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Meanwhile, About Those Abraham Lincoln Inauguration Photos

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Detail of soldiers lined up from Lincoln's second inauguration, March 4, 1865

It was an entirely happy coincidence this week that we announced both the Flickr pilot project and an amazing photographic discovery on exactly the same day.

A trio of images, previously thought to have been picturing different events, have been confirmed to be photographs from Abraham Linclon’s second inauguration as president on March 4, 1865. Here’s the parallel I like to draw:

A user of our Prints and Photographs Online Catalog raised questions about the images, which sent Library of Congress curator Carol Marie Johnson sleuthing. Careful comparisons to the only other two known images from that event and meticulous combing through records led her to this discovery.

My point is that if we can uncover those kinds of treasures, thanks in part to our discerning Web users, imagine what might happen after setting loose hoards of eager photo fans at Flickr.

I’ve heard reports that the story for a good portion of Wednesday was the most-clicked on It was written about by the L.A. Times and was also mentioned on NBC’s “Today Show,” among others.

Even David Letterman made a reference to it on last night’s “Late Show.” That definitely ranks closely in pop-culture significance to the moment when our staff burst into applause when the Library of Congress was first mentioned on-screen in “National Treasure: Book of Secrets”!

Comments (8)

  1. So happy about your flickr site

    Do you also have a YouTube presence?

  2. I can understand your enthusiasm. I support the motivations and benefits of Web 2.0, including flickr. I worry, though — once the comments to the photographs become ungoverned by an information professional (yes, I mean librarian) who knows what sort of information will be associated with what material. In other words, if the research if left to those who contribute to Wikipedia, we may get more comments (and not necessarily accurate) on Janet Jackson as opposed to Andrew Jackson. I hail the LOC’s contributions to flickr, but I fear that without someone fact checking the comments, our history could become perverted and distorted. What do you think? Is there a danger here to unleashing the archives to mass comment?

  3. LA Martin,

    Isn’t it worth the risk? Our ‘media’ is already saturated with perversion and distortion. The pendulem has begun to swing and this is the prof.


  4. Finding these previously misidentified photos must have been thrilling.

    I’m sure there are other Lincoln photos out there for the finding.

    Thanks for letting us know.

    Geoff Elliott

  5. Loyola Students Launch Interactive Website in Honor of Lincoln Bicentennial

    CHICAGO— Loyola University Chicago journalism students are celebrating the 200th birthday of one of our country’s greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, by launching an interactive Website in his honor.

    Students enrolled in Professor John Slania’s course, Lincoln and Citizen Journalism, are studying Lincoln in contemporary society and creating a Web magazine packed full of articles, photographs, recorded audio, video, blogs, and much more. The site can be found at

    “Journalism is shifting in a new direction. This is a wonderful opportunity for students who want to go into journalism, as well as many others fields, to get experience by reporting, writing and telling stories on multiple platforms,” Slania said.

    Organized as a newsroom within the classroom, the students act as an actual media center. They record living history and document Lincoln’s impact on America today while creating a compelling Web magazine that captures the essence of this famous president.

    The students hope to learn the history and importance of our country’s 16th president and share their findings as a contribution for Illinois’ statewide Lincoln Bicentennial celebration.

    This class is just one of many courses, presentations, speeches and lectures at Loyola in celebrations of the Bicentennial. Loyola is marking the event with a February 11, appearance of Pulitzer Prize winning author, Doris Kearns Goodwin presenting a lecture on “Lincoln and Leadership.”

    For additional information, contact John Slania, Journalism Program Director, at [email protected].


  6. Greetings! I’ve been following your web site for a long time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the fantastic work!

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