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Lincoln photo coming to county courthouse

Sat, July 21, 2018 11:48 AM | Kevin Fagan (Administrator)

By Will Buss, Voice Correspondent
Posted Jul 21, 2018 at 10:18 AM


MACOMB — A reproduced photograph of Abraham Lincoln will be formally presented to the McDonough County Courthouse Friday afternoon in commemorating Illinois’ bicentennial celebration.
All 102 Illinois counties are receiving a copy of the photo reproduction of the Great Emancipator encased in a 30-by-40-inch stained wood frame. McDonough County Courthouse will unveil theirs at 2 p.m. Friday.
Ninth Circuit Court Judge William Poncin said the photographs were made possible by donations from the Illinois Judges Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Judges Foundation and the Illinois Bar Foundation.
The original photograph was taken by Alexander Hesler on June 3, 1860, during Lincoln’s presidential campaign and before the future president grew his trademark beard. Poncin said the state historical society owns the original glass-plate positives.
“Photography was relatively new at that time and this photo was taken, if I recall, just before Lincoln left Springfield,” Poncin said. “It was a very flattering likeness of Lincoln and it turned out to be very good photograph, considering the technology at the time.“
The official photograph presentation will be in Courtroom 201. Poncin said the photograph will be hung in the courthouse hallway on the second floor.
“The plan is to hang it on the floor of the courthouse in the hallway, where we think it will be most visible,” he said. “We thought the organizations that are doing this would want to recognize Lincoln the lawyer and that it should be on the floor where legal business is conducted in the courthouse. It will be in the middle of the hallway, and we have wall space that would work quite well.“
Two years before Lincoln sat for his photograph in Hesler’s studio, he visited Macomb, twice, during his campaign for the U.S. Senate in an election against incumbent Sen. Stephen Douglas. Lincoln’s first visit was on Aug. 25, 1858. He returned for a second time two months later on Oct. 25 of that year. Lincoln lost that election to Douglas, but defeated Douglas in the presidential election two years later, about five months before Hesler took his photograph.

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