He, being dead, yet speaketh: images and invocations of Lincoln's ghost, 1865-1877


In this thesis, I examine the iconography of Abraham Lincoln's ghost in images produced in the immediate post-Civil War period. I posit that the spiritualist movement of the mid-nineteenth century provided the context within which ghosts of prominent Americans returned to voice their opinions on contemporary events, and that Lincoln's ghost took on a different and special role as a national patron saint. Drawing from lithographs, paintings, sheet music covers, cartoons, and spirit photographs, I argue that images of Lincoln's spirit performed a role in comforting grieving Northern families as well as African Americans by counteracting the ugly reality of death in the Civil War. Furthermore, this unique cultural milieu forged the posthumous image of Lincoln that has endured until the present

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This paper was published in Carolina Digital Repository.

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