cover of book

The Lincoln Family Album
by Mark E. Neely and Harold Holzer
Southern Illinois University Press, 2006
Paper: 978-0-8093-2713-3
Library of Congress Classification E457.25.L55N45 2006
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.70922


Chronicling the private lives of the Lincolns through their personal photographic collection

The Lincoln Family Album offers a rare and revealing glimpse into the private life of Abraham Lincoln and the first family. Showcasing original and previously unpublished photographs collected and preserved by Mary Todd Lincoln and four generations of descendants, the volume includes pictures displayed in a family album when the Lincolns lived in the White House. Chronicled are the lives of the Lincolns’ three sons, including the tragic death of Willie in 1862, the rapid change of Tad during the war, and Robert’s marriage, children, and political career. Soldiers and statesmen of the Civil War, period figures such as Tom Thumb and Henry Ward Beecher, and even the family dog also graced the album that became the nucleus of the Lincolns’ personal collection.

This updated edition, which provides both additional pictures and new introductory materials by renowned Lincoln scholars Mark E. Neely Jr. and Harold Holzer, paints a portrait of the Lincolns’ rise to prominence and the exclusion of poorer relations after the family moved to the nation’s capital. With 150 illustrations and detailed captions, this authoritative and enlightening nineteenth-century history also includes capsule biographies of the Lincolns’ friends and relatives.

In such images as the First Lady in mourning or the assassin John Wilkes Booth, the pictures cannot disguise the painful truth about a family that suffered as many tragedies as triumphs. Willie’s death at the age of eleven abruptly ended Mary and Abraham’s personal collecting, but Lincoln descendants continued the tradition. The last pages of The Lincoln Family Album conclude with the death of Robert Lincoln’s last grandchild, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, in 1985, ending the direct line of Abraham and Mary Lincoln.

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