The original captions give little
hint of what's in the scene, saying simply: "Scene in front of church,
But a history buff from Maryland says there are
tantalizing clues that the photos captured the funeral of assassinated
President Abraham Lincoln in New York City.
Paul Taylor of Columbia, Md., told the Washington Post
he spotted the images in January among hundreds of images by Civil
War-era photographer Mathew Brady that were published on the Flickr
"That is not your normal
scene in front of church," Taylor told the Post. "There's just people
everywhere: the streets, the sidewalks, the roof."
What stood out for Taylor is that one of the images,
taken with a four-frame stereoscopic camera, shows men doffing their
hats and bowing their heads as a large black object disappears off
camera to the left. That black object, blurred with the long exposure
that would have been necessary on April 25, 1865, was the funeral
hearse, or catafalque, Taylor believes.
If you go to Taylor's Flickr account, you'll see a comparison of a photo of Lincoln's hearse
with wispy details from the Brady image. Also, the photos appear to
have been taken from a window of Brady's studio, across the street from
the church in the photo. The first image appears to show people waiting for the procession.
experts are divided over the photos. Some believe there's no doubt the
Lincoln procession is shown. But Nick Natanson, an archivist at the
National Archives' still-picture unit, urged caution, telling the Post
that the images might show some other procession or funeral. "I don't
think it's possible to establish this without any doubt," he said.
You can closely examine the original images at the National Archives by clicking here.
Sunday, August 20 2017 3:11 PM EDT2017-08-20 19:11:20 GMT
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