The Illinois Supreme Court received a high-quality reproduction of a famous Abraham Lincoln photograph on Jan. 15 during a ceremony held in Springfield.

The photograph was taken in Springfield by well-known photographer Alexander Hesler on June 3, 1860, for Lincoln’s 1860 presidential campaign. Historians consider Hesler’s portrait one of the best taken of Lincoln during his pre-presidential years.

Speakers included Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier, Illinois Appellate Court Justice Michael Hyman, ISBA President James F. McCluskey, Illinois Bar Foundation Second Vice President William Peithmann, Illinois Judges Association President Hon. James Snyder, Illinois Judges Foundation Treasurer Hon. Debra Walker, Illinois State Historical Society Executive Director William Furry, and Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Director John Lupton.

The permanent installation is made possible by donations from the Illinois Judges Association (IJA), the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) and their respective foundations – the Illinois Judges Foundation and the Illinois Bar Foundation. Printed on canvas, the image of the beardless Lincoln is encased in a richly stained wood frame and measures 30-inches wide by 40-inches tall.

The four organizations are partnering with the Illinois State Historical Society (ISHS), which owns the glass-plate positives of Hesler’s Lincoln portrait. The ISHS is leading a statewide campaign to place a framed copy in a courthouse in each of Illinois’ 102 counties in commemoration of the state’s bicentennial in 2018.

“On behalf of the entire Illinois Supreme Court, I would like to express my appreciation to the ISBA, the Illinois Judges Association and their respective foundations for their generosity in donating this portrait of Lincoln to the court,” Karmeier said. “The portrait will be hung in a position of prominence in our recently restored building in Springfield, not far from Lincoln’s former home, his law office, and the site of the farewell address he delivered when he left for the last time on his way to Washington, D.C. and the presidency. We do this to honor the contributions of one of the finest lawyers ever admitted to practice before our court or any court in the United States. But more than that, we do it in the hope that it will help remind all those who pass through these halls now and in the future of  the importance of service above self, reason over emotion, compassion rather than hatred, and understanding in place of prejudice.”

“On behalf of the Illinois State Bar Association, I am excited to be part of this historic effort to commemorate Abraham Lincoln,” said McCluskey. “It is particularly fitting that we honor Lincoln here, knowing that he appeared as counsel before the Illinois Supreme Court in approximately 175 cases during his long and distinguished legal career.”