UNITED STATES
CIRCA 1865

REPRESENTATION:
A portrait of President Abraham Lincoln.

REALITY:
This print is a composite; the head of Abraham Lincoln is  superimposed on the figure and background of an 1852 print of John C. Calhoun by A.H. Ritchie. Some believe this print was made because there were not enough “heroic-style” portraits of Lincoln made during his life. In the Calhoun image, the papers on the table say “strict constitution,” “free trade,” and “the sovereignty of the states.” In the Lincoln image, these words have been changed to read, “constitution,” “union,” and “proclamation of freedom.” 

This print was mistakenly identified as a photo in the 1980s, and has continued to be reproduced with this incorrect identification. The print is a hand-drawn engraving based on photographs.


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Photo courtesy of Library of Congress