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Photos of Lincoln are incredibly rare; only about 130 exist. Until now, there was only one known photo of the 16th president at Gettysburg - sitting in a crowd of dignitaries on Nov. 19, 1863, just after delivering the legendary speech.
The new photos are enlarged details from much wider crowd shots; they were discovered by a Civil War hobbyist earlier this year in the vast trove of Library of Congress photographs digitized since 2000, and provided to USA TODAY.
They show a figure believed to be Lincoln, white-gloved and in his trademark stovepipe hat, in a military procession.
"It is just staggering to look at," said Harold Holzer, author of several books on Lincoln and vice chairman of the Lincoln Forum, a group of more than 250 enthusiasts who meet annually at Gettysburg. On Saturday, the group gets a chance to gaze at huge projections of the images and decide for themselves. Holzer will lead a discussion on the find, seen until now by only a few experts.
Thank modern technology - and a dogged amateur historian - for the discovery.
John Richter, 51, of Hanover, Pa., had loved Gettysburg since he was a kid; for 20 years had been collecting stereoviews or stereographs, which use special viewers to turn pairs of images into a 3-D view.
A board member of the non-profit Center for Civil War Photography, he had always been interested in the Gettysburg stereoviews, available free for the past several years on the Library of Congress website. When he saw negatives 1159 and 1160, taken seconds apart, he said to himself, "I think I see something going on."