[Abraham Lincoln, Congressman-elect from Illinois. Three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing front] (LOC)

Shepherd, Nicholas H., photographer.


[Abraham Lincoln, Congressman-elect from Illinois. Three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing front]


[Springfield, Ill., 1846 or 1847]


1 photograph : quarter plate daguerreotype ; plate 4 1/4 x 3 1/4 in.



This daguerreotype is the earliest-known photograph of Abraham Lincoln, taken at age 37 when he was a frontier lawyer in Springfield and Congressman-elect from Illinois. (Source: Ostendorf, p. 4)


Attributed to Nicholas H. Shepherd, based on the recollections of Gibson W. Harris, a law student in Lincoln's office from 1845 to 1847. (Source: Gibson William Harris, "My Recollections of Abraham Lincoln," Women's Home Companion (November 1903), 9-11.) Robert Lincoln, son of the President, thought the photo was made in either St. Louis or Washington during his father's term in Congress.


Published in: Lincoln's photographs: a complete album / by Lloyd Ostendorf. Dayton, OH: Rockywood Press, 1998, p. 4-5.


Title devised by Library staff.

Gift; Mary Lincoln Isham; 1937.

Forms part of: Daguerreotype collection (Library of Congress).



Lincoln, Abraham--1809-1865.


Format: Portrait photographs--1840-1850.



Rights Info: No known restrictions on publication.


Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print


Part Of: Daguerreotype collection (Library of Congress) (DLC) 95861318


Persistent URL: hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3g02439


Call Number: DAG no. 1224

  • Michael Popowski 6y

    It is the times that create the man!
  • staciex 6y

    Anyone who is looking at a 200 year old image of anything and not appreciating that fact alone is on the wrong website. We are photographers here. We're sharing our eyes to the world with everyone so that they might have a larger understanding, a moment of inspiration, a connection, or a rejection. But, even if it is a rejection, this community is generally supportive, constructive, or silent. We're photographers here - not politicians. Can you imagine if you posted a photograph that anyone would care at all about in 200 years, regardless of subject matter? Politics don't belong here.
  • mesmerical 6y

    It is an amazing photograph. But it wasn't taken back in 1847 as a celebration of photography, nor is it shared here as such. It was significant then as it is significant now: as a piece of material history, specifically important because of the subject.

    I have discovered in the last four years here that flickr is not merely a place to discuss photography. Many of us also routinely discuss issues or feelings that are inspired by the photographs we see posted. Taking part in those discussions is completely voluntary.

    In this case, the discussion was prompted by an image of a politician; it was absolutely topical. And I disagree -- we are all politicians, or so Solon intended: we live in a democracy, where it is our right (some might say our responsibility) to actively discuss our political beliefs. One needn't take advantage of that freedom, or fulfill that responsibility, but I don't think it is appropriate to tell others to refrain from such interaction.
  • hobvias sudoneighm 6y

    "We're photographers here - not politicians."

    you don't know who flickr is for and who it isn't for. you've made an assumption that it it is a website devoted *solely* to photographic art, and are wrong.

    "Politics don't belong here."

    of course they do, and you just shared yours very plainly with us.
  • staciex 6y

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I think it is just wishful thinking on my part. :)
  • mesmerical 6y

    If you mean you wish flickr comment threads were only ever about the art and science of photography, then you are in luck: when you see a series of comments that seem to diverge from that course, you are only one click away from relief.
  • staciex 6y

    I actually love politics and discussing them. I don't expect people to agree and I do appreciate the art of debate. After I thought more about it the comments in the boxes all over the photo are what set me off. I took it as very intrusive and interfering with the photo. I am fascinated with the artifact itself, and the politics were distracting. I don't know if it's my browser but I can't get the note boxes to go away. In any case, my comments were spur of the moment and how I felt at the time. My appreciation for your thoughtful comments (and striatic's) is sincere.
  • Cassies grandma 6y

    Look at the larger pictures to get rid of the comments.
  • Richard Taylor-Kenny 6y

    I'm not sure this is a photo of Lincoln. (See notes) The position of the growth on his face and the bridge and curvature of the nose are inconsistent with other photo in this set.
  • hobvias sudoneighm 6y

    I Make Shades - you're confusing different marks. the "lower" mark on the cheek is here too, just obscured by a scratch.

    he's much younger here, and was said to have aged very rapidly, especially after becoming president, so it isn't surprising that his younger face would look different than his older face.
  • ecaraway 6y

    This picture is very unique simply because in every picture we have all seen since grade school, we have seen Lincoln with a beard. This "other" Lincoln in the photo is a much different person than you see on the penny and five dollar bill. He looks much less weathered.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) 6y

    Striatic, Julia, and PopKulture --- Thank you for your most interesting exchange of comments. That was some of the best "flickr reading" I've had in a while.

    Has anyone here mentioned that straight Dag images are reversed ? Folks looking for moles, lumps, and other facial features seen on one side of Lincoln's face in the flat prints and stereoviews we are accustomed to looking at will not appear in those places in a standard Daguerreotype --- they will be on the other side.
  • James Morley 6y

    Hi, I hope it's OK, I have featured this image in a discussion aimed at trying to find the oldest photographs on Flickr - see www.flickr.com/groups/150-years-old/discuss/7215761992735...
  • James Morley 6y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called 150 Years Old, and we'd love to have this added to the group, plaus any other images taken in 1859 or earlier!

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called FLICKR PARA LA HISTORIA , and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • J.D. Rose 5y

    He saved the Union. An absolute American hero!
  • grahamb211 5y

    This is a great picture set, it really gives viewers a glimpse of what Abraham really looks like-- the penny doesn't do him a whole lot of justice. I love the framing, and the genuine glass gives such an authentic feel, I'm glad no one reframed it.
  • BINSMOBILE :)) 5y

    we have to thank this man
  • ronghualu 5y

    yah, interesting photo, as a photo.

    Anybody must be judged by his words and actions. Lincoln's actions were to create a civil war, to continue subjugation and theft of wealth. He effected this by blatantly contravening the constitution, and by so doing set the precedence for the mess we have today. His words and speeches are many, but I find his pre-presidency stage to be most revealing. To anyone who thinks Lincoln was an advocate of freedom and equality, well pls read this quote....

    "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race." ― U.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln, 1858.

    Isn't history interesting?
  • Pierre Ntekwa Don-Lomingo 5y

    These are people that shouldn't be forgotten in the American History.
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Taken sometime in 1846
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