Photo allegedly taken during the Lincoln Douglas debates in Ottawa, Illinois, August 1858


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#2
It's impossible to judge the height difference between the "tall cental figure" and the "short man to the left." The tall figure is mounted on a horse, as are a woman and several men to the tall figure's left, while the short figure appears to be standing on the steps behind them.
 

Robert Gray

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#3
The setting is the two-story house of banker Henry F. Eames, which now stands just east of the 1860 Illinois Appellate Court building on the northeast corner of Columbus and Lafayette streets.

The photograph unmistakably shows two men in stovepipe hats standing next to each other, one much taller than the other. These two men are at the near center of the photo and have long been said to be of Lincoln and Douglas. The carriage in the photograph resembles the one on display at the La Salle County Historical Museum in Utica, which is said to have carried Lincoln to the debate in Ottawa.

Also, standing at the front of the group is a figure who looks strikingly similar to W.H.L. Wallace, the man who had tried to arrange the details of Lincoln’s arrival in Ottawa for the debate and who later as a Brigadier General in the Union Army was killed at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862.

Lloyd Ostendorf knew of the photograph and thought it important enough to include in his survey of all known Lincoln photographs.

Perhaps most important for now, however, is that the elusive original Lincoln-Douglas debate photograph, once regarded as lost, may now be fully examined by Lincoln experts.

The original of this photo is on display at the Marie Louise Olmstead Memorial Museum in Somonauk.

1858Lincoln3_205201226_std.jpg
 

JeffBrooks

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#6
Fascinating. It's certainly possible. It's pictures like this that sometimes make me want to cry out in rage for the thousands upon thousands of photographs from the Civil War era that are irrevocably lost.
 

byron ed

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#7
I'm calling this one. As Lampasas pointed out, there is no "taller man." The guy on the right is a man on a horse, and from the looks of it a not-all-that-tall man on a horse (though perhaps a lot of Lincoln's height was in his legs, not his trunk).

In any event the photo was not taken during the debate itself, which was in Washington park, and neither of the debaters that day were mounted on a horse while they debated. So this is a commemorative pose in front of a prominent home in town, but nothing in there to confirm the occasion of the pose, though we trust it to be the Debate.
 
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wbull1

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#8
d3d853c828dd9a790d80307a62e95c35.jpg

Look at the way Lincon towers over the crowd in this 1860 photo. I think the man in the other photo is shorter than Lincoln was. Many of the women come up to his neck in that photo.
 

byron ed

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#9
Look at the way Lincon towers over the crowd in this 1860 photo. I think the man in the other photo is shorter than Lincoln was. Many of the women come up to his neck in that photo.
Once again, the supposed Lincoln is a man sitting on a horse so there's no comparing standing heights. The people around the mounted man are standing on their feet, not sitting on a horse. We can discard that method of comparison.

Also, keep in mind Lincoln did not yet have a chin beard, if that's what might be tricking some of us a bit to think the guy in question is Lincoln. It's likely just a shadow and a dark cravat beneath the mounted man's chin.

1549915239014.png


We could as well speculate on the women standing next to the supposed Douglas and Lincoln. If they are the spouses (a somewhat reasonable assumption) do they resemble either spouse from that time in general stature, build or dress style, to go by alternate photos?
 
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LoyaltyOfDogs

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#11
The guy on the right is a man on a horse, and from the looks of it a not-all-that-tall man on a horse (though perhaps a lot of Lincoln's height was in his legs, not his trunk).
Not that it proves or disproves anything regarding the photo, but apparently, according to his law partner William Herndon, Lincoln’s unusually long legs were indeed responsible for his 6’ 4” height. Herndon wrote that, when seated, Lincoln sat no taller than the average man, but when he stood up, he “loomed above other men.”
 

wbull1

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#13
Once again, the supposed Lincoln is a man sitting on a horse so there's no comparing standing heights. The people around the mounted man are standing on their feet, not sitting on a horse. We can discard that method of comparison.

Also, keep in mind Lincoln did not yet have a chin beard, if that's what might be tricking some of us a bit to think the guy in question is Lincoln. It's likely just a shadow and a dark cravat beneath the mounted man's chin.

View attachment 291543

We could as well speculate on the women standing next to the supposed Douglas and Lincoln. If they are the spouses (a somewhat reasonable assumption) do they resemble either spouse from that time in general stature, build or dress style, to go by alternate photos?
You make a good point
 

chubachus

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#14
Once again, the supposed Lincoln is a man sitting on a horse so there's no comparing standing heights. The people around the mounted man are standing on their feet, not sitting on a horse. We can discard that method of comparison.

Also, keep in mind Lincoln did not yet have a chin beard, if that's what might be tricking some of us a bit to think the guy in question is Lincoln. It's likely just a shadow and a dark cravat beneath the mounted man's chin.

View attachment 291543

We could as well speculate on the women standing next to the supposed Douglas and Lincoln. If they are the spouses (a somewhat reasonable assumption) do they resemble either spouse from that time in general stature, build or dress style, to go by alternate photos?
I think judging from the some clearer (in some ways) version of the photo that Robert Gray posted, the taller man is not on the horse, but standing on the porch or steps. I believe that horse is still hitched to the carriage visible on the right.
 

chubachus

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#15
In any event the photo was not taken during the debate itself, which was in Washington park, and neither of the debaters that day were mounted on a horse while they debated. So this is a commemorative pose in front of a prominent home in town, but nothing in there to confirm the occasion of the pose, though we trust it to be the Debate.
The title of the thread is not meant to claim that the photo was taken during one of the debates, but at the time of the debates, of which were seven different ones in 1858, the one in Ottawa being the earliest.
 

byron ed

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#16
I think judging from the some clearer (in some ways) version of the photo that Robert Gray posted, the taller man is not on the horse, but standing on the porch or steps. I believe that horse is still hitched to the carriage visible on the right.
Yes I now realize it can be seen that way; good observation.
 
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byron ed

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#17
The title of the thread is not meant to claim that the photo was taken during one of the debates, but at the time of the debates, of which were seven different ones in 1858, the one in Ottawa being the earliest.
We disagree on that. The title of the thread is meant to claim the photo was specifically taken at the time of the August 1858 debates in Ottawa; and only that.

As far as this photo is concerned then, there's no significance in other debates in the series having occurred elsewhere at other times.
 
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