Abraham Lincoln - Chronology of His Life Photos

Over 150 original images by Jim Steinhart trace Abraham Lincoln's career & life. Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) was 16th President of the United States. He was born in a log cabin near Hodgenville, KY, moved to Indiana as a child in 1816 & then to New Salem, IL in 1830 where Lincoln worked as a store clerk while teaching himself law. He was elected to the Illinois legislature in 1834, moved to Springfield and opened a law office in 1836. He married Mary Todd in 1842. In 1846 he sat in Congress. He debated Stephen A. Douglas on issues of slavery in 1854, gaining national prominence & eventually the Republican nomination for President in 1860. He lead the Republic through the American Civil War, freeing the slaves & inspiring the nation with the Gettysburg address. Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865 in Ford's Theatre. Lincoln is buried in Springfield & monuments to him are numerous through the USA.

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  • Feb. 12, 1809: Abraham Lincoln born to Thomas Lincoln & Nancy Hanks in a one room log cabin at Sinking Spring farm near Hodgenville, KY.
  • Spring, 1811: Due to deed problems, Thomas Lincoln moves family ten miles to rented farm on Knob Creek.
  • December, 1816: The Lincoln family moves to Indiana to obtain free land.
Log cabin in which A. Lincoln was born

Lincoln's boyhood Knob Creek farm log cabin

  • 1831: Abe settles in New Salem, Illinois; works as a clerk in the village store.
  • 1832: New Salem village store goes out of business. Lincoln & partner William Berry purchase another store which fails a year later.
  • Aug. 6, 1832: Lincoln loses first campaign for Illinois House of Representatives.
Lincoln's New Salem Village

Lincoln's New Salem Village
  • Aug. 4, 1834: Lincoln elected to Illinois General Assembly as a Whig & begins study of law.
  • Aug. 1, 1836: Lincoln re-elected.
  • Sept. 9, 1836: Lincoln gets license to practice law.
  • 1837: Lincoln moves from New Salem to Springfield as city replaces Vandalia as Illinois state capital.
  • 1837: Becomes law partner of John T. Stuart.
  • Aug. 6, 1838: Lincoln re-elected & becomes Whig floor leader.
  • 1839: Lincoln becomes a circuit rider of United States Circuit Court.
  • June 1840: Lincoln argues his first case before the Illinois Supreme Court.
  • Aug. 3, 1840: Lincoln re-elected to fourth term.
  • March 1, 1841: Lincoln becomes law partner with Stephen T. Logan & decides not to stand for re-election to state legislature.
Old Illinois State Capitol

Statue of Lincoln as Circuit Rider

Logan County IL Courthouse

Old Illinois Supreme Court
  • 1839: Lincoln meets Mary Todd, 21.
  • Fall 1840: Lincoln is engaged to Mary Todd but breaks it off Jan. 1, 1841, only to resume mid 1842.
  • Nov. 4, 1842: Lincoln marries Mary Todd in Springfield.
Mary Todd family home, Lexington, KY

  • May, 1844: Lincoln moves family including infant son Robert Todd Lincoln into Springfield house.
  • March 10, 1846: Edward Baker Lincoln is born, but dies February 1, 1850.
  • Dec. 21, 1850: William (Willie) Wallace Lincoln is born.
  • April 4, 1853: Thomas (Tad) Lincoln is born.
Lincoln family home, Springfield

  • 1843: Lincoln fails in try for Whig nomination for U.S. Congress.
  • 1844: Lincoln campaigns for Henry Clay for president.
  • Dec., 1844: Lincoln dissolves law partnership with Logan, to create own practice.
  • Aug. 3, 1846: Lincoln elected to U.S. House of Representatives as Whig.
  • 1847: Lincoln family moves to Washington, D.C. for 30th Congress, takes seat Dec. 6.
  • 1848: Lincoln campaigns for Zachary Taylor for president, Whig party, including speaking tour in New England.
  • March 31, 1849: Lincoln family returns to Springfield where Lincoln quits politics to practice law.
  • 1850: Lincoln resumes circuit riding for 8th Judicial Circuit & gains reputation as "Honest Abe".
  • 1854: To oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Lincoln re-enters politics & is elected to Illinois legislature, but declines seat to try for U.S. Senate.
  • 1855: Lincoln not chosen by the Illinois legislature as U.S. Senator & starts helping to organize new Republican party of Illinois.
Henry Clay Portrait

Zachary Taylor Portrait

Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, Springfield

Lincoln's Law Offices, Springfield

  • May 29, 1856: At first Republican convention, Lincoln gets 110 votes for vice-presidential nomination, gaining national notice.
  • 1856: Lincoln campaigns for Republican presidential candidate, John C. Fremont.
  • June 26, 1857: Lincoln speaks against Dred Scott slave ownership decision.
  • May, 1858: Lincoln wins acquittal in a murder trial by using almanac's moonlight data to discredit a witness.
  • June 16, 1858: Lincoln nominated at Republican state convention in Springfield as Illinois senate candidate (against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas) & delivers "House Divided" speech. Lincoln goes on to debate Douglas in seven meetings, causing his national fame.
  • November 2, 1858: Illinois legislature selects Douglas for U.S. Senate by 54 votes over Lincoln's 46.
  • Sept. 16 - Oct. 5, 1859: Lincoln makes speaking tour of Indiana, Ohio & Wisconsin.
  • Fall 1859: Lincoln makes his last trip through 8th Judicial Circuit.
  • Nov. 30 - Dec. 7, 1859: Lincoln makes speaking tour of Kansas.
  • Dec. 20, 1859: Lincoln writes a short autobiography.
  • Feb. 27, 1860: Lincoln gives famous Cooper Union speech in New York City.
  • Feb. 28 - March 10, 1860 : Lincoln delivers political speeches on slavery in New England.
  • March, 1860: Lincoln-Douglas Debates published.
Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Stephen Douglas

