Gettysburg Photo Now Has 2 Would-Be Lincolns
Amateur historians differ on which one is the real Abe
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2013 2:32 PM CDT
Alexander Gardner's original image from the Gettysburg dedication. Smithsonian has an interactive version that shows the competing Lincolns.   (Library of Congress)

(Newser) – A fascinating photo debate is underway regarding Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, reports USA Today. An amateur historian thinks he's spotted Lincoln in a photo by Alexander Gardner. The controversy? A different amateur historian identified another figure as Lincoln in the same photo six years ago. The two would-be Lincolns are just yards apart in the 1863 image. To see for yourself, Smithsonian has an interactive version of the photo that allows you to zoom in on the competing Abes.

The most recent claim is by Christopher Oakley, a former Disney animator who teaches the craft at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. He thinks everything fits—the beard, the simple overcoat, the facial profile, the stovepipe hat. The earlier claim came from John Richter, who still thinks he's right because his figure appears to be returning a salute. But the Smithsonian story pokes a hole in that theory by pointing out that the tradition of presidents saluting troops generally didn't start until Ronald Reagan did so in 1981. One other odd tidbit: Oakley thinks he's spotted Gardner himself, the photographer, smiling at the camera, which would mean an assistant actually snapped the famous photo.

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Showing 3 of 29 comments
Sep 25, 2013 7:27 AM CDT
I understand! I know the truth! Lincoln...was the one that took the photo! :D
Sep 25, 2013 6:08 AM CDT
One is a future Lincoln sent back in time to save his own life.
Sep 24, 2013 9:53 PM CDT
This "WAS" a 3-D stereotype, where two photos were taken and then put into a viewer, so you could view in the "new" stereotype image. Guess I must be the only old-enough person who remembers this stuff. My family had these photos and viewers for my great-grand-parents who waited 11 years to come to the USA, and who did so in 1869, after the civil war. PS-He gladly showed his "papers" to anybody who wanted to view them, usually preceded with the phrase, "Look you phuck, I am an American, damn it, you English bastard!" I have a copy of his original certificate, where it says that he no longer pledges allegiance to any King, Prince or Potentate." Today's certificate now has the word "Queen" in it, but, he didn't come from a country that had gay/lesbian, and least out of the closet types, in charge. No did their king spend 5 years writing directions for its army, as to when or where sodomy and eat-through-the-face kissing by same sex sailors was allowed, like on the "poop" deck.