Mr. Lincoln Sits for His Portrait: The Story of a Photograph that Became an American Icon

By Leonard S. Marcus

Hardcover edition

Publisher Macmillan Imprint Farrar, Straus & Giroux ISBN


Mr. Lincoln Sits for His Portrait: The Story of a Photograph that Became an American Icon

In stock


Social Issue: Slavery in Historical Context,Violence: Death,Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War

A unique middle-grade biography of America’s sixteenth president, through the lens of one famous photograph.

On February 9, 1864, Abraham Lincoln made the mile-long walk from the Executive Mansion to photographer Mathew Brady’s Washington, DC, studio, to be joined there later by his ten-year-old son, Tad. With a fractious reelection campaign looming that year, America's first media-savvy president was intent on securing another portrait that cast him in a favorable light, as he prepared to make the case for himself to a nation weary of war. In the studio it proved to be a red-letter day. In addition to the image that later found its way onto the penny—and a pair of photos adapted for the old and new five-dollar bills—the Brady studio’s chief photographer, Anthony Berger, produced a dual portrait of Lincoln and Tad. The pose, featuring Lincoln reading to his son, was a last-minute improvisation, but the image that came of it was—and remains—incomparably tender and enduringly powerful. Immediately after the president's murder, it became a mass-produced icon—a cherished portrait of a nation’s fallen hero, a disarmingly intimate record of a careworn father’s feeling for his child, a timeless comment on books as a binding force between generations. Illustrated with archival photos and related material, here is a fascinating depiction of a peerless leader, and a memorable account of the making of an image the world has come to prize.

Bibliography. Notes. Index. Black-and-white photographs and reproductions. Full-color photo insert. 
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Nonfiction Middle Grades 5-8)

Nonfiction Middle

Nonfiction Middle Grades 5-8)

For Grades 5-8

Knowledge is power, and no other category speaks to this more. The 12 books in this category range from autobiographies to anthropological studies, these nonfiction titles are just right for middle-school readers . . . and ideal for research and classroom support, too.

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Biographies, Diversity, History, Nonfiction, Science/STEAM

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