Lincoln Carriage from 1859 Kansas tour

Cooper Union Auditorium in New York City, site of Lincoln February 27, 1860 speech

McLevy Hall, Bridgeport, CT, site of Lincoln March 10, 1860 speech

  • May 18, 1860: Lincoln becomes Republican nominee for president with running mate Hannibal Hamlin against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas.
  • June 1860: Lincoln publishes a longer autobiography.
  • Nov. 6, 1860: Lincoln wins election as first Republican president, defeating three other candidates.
  • Dec. 20, 1860: Lincoln's election precipitates South Carolina secession from the Union, followed within two months by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana & Texas.
  • Feb. 11, 1861: Lincoln gives a brief farewell to supporters at Springfield rail depot & travels to Washington, eventually guarded by Pinkerton after assassination plot discovered.
  • March 4, 1861: Lincoln takes oath of office as 16th U.S. president & states he has no plans to end slavery.
Lincoln Campaign Ribbons

Lincoln for President Medals

Lincoln-Hamlin Flag

Hannibal Hamlin

Springfield Depot where Lincoln made Farewell Speech

Model of Lincoln Farewell Speech

Abraham Lincoln Inaugural Ball (March 4, 1861)

  • April 12, 1861: Civil War begins as Confederates open fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston.
  • 1861: Civil War goes badly for the Union. Lincoln has trouble controlling Generals.
  • Feb. 20, 1862: Lincoln's son Willie dies. Mrs. Lincoln is devastated & never recovers.
  • Jan. 1, 1863: Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in territories held by Confederates.
  • July 3, 1863: Confederates defeated at Battle of Gettysburg, turning point in the Civil War.
  • Nov. 19, 1863: President Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address at ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a national cemetery.
  • May, 1864: General Ulysses S. Grant is promoted to commander of the Union armies.
  • June 8, 1864: Lincoln is nominated for president, Andrew Johnson for Vice-President, by coalition of Republicans & War Democrats.
  • Nov. 8, 1864: Lincoln is re-elected president, defeating Democrat George B. McClellan, a former General who had ignored Lincoln's orders & been removed from command March, 1862.
  • March 4, 1865: Lincoln's inauguration ceremonies in Washington.
  • March 24, 1865: Lincoln with Mary & Tad visits Grant at front line Union headquarters at City Point, VA.
  • April 4, 1865: Lincoln visits Union commanders in Richmond, VA, two days after the city's surrender.
  • April 9, 1865: Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders Confederate army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.
Lincoln Family at White House

Lincoln Cabinet Debates Emancipation Proclamation

Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Military Cemetery

Gettysburg Railroad Depot where Abraham Lincoln arrived (Nov. 18, 1863)

Bed slept in by Abraham Lincoln (Nov. 18, 1863) at David Wills House the night before giving his Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg Address monument with Lincoln statue at Gettysburg

Gettysburg Address Plaque

Lincoln-Johnson Campaign Medal

Abraham Lincoln Inaugural Ball (March 4, 1865)

Grant's Cabin at City Point, VA where Lincoln arrived (March 24, 1865)

Room in White House of the Confederacy used by President Lincoln after fall of Richmond (April 4, 1865)

  • April 14, 1865: Lincoln & Mary attend play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater. About 10:13 pm, John Wilkes Booth shoots Lincoln in the head. Doctors move Lincoln to a house across the street. He never regains consciousness.
  • April 15, 1865: 7:22 in the morning, President Abraham Lincoln dies.
  • April 21 - May 3, 1865: A funeral train carries Lincoln from Washington, DC to Springfield, IL with stops for public viewings in Baltimore, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis & Chicago. It is estimated that well over a million Americans turned out at these events.
  • May 4, 1865: Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois after lying in state in the Illinois Hall of Representatives where he started his political career.
  • Nation builds monuments to Abraham Lincoln, one of its most honored Presidents.

Lincoln Tomb Lincoln Bust at Tomb Standing Lincoln at Tomb Lincoln Crypt

Lincoln Monument Chicago Lincoln Statue Lincoln Portrait Lincoln Stovepipe Hat
Ford's Theatre

Presidential box in Ford's Theatre

Graphic of Lincoln's assassination by Currier & Ives

Deringer used by John Wilkes Booth to kill Lincoln

House where Lincoln died

Room where Lincoln died

Mourning Ribbon

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All photos on this page are originals by & copyrighted by Jim Steinhart.
All rights reserved. Permission required to use.