Frederick Hill Meserve sitting at desk with Lincoln portrait on wall in background.
In the years following the Civil War, Meserve collected a treasure trove of photographs, rare books and other artifacts relating to Abraham Lincoln. Over the decades, his descendants carried on the work, helping to preserve an essential part of America’s past.
His great-grandson, filmmaker Peter Kunhardt, helped maintain the collection and is now telling the family's story in a new documentary, premiering April 13, 2015 on HBO.
Click through to see some of the archival images of the 16th president.
This is Mathew Brady's first famous photograph of Lincoln, known as the "Cooper Union" portrait. Lincoln would later say that this photograph along with the speech he gave later that night in New York were the forces that propelled him into the White House.
Date: Feb. 27, 1860
Abraham Lincoln and Tad
Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad.
President Abraham Lincoln is shown here with Tad, the only member of his family with whom he was formally photographed.
Date: Feb. 20, 1864
Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois.
Date: Aug. 13, 1860
This is one of the only photographs of Abraham Lincoln in his White House office. It was taken by Anthony Berger, a Brady operator, to assist the artist Francis B. Carpenter in his massive painting of Lincoln reading the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet.
Date: April 25, 1864
Abraham Lincoln faintly smiles in this photograph taken days before he left for Gettysburg to deliver his address. This portrait of Lincoln was captured by Alexander Gardner.
Date: Nov. 8, 1863
Date: Feb. 5, 1865
Abraham Lincoln's Second Inauguration.
Date: March 4, 1865
"Living With Lincoln"
Behind the scenes filming of "Living With Lincoln."
Confederate Soldier Slain at Gettysburg.
This Gardner print, taken on July 5 or 6, 1863, shows the remains of a Confederate soldier lying in a field adjoining Rose Woods. Note the severed hand and the opened body cavity. Note also the carefully placed rifle with bayonet attached.
Wounded Soldiers under care of Sanitary Commission.
More than a million Americans were treated at field hospitals and nearly 400,000 died -- accounting for almost two-thirds of all deaths in the Civil War. Caring for the sick and wounded was a large part of the war effort.
Confederate dead at Gettysburg.
Confederate soldiers lie dead at the edge of Rose Woods, Gettysburg Battlefield on July 3, 1863. At Gettysburg, George Meade repulsed Robert E. Lee's invasion in a crucial three day battle ending this day. The toll was staggering: more than 23,000 Union troops and an equal or greater number of Confederate troops lay dead, wounded or were missing.
Date: July 6, 1863
Former Slave Children
A photograph of five former slave children from 1860.