Abraham Lincoln 1809–1865
Born Hardin County, Kentucky
Soon after Abraham Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination, in May of 1860, sculptor Leonard Wells Volk made casts of Lincoln’s hands. The right hand is shown grasping a sawed-off section of a broom handle, which Lincoln obligingly fetched from a shed when the artist suggested that he hold on to something. Lincoln smoothed the edges of the wood, reportedly saying, “I thought I would like to have it nice.” During their session, Volk was already thinking of using these casts, in combination with his recently completed Lincoln bust, to fashion a full-length statue.