• Lincoln is here
  • perhaps these folks looking directly at the camera knew the photographer? there's also a strange "ghost" of a woman in between them in a place that seems impossible due to perspective... - e e h
  • the ghostly woman mentioned was probably just passing through. looks like the camera just had a very long exposure based on the way the flag is showing up - Rob LaPlaca
  • the ghost are most likely blurs from a long exposure time, people must have moved while it was open. - openlens1
  • Looks like someone is in this tree??? - bob4ta
  • John Wilkes Booth is somewhere in the crowd. - Logan Robertson
  • What are these statues? These aren't here today. - Logan Robertson

Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, March 4, 1861 (LOC)

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Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, March 4, 1861

[Washington, D.C., 1861]

1 photographic print : salted paper ; 33 x 36 cm.

Photograph shows participants and crowd at the first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, at the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C. Lincoln is standing under the wood canopy, at the front, midway between the left and center posts. His face is in shadow but the white shirt front is visible. (Source: Ostendorf, p. 87)

"A distant photograph from a special platform by an unknown photographer, in front of the Capitol, Washington, D.C., afternoon of March 4, 1861. 'A small camera was directly in front of Mr. Lincoln,' reported a newspaper, 'another at a distance of a hundred yards, and a third of huge dimensions on the right ... The three photographers present had plenty of time to take pictures, yet only the distant views have survived." (Source: Ostendorf, p. 86-87)

Published in: Lincoln's photographs: a complete album / by Lloyd Ostendorf. Dayton, OH: Rockywood Press, 1998, p. 86-87.

Title from item.
In album: Benjamin Brown French "Photographs," p. 59.

Lincoln, Abraham--1809-1865--Inauguration, 1861.
Crowds--Washington (D.C.)--1860-1870.
Presidential inaugurations--Washington (D.C.)--1860-1870.

Format: Salted paper prints--1860-1870.

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

Persistent URL: hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppmsca.07636

Call Number: LOT 12251, p. 59

Barry Wynn, daimoneklund, and 95 other people added this photo to their favorites.

  1. Cassies grandma 85 months ago | reply

    Interesting that most of the crowd appears to be men.

  2. daimoneklund 85 months ago | reply

    They are on the East side of the Capitol building, the opposite side presidents now use for inaugurations. This side faces the Library of Congress, Supreme Court and residential Capitol Hill.

  3. ladonnahib 85 months ago | reply


  4. ISO1977 85 months ago | reply

    fascinating that the Dome was not even completed and the nation was splitting apart.

  5. Lidia Camacho 85 months ago | reply

    so happy to be able to enjoy this picture!

  6. Daniel E Bruce 85 months ago | reply

    I love history! and I'm thankful that we have pictures of the past from which this country was founded. I feel for America as a nation where we are going to be in the next 100 years. Thanks for taking me back in time, to one of my personal favorite presidents, I learned about during my school years.

  7. fw652830 85 months ago | reply

    For all my brief lifetime, i have always been honored to have been born on Lincoln's birthday. I feel as if I am a small part of a great historical figure, whose memory will live forever, as long as there is a United states of America. R.I.P. Father Abraham!

  8. NuNu ツ 85 months ago | reply

    Very interesting!

    Thanks for showing!

  9. ladonnahib 85 months ago | reply

    I'm happy 4/ U get these comment's now ! #1 !!!!!

  10. BeccaNelson 85 months ago | reply

    I am reading a book on Lincoln right now. Fascinating.

    Are those people in the trees??

  11. dneverinaldo 85 months ago | reply

    another great one (((thank you so very much for posting all your wonderful photos))))on American History

  12. AbracaDebra 85 months ago | reply

    Thank you for sharing!

  13. falconn67 85 months ago | reply

    Interesting shot. Its too bad the picture from his second inauguration was not included in the set as that picture includes both Lincoln and his assassin. That picture is about half way down this page:

  14. Rob LaPlaca 85 months ago | reply

    look at all those top hats

  15. cj2020nz 85 months ago | reply

    What?? no gigapixel shot?? eheheh..
    amazing picture tho..

  16. budderflyman 84 months ago | reply

    The reason there are mostly men in the photo is that mostly men worked in Washington. Secretaries in Washington were men. Don't forget, women did not have the right to vote back then. Women stayed home for the most part and took care of the family. Fixing meals and washing and mending clothing by HAND was quite a chore. There was no sitting around fiddling on the computer or watching the tube. If you were a woman out and about by yourself in the city, you probably would have been considered a "hussy" by most people. It was a hard life being a woman in the 1860s unless you happened to live in a wealthy family that had servants.

  17. rvuong37 82 months ago | reply

    powerful photo

  18. davidm16 58 months ago | reply

    What kind of sound system were they using back then :-) Seriously, how did anyone hear what was being said?

  19. Susan Barsy 37 months ago | reply

    I used this image as an illustration for an article I wrote regarding the evolution of photography around the time of Lincoln's inaugurations.


    Thank you for making it available.
    Susan Barsy, PhD

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