New Lincoln Death Photos

After President Lincoln died, there was a huge demand for photos of him lying in his casket. However, the army didn't allow any photos to be taken. As a result, a lot of fake Lincoln death photos appeared. I've posted about this before, and I have an example of a fake Lincoln death photo in the Hoax Photo Database.

Mary Curtis just sent me an old newspaper clipping describing some Lincoln death photos owned by her grandmother. Unfortunately, no one knows where the photos are now. According to the clipping, she kept them "in a bank vault in a nearby town."

Actually, reading over the clipping, it's not clear to me whether Mary's grandmother owned photographs or "mourning pictures" (i.e. drawings). The first picture, showing Mrs. Lincoln kneeling before her husband, who is surrounded by his cabinet members, is clearly an illustration, not a photograph.

The second picture seems to be a photograph. The caption says that it shows Mrs. Lincoln standing in front of her husband's coffin. But is that really Mrs. Lincoln? And is she in front of a coffin? It's hard to tell from the quality of this copy.

A third picture is partially visible in the news clipping, but the clipping offers no details about it.

Death Photos

Posted on Wed Apr 08, 2009


umm,,,Alex,,,where's the hoax? You've posted this before.
Posted by Canadarm  on  Wed Apr 08, 2009  at  08:30 PM
That last photo doesn't look even remotely like Mary Todd Lincoln.

Mundus vult decipi. [shrug]
Posted by Tanuki  on  Thu Apr 09, 2009  at  09:15 AM
That looks like Lincoln lying ill. I don't see a coffin.
Posted by Callaway X22 Irons  in  Jacksonville  on  Thu Apr 09, 2009  at  12:04 PM
There's no coffin because Lincoln isn't dead yet -- this lithograph (not photograph!) is one of the popular death bed scenes mass-produced at the time (some in colour, all to at least some degree fanciful). No photographs were taken in that room until after Lincoln died, and even then it was only of the bed, with the bloody pillow and bedding still upon it.

The people shown were (I think) all in the room that night, but there was not nearly enough space for all of them at the same time, let alone all of them plus a photographer. (It's a pretty small room.) Besides, Mary Lincoln would have had a major fit the moment the flash went off -- trust me, we'd have known about it from all the stories if this had happened.

The woman in the death-bed picture is definitely Mary Todd Lincoln. But it's not a photograph -- at most, it's a photograph of a lithograph.
Posted by Tanuki  on  Thu Apr 09, 2009  at  01:33 PM
The lithograph showing all the people in the bedroom of Lincoln at the time of his death is a fabrication, taken directly from the original etching created in 1861, showing Lincoln's council members working at a desk in his bedroom, which Lincoln often used used as his war room. To create the deathbed image, they simply removed the desk, with all its papers and various accoutrements, and then inserted a fabricated image of the Prez laid out in his deathbed. You can see the original image at the following website (scroll to the bottom of the page):

Interestingly enough, the etching you will see there that directly follows this original etching being discussed here, was another image used to create a fake photo of the President and his council members. In that fabrication, we have well-known photographer, Mathew Brady, actually cannibalizing images from his own original portraits, then joining them together in the same format seen in the etching, seamlessly joining them (or close enough)through the use of some quality lithographic techniques. This fabricated image was then sold to the public as a true photograph of the men under the auspices of his "Mathew Brady Studios."
Posted by Linda  on  Sat Aug 29, 2009  at  04:48 AM
where do you see the death pictures of lincon????????????????? I don't see them
Posted by Alex  in  PA  on  Mon Feb 01, 2010  at  11:34 AM
Posted by momo  in  smithfield pa  on  Mon Feb 01, 2010  at  11:36 AM
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