Abraham Lincoln Life Mask by Clark Mills, 1865

On February 11, 1865, about two months before his death, Abraham Lincoln permitted sculptor Clark Mills to make this life mask of his face. This was the second and last life mask made of Lincoln. The strain of the presidency was written on Abraham Lincoln’s face. His secretary, John Hay, remarked on the dramatic difference in Lincoln’s two life masks. He noted that the first mask, produced by Leonard Volk in 1860, “is a man of fifty-one, and young for his years. . . . It is a face full of life, of energy, of vivid aspiration. . . . .The other is so sad and peaceful in its infinite repose . . . . a look as of one on whom sorrow and care had done their worst without victory is on all the features.”
Gift of Theodore Mills, the artist’s son, 1889
Currently not on view
date made
associated person
Lincoln, Abraham
Mills, Clark
Mills, Clark
Physical Description
plaster (overall material)
painted (overall production method/technique)
overall: 7 in x 8 1/2 in x 9 in; 17.78 cm x 21.59 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Theodore A. Mills
See more items in
Political History: Political History, General History Collection
Government, Politics, and Reform
Selections from the Abraham Lincoln Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


I was given a " copy of the copy " of Abraham Lincoln' s death mask from David W. .King, who told me that he received it from a friend of his that he knew who owned a museum from across the street of the Ford theatre where Lincoln was shot. David was a sculptor in Washington D..C. His was married to Beulah Hecht, who owned an interior de coating company in Washington, D.C.

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