A reproduction photograph of Abraham Lincoln in his pre-presidency days will grace the Tazewell County Courthouse after an unveiling ceremony next Tuesday.

There’s a significant difference between most portraits and photographs of Abraham Lincoln and the high-quality reproduction photograph that will soon be at home at Tazewell County Courthouse. The lack of a beard in the latter.

According to Illinois State Historical Society Executive Director William Furry, the clean-shaven Lincoln depicted in the photograph would have been more familiar to his contemporaries in Illinois than the bearded president whose image appears on modern U.S. currency.

“This is the Lincoln everyone in Illinois knew prior to his election to the presidency,” said Furry. “He was never photographed with a beard because he never had one until he was ready to leave for Washington in late 1860.”

The photograph will be officially presented to the Tazewell County Courthouse, 342 Court St. in Pekin, during the unveiling ceremony at 11:45 a.m. Oct. 23. The event is open to the public. 

“We are proud to be a part of this historic effort to honor one of our nation’s greatest leaders in the state he called home,” said Michael Risinger, presiding judge of Tazewell County in an October press release from the Illinois State Bar Association. “It is particularly fitting that we honor him in this county, where he argued several trials.”

The image is printed on canvas, is encased in a stained wooded frame and measures 30 inches wide by 40 inches tall. The photograph was taken on June 3, 1860, in Springfield for Lincoln’s 1860 presidential campaign. According to Furry, well-known photographer Alexander Hesler had taken Lincoln’s photograph earlier that year in Chicago but was not satisfied with the result and asked the future president to sit for another session in Springfield. Historians consider Hesler’s Springfield portrait one of the best taken of Lincoln during his pre-presidential years. 

“The photograph (from the Chicago session) showed Lincoln’s hair in great disarray,” Furry said. “He didn’t mind. His hair was in constant disarray. But it wasn’t a presidential portrait. By the time he got the nomination, Stephen A. Douglas had been announced as the candidate for the Democratic Party. (Douglas’) portrait was extremely well coiffed, and he looked very senatorial. So, Alexander Hesler came down to Springfield and had Lincoln sit for him in the old State Capitol and took the portrait to give Lincoln a presidential image.”

 The Illinois State Historical Society, which owns the glass-plate positives of Hesler’s portrait, is spearheading an effort to place a framed copy of the photograph in a courthouse in each of Illinois’ 102 counties in commemoration of the state’s bicentennial. According to the ISBA October press release, donations from the Illinois Judges Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and their respective foundations, the Illinois Judges Foundation and the Illinois Bar Foundation, helped make the reproduction of the photograph and permanent installation of the portrait possible.