Press Releases

Project Placing Famous Lincoln Portrait in Illinois Courthouses Arrives in St. Clair County

Rhys Saunders
Media Manager
(217) 747-1433
For Immediate Release: 
May 10, 2018

A high-quality reproduction of a famous Abraham Lincoln photograph will be presented to the the St. Clair County Courthouse on Tuesday, May 15. The unveiling ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in the courthouse, 10 Public Square, Belleville. The event is open to the public.

The photograph was taken in Springfield by well-known photographer Alexander Hesler on June 3, 1860, for Lincoln’s 1860 presidential campaign. Historians consider Hesler’s portrait one of the best taken of Lincoln during his pre-presidential years.

The permanent installation is made possible by donations from the Illinois Judges Association (IJA), the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) and their respective foundations – the Illinois Judges Foundation and the Illinois Bar Foundation. Printed on canvas, the image of the beardless Lincoln is encased in a richly stained wood frame and measures 30-inches wide by 40-inches tall.

The four organizations are partnering with the Illinois State Historical Society (ISHS), which owns the glass-plate positives of the Hesler-Lincoln portrait. The ISHS is leading a statewide campaign to place a framed copy in a courthouse in each of Illinois’ 102 counties in commemoration of the state’s bicentennial this year.

“In this portrait, Lincoln comes to life before our eyes,” said Andrew Gleeson, chief judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit. “In honor of the state’s bicentennial, it is particularly fitting that we have found a home for it here, in the courthouse of Illinois’ oldest county.”

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