The Last Portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the right man for the right time in US history. He preserved his country’s Union through brutal civil war. By 1865, there was reason for hope to the end of conflict. In February of that year, he sat for what would be his last formal portrait.

During processing, the glass plate broke and Alexander Gardner – the photographer – made one print before discarding the negative.

This last image of Lincoln alive is paired with two quotes of his, showing that he never lost hope for his country’s dreams and ambitions in spite of the staggering loss of life – including his – that the American Civil War demanded.


The Last Photograph of Lincoln from Life

The Last Photograph of Lincoln from Life, February 1865
Alexander Gardner
LC-USZ62-8812 (digital file from b&w film copy neg)
Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA


Archival Photo Restoration by Scott Dutton

Before and After. With highlights blown out and shadows filling in, some work was put in to restore detail to the highlights through contrast manipulation. After that, the usual retouching for dirt and scratches, and the repair to the crack in the original glass negative.

Archival Photo Restoration by Scott Dutton

A close-up showing the recovered detail.


Last Photo of Lincoln 23x35 Poster

The 23"×35" poster.


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