thanks for putting them up. He looked so peaceful, like the dream he had earlier had come to pass, and he was okay with it, probably off with little Willie somewhere.  Cry
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 07:32:55 AM by historynut1123 » Logged

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Rob Wick
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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 09:30:47 AM »

historynut1123,

Those are all fakes submitted through the years as alleged photos of Lincoln. I imagine Dave was trying to find out if one of those was the picture which Dr. Modestino said he saw.

Best
Rob
« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 09:36:50 AM by Rob Wick » Logged

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Dave Taylor
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« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2011, 09:59:27 AM »

Rob is correct.  These are all fake images of Lincoln in death.  The article people have mentioned could have used one of these I would imagine.
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Mark
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« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2011, 10:01:17 AM »

The first thought when I saw the fake photos above was that Abe's comb-over looks alot like Jeff Davis'.
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