Digital Repository

Abraham Lincoln, 1861

Abraham Lincoln ascribed his successful nomination and election in 1860 to the mass distribution of a carte-de-visite portrait of himself. Carte de visites were small-scale and inexpensive, which allowed them to be easily traded by photography enthusiasts and the general public. Photographs, Lincoln realized, helped voters feel personally connected with him, and thereby more inclined to support him. Alexander Gardner took this portrait shortly after Lincoln’s election to the presidency.

Abraham Lincoln, 1861. Albumen silver print by Alexander Gardner. P1992.1, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.