The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on May 30, 1922, when former president William Howard Taft presented the finished structure to sitting President Warren G. Harding and the American people. More than 50,000 guests were on hand for the ceremony, among them a row of Union and Confederate veterans.
The history of the Lincoln Memorial goes back to 1901, just 36 years after the 16th president's assassination. That year four of America's leading artists came to Washington to recommend ways to beautify and dignify the national capital. After all, the Spanish-American War had confirmed the U.S. as one of the world's great powers; it needed a national capital whose grandeur reflected its new international standing.
Photos and text © Gleaves Whitney 2004