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Norman Rockwell, Lincoln for the Defense, Artist’s Proof

One American Icon Illustrates Another


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Norman Rockwell’s Lincoln for the Defense calls to mind the Duff Armstrong trial, commonly called “The Almanac Trial.” Lincoln wearing a white suit, was defending Springfield native and friend, Duff Armstrong on a murder charge. A witness for the prosecution insisted he had seen the whole thing by the light of the full moon. However his testimony fell apart when Lincoln called for an almanac. The almanac showed the moon had already set when the crime occurred. This destroyed the witness testimony and Duff Armstrong was acquitted.

The original painting was created for the February 10th, 1962 edition of the Saturday Evening Post. The film, To Kill a Mockingbird, was released in December of that year. It has been proposed that Gregory Peck’s white suit in the film was inspired by Lincoln’s white suit.

Rockwell, Norman. LINCOLN FOR THE DEFENSE Artist’s Proof “A/P”, signed in full by pencil. [Circa 1974] 24-1/2” x 10” (sight); 39” x 24” (overall). Excellent; museum mounted and framed.