Abraham Lincoln Signed Carte-de-Visite Photo by Matthew Brady, of Which Lincoln Said “I Look Most Like That One.”
Of this partially opaque vignette portrait made from one of the five Matthew Brady photographs taken in Washington on January 8, 1864, Lincoln said: “I don’t know that I have any favorite portrait of myself; but I have thought that if I looked like any of the likenesses of me that have been taken, I look most like that one.”
Before television, before radio, before even, the daily use of photography itself, Lincoln realized the political importance of his image: a Western Everyman, rawboned, striking but unhandsome, and instantly recognizable. Lincoln sat for his photo some forty times, and his unmistakable visage graced thousands upon thousands of carte-de-visites – 4 by 2 ½ inch trade cards on which a 3 ½ by 2 ¼ inch image was affixed – like the one he signed for an admirer, here.
Signed Photo (“A. Lincoln”), being a carte-de-visite by Matthew Brady, Washington D.C., January 8, 1864. Hamilton & Ostendorf, O-87A