Lincoln spent time in Wisconsin during his brief military career, serving in the Black Hawk War, and last visited the state in 1859 as a potential presidential candidate. The Neville Public Museum is proud to hold in our collection a signed photograph of the president and his son Tad, taken in 1864. Lincoln rarely signed photographs, but two signed copies were gifted to the president's secretary Gustav Matile about one year before Lincoln's death.
After Lincoln was assassinated, Matile worked as a lawyer in Minnesota and then served as U.S. Court Commissioner for Wisconsin's Eastern District in Green Bay. When Matile died in 1908, he gave the photograph to the Kellogg Public Library where it was kept until sold to the Green Bay & De Pere Antiquarian Society in 2007.
The image was used on popular commemorative cards and prints after Lincoln's death, but the Neville Public Museum holds one of the only two known original prints, and the president's signature makes this photograph exceptionally uncommon.