Episode 79: The American Revolution and Abraham Lincoln

For two decades I’ve searched for images of the Revolutionary War Generation. The individuals who lived during the war who lived long enough to be photographed. Often there is a name but no image. Not everyone sat for a likeness even far into the nineteenth century. It’s possible that some folks did, but the images were lost, misplaced, or destroyed. It happens. 

In volume two of my Last Muster series I featured Deacon John Phillips (1760–1865). At the time the only image of him appeared in Harpers Weekly (December 10, 1864).

Imagine my surprise when John Beatty of the Allen County Public Library contacted me to say that not one but two photographs of him had turned up in a collection of President Abraham Lincoln material.  

Emily Rapoza of The Lincoln Collection joins me to talk about the image, Phillip’s connection to Lincoln and how there is a market for photo fakes. 

Did you know that many of the men, women and children that experienced the Revolutionary War first hand lived into the age of photography (1839)?

If an image in your photo collection fits the following criteria, it might depict a member of the Revolutionary War generation.

The Subjects

Are the people in your pictures old enough to be part of the Revolutionary War generation?

Patriots, soldiers and loyalist adults: Anyone who was an adult during the American Revolution would have been at least 80 years old by the advent of photography.

Children: Anyone who was a child during the American Revolution would have been in his late 50s or older when he had his picture taken.

Wives and widows: The last surviving widow of a Revolutionary soldier died in 1906! Esther Sumner married Noah Damon when she was 21 and he was 75. Finding pictures of wives and widows means looking at pictures taken anywhere from 1840 to the early 1900s.

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About My Guest:

Emily Rapoza is a Senior Lincoln Librarian with the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN. She holds a Masters in Digital History from Ball State University and a Masters of Library and Information Sciences with a focus in archives and special collections from University of Madison-Wisconsin. When she isn’t working, Emily is traveling to historic sites and dragging her husband along with her. 

About Maureen Taylor:

Maureen is a frequent keynote speaker on photo identification, photograph preservation, and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., London and Canada.  She’s the author of several books and hundreds of articles and her television appearances include The View and The Today Show (where she researched and presented a complete family tree for host Meredith Vieira).  She’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, Germany’s top newspaper Der Spiegel, American Spirit, and The New York Times. Maureen was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for MyHeritage.com, an internationally known family history website and also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns for such media as Smithsonian.com. Learn more at Maureentaylor.com

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