Abraham Lincoln needed someone to take a picture of his dog.
The newly elected president had decided not to take Fido to the White House, instead leaving him in Springfield, Ill., with family friends. But before they parted ways, Lincoln wanted to get pictures of Fido for his kids.
So, he took the dog to FW Ingmire's photography studio in Springfield for a now-famous photo session. The pictures of Fido became part of the Lincoln legacy, with many calling it the first time a president's dog was photographed.
It wasn't the only time Ingmire captured noteworthy photos associated with the 16th president. When Lincoln's body was brought back to Springfield after he was killed by an assassin's bullet, Ingmire was waiting with his camera. He took some of the most well-known pictures of the funeral procession and Lincoln's coffin.
Pictures of both Fido and the funeral have been passed down through Ingmire's family, and on Friday, Feb. 6, his great-great-nephew, Lance Ingmire, will show them at the Brookfield Museum in Ballston Spa as part of a celebration of Lincoln's 200th birthday.
These are two of the rarest-known photos of Lincoln's casket, Ingmire said. "They're the rarest of the rare."
The photographs are so unusual that when he took them to the Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, officials expressed such great interest in obtaining them that they were "just short of foaming at the mouth," Ingmire said.
"They were amazed," he said.
The Ingmire family's connection to Lincoln can actually be traced to upstate New York. FW Ingmire went to divinity school at Colgate, and his first assignment was in Springfield. There, he opened a photography studio not far from the office of the up-and-coming lawyer Lincoln.
Ingmire, a family historian who has devoted countless hours to genealogical research, said Lincoln visited the studio with Fido because he did not want to subject the dog to the train trip to Washington, D.C. Legend has it that Fido did not like loud noises or crowds.