alexander-hesler

A "Bird's Nest" of Hair

Abraham Lincoln’s hair was unruly, and he was delighted in mussing it up for the camera. 

When he sat for Alexander Hesler in 1857, he had just left the barbershop,
but he tousled his hair before reaching the studio. 

The photographer combed it, and Lincoln complained, 

“The boys down in Sangamon would never know me this way." 

Then he ran his fingers through it and quipped, 

"Now I’ve made a bird’s nest of it again." 

This picture was taken just prior to Lincoln’s nomination for senate and the original owner, one H. W. Fay of DeKalb, remembers:

“I have a letter from Mr. Hesler stating that he came in and made arrangements for the sitting, so that the members of the bar could get prints.
Lincoln said at the time that he did not know why the boys wanted such a homely face.
Joseph Medill went with Mr. Lincoln to have the picture taken.
He says that the photographer insisted on smoothing down Lincoln’s hair, but Lincoln did not like the result, and ran his fingers through it before sitting.”