Mar 10, 2020 - Sale 2533

Sale 2533 - Lot 136

Price Realized: $ 6,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
"JUST AS HIS OLD FRIENDS REMEMBER HIM" (LINCOLN, ABRAHAM.) Fassett, Samuel M. Early portrait of Lincoln from a few months before his presidential campaign. Salted paper print, 7 1/4 x 5 1/4 oval, unmounted; moderate foxing, no markings other than a light manuscript "15" on verso. [Chicago, 4 October 1859]

Additional Details

This photograph was taken at the Cooke & Fassett Gallery while Lincoln was passing through Chicago, following a brief speaking tour of Wisconsin. His unsuccessful 1858 run for a Senate seat and its Lincoln-Douglas debates had won him some national recognition as an up-and-coming Republican. However, the Cooper Union speech in New York which made him a serious candidate for the presidency was still a few months away. In short, he was at this time a promising state politician with modest credentials.
Shortly after Lincoln's death, Fassett's business partner D.B. Cooke wrote the photographer: "Little thought we in October 1859, when, at my solicitation, Abraham Lincoln visited with me your gallery, for the purpose of sitting for his photograph, what a value five years would give to the picture! Mrs. Lincoln pronounced this the best likeness she had ever seen of her husband. It shows him as he was, previous to his first nomination, and just as his old friends remember him. Consequently no recent picture can be so valuable to many; and the public ought to be truly grateful that you have preserved the negative with such care. There are so many caricatures of Mr. Lincoln in circulation that a reliable portrait is invaluable, and should adorn every house in the land" (quoted in The Every-Day Life of Abraham Lincoln, page 135). The negative was destroyed in the 1871 Chicago fire. Lincoln Day by Day, page 262; Ostendorf O-16 and page 30.