A Community for Abraham Lincoln & American History — For Collectors, By Collectors. More About Us.

Suspect Lincoln

You Tell Us

July 13, 2023

A gentleman in Arizona claims to be the “owner of the earliest daguerreotype photograph of Abraham Lincoln”.  He details it, along with that of a second photo, as “…a young Abraham Lincoln, early ‘30’s, and Fanny Henning, early ‘20’s… taken in Louisville, Kentucky, between August and September of 1841 by Justus E. Moore. Fanny Henning married Lincoln’s best friend Joshua Speed on February 15, 1842. These two daguerreotypes reveal a hidden fact that Lincoln and Speed were rivals for the hand of the same woman. Lincoln’s feelings were so strong for Fanny Henning that in late December of 1840 Lincoln breaks off his engagement to Mary Todd.” The owner, who over the last two years has sent copies to dozens of dealers, institutions and scholars concludes his letter with “This photograph of Lincoln is a one-of-a-kind American treasure.” The only provenance has the owner obtaining these from his grandfather who purportedly obtained them from a relative of the Henning-Speed family many years earlier. With his “marketing” kit to declare the importance of his “treasure” the owner has included dozens of letters he has received from everyone from the Chairman of the Treasury Historical Association to the Mount Pulaski Courthouse Foundation.  He even sent one to Buckingham Palace and received a response from the Correspondence Manager for The Queen detailing that it was kind to send Her Majesty images of the photos. The letters are simply thank you notes for his sending copies of his photo but in no way endorse the authenticity.  We suppose that the huge body of accompanying correspondence somehow “props up” some measure of support for the owner’s claims but, as the title says, you tell us!