[LINCOLN, Abraham]. FASSETT, Samuel M., photographer. Autograph letter signed, with original envelope addressed to H.W. Fay, Washington, D.C., 29 September 1895. 3 pp., 8o, traces of card mounting on verso, not affecting text.
THE PHOTOGRAPHER WHO TOOK THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPH OF LINCOLN. Fassett's superb oval photograph of Lincoln, taken in his Chicago studio in October 1859, is believed to be the earliest image of the future President not taken from an ambrotype or daguerrotype. Fassett, photographer for the firm of Cooke & Fassett nearly 40 years earlier, recounts the taking of this important early image: "I made then one negative and as that was in the beginnings of photography...one good result was thought sufficient....Mr. Lincoln told me that he had sat for daguerrotypes, ambrotypes, &c., but never before for a photograph; therefore to me belongs the honor of having made the first photograph of that great and good man...I can't tell you how many prints were made from my negative of Lincoln. I began printing copies as rapidly as possible as the demand was very great..." The negative was destroyed in the great Chicago fire of October 1871. See Hamilton and Ostendorf, Lincoln in Photographs, no.16 ("Mrs. Lincoln pronounced it the best likeness she had ever seen of her husband").