The Human Services Center in Yankton, South Dakota was built and administered by Dr. Leonard C. Mead in 1882. It was psychiatric hospital that is still in existence today. The architecture of the original campus is unique and designed in part by Mead himself. A significant amount of the labor was provided by patients. Dr. Mead believed that original art should grace all aspect of the campus and commissioned many artists over the years. In a 1937 list of paintings at the Center, 11 where attributed to Ashford. The main building of the historic campus, named after Dr. Mead himself (now called Mead Cultural Education Center) is the new home of the Dakota Territorial Museum. They, along with other organizations, have been restoring and preserving this unique building. Only three of Ashford’s painting are still at the Center. Lincoln the Lawyer is one of them. This one is 21.5 x 30 inches and is signed, F.C. Ashford.
Lincoln was a popular subject for Ashford. He had obtained an original ambrotype image of Lincoln featuring this likeness. Ashford painted from it several times and even provided prints of the painting to school rooms across the country. Compare this 1928 work to that of this one, painted in 1955 which now hangs in the K.O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library in Aberdeen, SD.
Used with permission from State of South Dakota Art Collection.