Dear Jim:

I thank you for the promotion to “professor”….but I am an artist who writes about Lincoln, and has drawn and painted Lincoln since I was 12 years old…must hold a world’s record by now, in the thousands, of Lincoln illustrations I have done.

Two Lincoln universities have awarded me honorary Doctorates, but I do not have an earned degree.

I enclose a brochure depicting some samples of my work, and a flyer concerning my book, “Lincoln in Photographs”….. perhaps you have this one.

Now with that out of the way, I must say that your Lincoln sculptor work is absolutely delightful and the most faithful Lincoln reproductions I have seen in decades. It has always surprised me that with the aid of the two life masks, Volk and Mills, some artists have failed to really catch Lincoln in their work. Both of your Lincoln heads are wonderfully well done, life like, accurate, and truly Lincoln. I favor the beardless slightly over the presidential bearded Lincoln. Lincoln must have weighed about 25 pounds more as a lawyer, and the stress of the presidency caused him to weigh much less, and it showed in his photographs to some extent.

Actually, the bronze Mills mask which you used at the museum in Ft. Wayne is a casting from the rubber mold from my original plaster cast. The first cast out of Clark Mills mold, made on February 11th and 12th 1865. I obtained it many years ago from the Hay family who received the original head from Fisk Mills, son of the sculptor.

I use my masks as models for my illustrations, set them up with the lighting I want, and work from “life.” Lincoln is very obliging and holds still for me… more than I can say of other sitters.

Thanks for sharing pictures of your work, and it is a pleasure to get acquainted with a real Lincoln sculptor… Some sculptors Lincoln faces seem to reflect their own facial characteristics.

Perhaps someday we can talk at length. Congratulations on your accomplishments, and best wishes to you in your profession.


Lloyd Ostendorf

Lloyd Ostendorf