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Lincoln in June, 1860—two months after Volk made the life mask Gilder, whose poem opposite was inspired by the mask, was always particulary attracted to it, and kept a copy of it in his editorial sanctum at the Century Magazine offices.

In 1860, Lincoln had been a national figure only two years, since his campaign against Stephen A. Douglas for the Senate in Illinois. Indeed, his name meant little in the East till the early months of this very year. In February, he had appeared before a New York audience at Cooper Union to explain the purposes of the recently organized Republican party. The larger part of those present expected something ‘wild and woolly’—certainly nothing of much moment for the cultivated citizens of the East. When they saw the gaunt figure, six feet four inches tall, the large feet and clumsy hands, the jutting eyebrows and small blue eyes, the narrow forehead surmounted by the shock of unkempt hair—in a word, the man of the photograph on this page—the audience put him down for anything but a statesman. But he had not spoken long before it was plain that here stood a leader of the people indeed. The speech shaped the presidential campaign of that year. It resulted in giving Lincoln the Republican nomination at Chicago on May 16th, about a month before this photograph was made. When the ballot-boxes were opened on the first Tuesday of the following November, it was found that Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. That meant war—and eventual Union of the warring elements.


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