The Lincoln Museum
Fort Wayne, IN
Originally a private collection of memorabilia owned by the Lincoln National Life Insurance Company, the Lincoln Museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is now one of the largest museums in the world devoted to the life and times of Abraham Lincoln. It includes permanent and temporary exhibits, a research library holding nearly 18,000 published volumes and thousands of manuscripts, and the largest museum store in northern Indiana.
Photos and text © Brian Flanagan 2005
A temporary exhibit at the Lincoln Museum shows how Lincoln and image-making became popular together. Engravings and lithographs of Lincoln were widely published and displayed during his presidential campaign and his time in office.
This image is the earliest mass-produced picture of Lincoln, and it was printed for the 1860 Chicago convention.
In the 1964 presidential election Lincoln faced his former general George McClellan. This cartoonist managed to mock both candidates in the same image.
Famously indecisive as commanding officer of the army of the Potomac, McClellan is portrayed as Hamlet -- whose fatal flaw inaction cost him his life -- and Lincoln as Yorick, an old jester.
The Lincoln Museum is currently host to a collection of Lincoln portraits by Wendy Allen, An Increased Devotion: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln.
The night before his assassination, Lincoln claimed to have a dream that had recurred several times in his life -- always before "some important event or disaster." Secretary of State William Seward's son later recalled, "Mr. Lincoln remarked that a peculiar dream of the previous night... -- a vague sense of floating -- floating away on some vast and indistinct expanse, toward an unknown shore."
Lincoln's assassination was part of a wider plot planned by John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators. In addition to Booth's act, his henchmen planned to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. While the plan to assassinate the vice president was never carried out, Seward was attacked at his home. Four conspirators were hung for their crimes, and Booth was shot to death by an officer who discovered him nearly two weeks after Lincoln's assassination.