For the Public

Project Placing Famous Lincoln Portrait in Illinois Courthouses Arrives in Madison County

Contact: 
Rhys Saunders
Media Manager
(217) 747-1433
rsaunders@isba.org
For Immediate Release: 
May 16, 2018

A high-quality reproduction of a famous Abraham Lincoln photograph will be presented to the Madison County Courthouse on Monday, May 21. The unveiling ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. on the first-floor lobby of the courthouse and 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.

The Madison County courthouse will also feature an array of Lincoln memorabilia and artifacts in display cases on the first floor from May 17-24 as part of a broader effort to highlight and inform the public about Lincoln and his legal career. 

“We are honored to place this historic portrait of Lincoln in the same site he once visited while campaigning for the U.S. Senate,” said David Hylla, chief judge of the 3rd Judicial Circuit and a member of the IJA. “Hesler’s photograph captures Lincoln on the cusp of his transition from trial lawyer to presidential candidate.”

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