Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln!

James M. Cornelius
Curator of the Lincoln Collection
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

Story first saw Lincoln when the President-elect walked into the photographic studio of Mathew Brady in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, 24 February 1861. Lincoln had arrived by train from Illinois the previous day, had gone to church in a new suit with William H. Seward on Sunday morning, and then went to have his portrait taken. Story, who rented a room in Brady‘s studio, helped to pose Lincoln and then sat by to make pencil sketches while Brady‘s chief opera-tor, Alexander Gardner, took five photographs. Story next sat by the working President in the Executive Mansion on June 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 1861, to finish out his treatment. Though Lincoln had sat for at least ten portraits in Springfield before boarding the train for the east, Story was able to create one of the first oil paintings of Lincoln with a beard.

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