Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States, and is generally regarded by history as an extraordinary leader and a man of character.
It is undoubtedly his upbringing and his steadfast convictions that led him to politics. He read voraciously, studied law on his own, and successfully started his own law practice after winning his first election for the state legislature. He was as remarkable arguing his cases as he was in office.
His dedication to service, boldness, and audacity showed him to be immensely popular and helped him gain the reputation of one of the best presidents the U.S. has ever had.
We’re taking a look at 14 rare photos of Honest Abe and his family that paint an intimate picture of the legendary president. The last photo in the slideshow is one you’ve likely never seen — the only known shot of Lincoln’s last moments!
14. Solemn Portrait
There are a few interesting aspects of this amazing photo of the former Pres. Taken in 1859, it really captures his solemn, thoughtful personality and though the photograph is so old, it looks like Lincoln is staring right at you through his deeply set eyes, doesn’t it? This photo also shows off what large ears he had.
13. Messy Hair
This sepia photograph is a great one for a few reasons. Not only can you distinctly see Lincoln’s unique features since the photograph is so clear, but take a look at that disheveled hairstyle he’s got going on! Perhaps it was just a windy day outside the old cabin?
12. A Force To Be Reckoned With
Lincoln was known for having quite a presence. He was six foot four inches tall and had very large features, including above average sized ears, nose, and feet. In this photo, you can see how big his hands were. Evidently, he was a very strong, competitive guy and was a talented ax-wielder.
11. A Parade at Lincoln’s Home
Here is a photo depicting a large parade outside Lincoln’s home in Springfield, Illinois. It is quite interesting to see small pieces of everyday life back in the mid-eighteen hundreds. The parade and the huge crowd of people gathered surrounded Lincoln’s home after a political rally on August 8, 1960.
10. First Lady
Here is the lovely Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady of the United States. Though Lincoln had a couple other close engagements, he and Mary hit it off. Interestingly, they met in December 1839 and planned to get married in January of 1841 but they broke off their engagement. Some time later, the two met again at a party and in November 1842 the couple finally married.
9. Robert Todd Lincoln
This is a photo of Lincoln’s eldest son, Robert Todd. He looks like he took after his father and was a tall young man, his hat on the table next to him only served to make him look even taller. Though Lincoln had such distinctive features, his sons seemed to take after their mother’s softer ones.
8. Willie Lincoln
This cute little guy is one of Lincoln’s middle children. After Robert, Mary gave birth to Edward Baker in 1846, though he died only four years later from tuberculosis. Their third son, Willie, was born in 1850. Sadly, Willie caught typhoid fever while the Lincolns were in the White House and passed away when he was 12.
7. Tad Lincoln
This little one is Mary Todd and Abraham’s fourth son, Thomas “Tad” Lincoln. He was born in 1853 and was very close to his father. Lincoln took Tad everywhere he went, including some wartime missions. Unfortunately, Tad died of heart failure at the tender age of 18. Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert, was the only child to grow to adulthood and have children.
6. Abe’s Fave
This photo was taken in 1858 and though Lincoln often commented that his appearance was “homely” this was one of his favorites. He chose this photo to send to his stepmother and would often use copies of the image to sign and hand out to visitors. This was the photo he chose for his campaigns as well.
5. Laughing Lincoln
This photo comes with a great back story. The photographer didn’t like the coat Lincoln had come in with to sit for the photograph, so instead of sending him back home, he offered to switch coats with the President. The man was very short compared to Lincoln and Lincoln’s coat was huge on his small frame, causing Lincoln to laugh heartily. Though this photo seems solemn, Lincoln’s mouth is turned up slightly betraying the laughter underneath.
4. Tall Glass Of Water
This rare photo really helps illustrate how great in size Lincoln was, though he was quite slim in build. Here he is standing between Allan Pinkerton (left) and, one of his close friends, General John McClernand (right). This was taken when Lincoln visited the U.S. Secret Service headquarters at Antietam on October 3, 1862.
3. Like Father, Like Son
This is a heartwarming photo and may be one of the most casual that exist of the former President. Lincoln is sitting in a laid-back fashion with his legs crossed as his young son, Tad, mirrors his casual demeanor. Lincoln’s face is bright and smiling, which is quite rare to see, while his precious son leans on the table towards his pop.
2. Preparing For His Life Mask
Here Lincoln sports a short, spiky hairstyle that is not like any of his other photographs. This is probably because he had an appointment with artist Clark Mills, to have a life mask made. This is a process where his face is cast in plaster to create a living portrait. It can be quite messy so Lincoln took precaution to have his long hair trimmed.
1. Lincoln’s Funeral
This is an extremely rare photo that was only discovered many years after the event by a 14-year-old boy who had some sharp eyes. He saw the old photo in a book during a tour, noticed that it was Lincoln in the coffin, and pointed it out to the employees. This is the only photograph of Lincoln before his burial. Though Mary Todd was strict about not having cameras present, someone evidently snuck a photo.
Abraham Lincoln lived a full and exciting life. He undoubtedly loved his family and treasured his time with them, but he also took his career seriously seeing it as an opportunity to help others. Sadly, the fateful day came when Lincoln and Mary Todd went to the theater to enjoy the show, Our American Cousin.
Lincoln passed away early the next morning with family and friends by his side and though it has been over a hundred and fifty years since his passing, he is still considered one of the most honorable men to ever lead the American people.
If this resonated with you, please let us know. Or if there’s something we missed, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!