The Graduate Center - City University of New York

Watch Meeting—Dec. 31st 1862—Waiting for the Hour.

While Abraham Lincoln cooperated in the making of Francis Bicknell Carpenter's The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation, he showed little interest in William Tolman Carlton's painting Watch Meeting, a gift from a group of New England abolitionists. The depiction of slaves awaiting the stroke of midnight when the Emancipation Proclamation would take effect quickly became famous. Photographs of the painting in the form of cartes-de-visite were distributed across the country. Apparently, Mary Todd Lincoln liked Carlton's work and took it with her after Lincoln's death. The painting now hangs in the White House.

Creator: William Tolman Carlton

Date: 1863

Source: White House Historical Association