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Six Months at the White House

The Story of a Picture

Six Months at the White House by Francis Bicknell Carpenter
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Six Months at the White House was written by Francis Bicknell Carpenter after the unexpected popularity of a series of articles published in the New York Independent relating to Abraham Lincoln following his assassination. Carpenter, a Civil War portrait painter, was originally hired to capture President Lincoln in the picture, “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation before the Cabinet.” During the six months occupied in painting this picture, Carpenter enjoyed constant interaction with the President, as well as the various members of his Cabinet. Lincoln was enthusiastic in helping Carpenter, even letting him use the state dining room as his studio.

The incidents given were not in any sense isolated exceptions to the daily routine of Mr. Lincoln’s life. The aim of the author was to portray the man as he was revealed to him, without any attempt at idealization. Carpenter has woven into the book personal reminiscences from various individuals, published and unpublished, which bear intrinsic evidence of the genuineness of the great man, Abraham Lincoln.

Written in a spirit of enthusiasm and affection, Six Months at the White House is a simple, matter-of-fact record of daily experience and observation, fragmentary but true, in all essential particulars of life in the White House as observed by Carpenter from February to August, 1864.

Digital Scanning, Inc.; January 2000
359 pages; ISBN 9781582181219
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Title: Six Months at the White House
Author: Francis Bicknell Carpenter