Abraham Lincoln: Life Mask

Leonard W. Volk (American, 1828–1895)
MediumCast plaster, paint
Dimensions9 × 8 × 6 inches
CreditCollection of the Hudson River Museum
Accession NumberINV.5539

If the features in this cast of Lincoln’s face look familiar, it may be because other sculptors have used the likeness. Volk, the son-in-law of Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas, met Lincoln in 1858, when the rival politicians held a series of debates. Created before Lincoln was elected President, Volk’s casts had an eerie significance after the assassination. This is probably one of 33 sets made for subscribers who helped fund the acquisition of the original copies for the Smithsonian in 1886.