The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln: Six Months at the White Houseby Francis Bicknell Carpenter
Divided into chapters much like a novel, this biography gives an account of how Carpenter came to receive a coveted commission as official artist of the White House. The state/b>
This stunning biography by professional painter Francis Carpenter follows the author through the White House of the Lincoln administration, where he was commissioned as an artist.
Divided into chapters much like a novel, this biography gives an account of how Carpenter came to receive a coveted commission as official artist of the White House. The state dining room became his studio, and beneath a chandelier he tirelessly accomplished the artwork expected of him.
The White House of Lincoln was vastly different from its modern iteration. Work was done by candlelight, and petitioners were not professional lobbyists but ordinary Americans: mothers worried sick about their sons at war, the desperate, the jobless, and the orphaned. The United States was in the throes of war and bore all the associated hardships.
Perhaps most valuable of all for readers in the modern day are the conversations and observations Carpenter had with President Lincoln during his time working in the White House. The well-read President would often recite poetry and Shakespeare from memory, and recall anecdotes in conversation; although good-humored, Carpenter - as did many other acquaintances of Lincoln - noticed the President's deep seated melancholy.
Published in 1866, scarcely a year after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Ford's Theatre, Carpenter's was one of the first ever published biographical recollections of Abraham Lincoln's life and person. He writes with a fresh memory of the mannerisms Lincoln had in dealing with people face-to-face, how his logic and evenhanded nature defused tensions and led to solutions within and outside the White House, recalling it all with the observant nature of the painter.
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