515. Henry C. Whitney to William H. Herndon.
Chicago July 18th 1887.
I enclose to you herewith the 2 photos of Lincoln asked for. The 1857 one was taken under these circumstances. He used when in Chicago as you know to make the office of Dickey & Wallace his headquarters as a law office & Hesler the photographer was right opposite in the same hall: so one afternoon he stepped in & had his photo taken I suppose in the regular course of business. After he was nominated for President, Hesler (Who was then Chicago's best artist) wrote him he would like to have his photo' again. Lincoln replied, inviting him to come to Springfield & take it, if he chose — and he did so.
The 1860. one was that from which the "Century" magazine picture was taken: you will observe that the wrinkles are considerably smoothed out of it, but I think they are the best that are obtainable. If you want a cut for your Book from
either of these I can get it for you here very low by the "Levytype"
process. You can see the great interest that the public takes in Lincoln by the fact that "Bob" is desired all over the country by the Republicans for President or Vice President: the Tribune (Which is for Blaine) had quite an Article on that subject the other day. The paper said that Bob was the 3d choice universally: probably if Blaine was to die Bob would be nominated: it is very probable he will be run for Vice P. anyway. In view of what he really is, this shows the firm & enthusiastic hold Uncle Abe had on the affections of the people: and I must confess that it takes with me: I know that Uncle Abe would rejoice to see Bob, president: that is enough for me: I hope that he will be a president o[n] that account: of course there is no other reason. If I only had your capital to go on, I certainly should lecture on Lincoln: In the first place you had every opportunity possible to know all about him after that part of his life that was worth knowing commenced: i.e. from the date of his arrival in Springfield: 2d you have the acuteness of vision that we attribute to Lincoln: you saw him as he was & knew him far better than all other living men combined (not excepting Matheny & Speed) and know how to delineate him. 3d you acquired much of his analytical power from Lincoln himself by attrition: you thought deep as he did: and veiwed matters as he did: your mind & mental processes were much like his: you was more like him in mental view & grasp than any other man. 4th He had unbounded confidence in your adhesion to him & in your intuitions: he said to me on the day Douglas was elected to the U. S. Senate — & bitterly too — "I expect everyone to desert me except Billy." In the normal order of things, he should have had you at his elbow through his troubles: — he should have insisted on you as his private secretary & mentor in the same sense as Sidney Webster was Pierces private secretary — an alter Ego: it is astonishing that he took Nicolay — a mere clerk — and did not have a confidential friend of astuteness & affection like you: Who could have eased him of half his burdens. so it seems to me that if you would get up an excellent lecture as you could that it would take immensely. I do indeed design to try my hand; but when I contemplate my inferiority of advantage to you I feel very discouraged: but I am going to reproduce my lecture and forward it to you for your criticism and secure your opinion on it.
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3382
1. See p. 618, note 8.
2. Popular in the 1880s as a process by which photographs could be copied for reproduction, the Levytype process still required augmentation by artists.