09 February 2009
Is this the earliest photograph of Abraham Lincoln?
In his March 26, 1843 letter to Martin M. Morris, Lincoln provided a word description of how he, Lincoln, appeared to voters who knew nothing of his background. “It would astonish if not amuse, the older citizens to learn that I (a stranger, friendless, uneducated, penniless boy, working on a flatboat at ten dollars per month) have been put down here as the candidate of pride, wealth, and aristocratic family distinction."
In 1977 Albert Kaplan purchased the daguerreotype (top) entitled "Portrait of a Young Man" from an art gallery in New York. Discussion as to the likelihood that the young man in the photo is Abraham Lincoln is at this link.
For comparison, the earliest proven photo (daguerreotype) of Lincoln, given by Robert Todd Lincoln to the Library of Congress, is the lower of the two embedded images.