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KIMMEL, Christopher & FORSTER, Thomas (f. 1864-1865) after Henry & William Voight. Columbia’s Noblest Sons. New York: Manson Lang, 1865.

KIMMEL, Christopher & FORSTER, Thomas (f. 1864-1865) after Henry & William Voight. Columbia’s Noblest Sons. New York: Manson Lang, 1865.

425.00

Single sheet, (19 x 24 inches). Fine lithographed print featuring portraits of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln (marginal spotting, not affecting the image).

$425.00

First edition. A striking double portrait of Washington and Lincoln with symbolic imagery and iconic scenes from their two presidencies. Columbia, the allegorical female figure who personifies liberty, stands between the two portraits, crowning each of the figures with laurel. To the left of Washington are vignettes of the Boston Tea Party, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and his inauguration. To the right of Lincoln are vignettes of the Battle of Fort Sumter, an encounter between an ironclad and two wooden ships (entitled “Progress”), and Lincoln’s triumphant arrival at Richmond. Below each portrait is the corresponding president’s signature document: the Declaration of Independence for Washington, and the Emancipation Proclamation for Lincoln. “The meaning was unmistakable: the birth of freedom in America under Washington in 1776 and the ‘new birth of freedom’ on January 1, 1863, were of equal importance” (Holzer, Boritt, and Neely p. 197). It is clear that the artist is intending to draw a comparison between the first and the sixteenth presidents, soon after Lincoln’s assassination. In the wake of his death, Lincoln was quickly cast as a martyr, and his mythic status grew; however, comparisons between Lincoln and Washington could be found as early as 1860. George S. Boutwell, a Civil War congressman from Massachusetts who went on to become Secretary of the Treasury under Ulysses S. Grant, wrote, “I venture to claim for Abraham Lincoln the place next to George Washington” (Rice, p. 107). In his memoir, which was published in the 1880s, Boutwell proclaimed, “Between Washington and Lincoln there were two full generations of men, but of them all, I see not one who can be compared with the other” (Rice, pp. 616-617).

Harold Holzer, “‘Columbia’s Noblest Sons’: Washington and Lincoln in Popular Prints,” in Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, vol. 15, no. 1 (Winter, 1994). Harold Holzer, Gabor S. Boritt, and Mark E. Neely, Jr., “The Lincoln Image, Abraham Lincoln and the Popular Print.” Allen Thorndike Rice, ed., “Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln by Distinguished Men of His Time.” Cf. Deak, Picturing America 799.

72MMS187

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