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Looking at Lincoln: 10 Fascinating Bicentennial Facts


(Hodgenville, KY – January 17) With the observance of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial beginning February 12th, here are some fascinating facts about the appearance of our 16th president:

* Lincoln was the tallest U.S. President, standing 6’ 4” tall.

* Lincoln was the first president to wear a beard in office. He grew his beard after an 11 year old girl suggested he would look much better with whiskers.

* Lincoln had many distinguishing marks: A wart on his right cheek, a scar over his right eye from a fight with a gang of thieves, and a scar on his left thumb due to an ax accident.

* Many members of Lincoln’s own political party did not know what he looked like until after they nominated him as their presidential candidate, and were shocked at his appearance.

* Lincoln was by far the most photographed and caricatured man in the 19th century. A famous poster issued during the 1909 centennial celebration contained 100 images of Lincoln. An updated poster for the bicentennial which features 200 photos & drawings related to Lincoln can be seen at

* Matthew Brady, Lincoln’s chief photographer, usually had Lincoln pose with his “good side” (the right side of his face) to the camera. Life masks made from plaster casts of Lincoln’s face confirm that his face was unusually asymmetrical.

* Several of Lincoln’s contemporaries noted that his left eye would at times drift upward independently of his right eye, a condition now termed Strabismus.

* Many suspect Lincoln’s distinctive appearance may have been due to Marfan’s Syndrome. Symptoms of this condition include large frame, elongation of the long bones and face, a clumsy gait, myopia and cardiac dysrhythmias.

* Lincoln was the first president to have his photo taken at his inauguration. In the photo, a few feet away, stands his future assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

* If you use a magnifying glass, you can see Abraham Lincoln sitting in the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a penny.

For more information on the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial, visit

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