Over the weekend my husband and I were looking for a popcorn movie to watch. One—short lived—topic of conversation was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Laying aside the question of how this became a topic of conversation, let’s state the obvious.
- In order to accept the premise of this movie, one must be…forgiving of historical inaccuracies. Or completely ignorant.
- The writing of “Abraham Lincoln” in the movie title is meant to mimic Lincoln’s signature.
- That signature is a forgery.
Am I forgiving of this? Well, yes. See item number one. But the making of movies is the making of forgeries, in many ways, so I’d like to think they’d be better than this. As a rare book dealer, we are constantly on the watch for forged signatures in books we may acquire, so naturally I’m a bit sensitive. Some problems:
- Both capitals show the pen being picked up before starting the rest of the word. Lincoln slides right into the rest of both words from the capitals.
(On the other hand, there’s been a clear effort here to mimic the split pen design of the types of pens used by Lincoln, as evidenced by thicker downstrokes.)
- The loops on both the capitals (through the middle of the “A” and the bottom of the “L”) are wrong in their angles.
(On the other hand, the beginning and the end of the capital “A” are clearly meant to copy the way Lincoln wrote it. The “A” is also, appropriately, on a lower plane than the rest of the signature.)
- The “ln” at the end of the signature is on the same plane as the rest of the word. In real Lincoln signatures, he floats the “ln” upwards on a higher plane.
(Note that this fan-made movie poster for the upcoming movie Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis, does this correctly!)
Lincoln’s real signature:
While we’re at it, a couple other Lincoln autograph tidbits:
- Lincoln hated the name Abe. He never, ever signed his name that way.
- With the exception of official documents, when he had to, Lincoln rarely signed his name in full as “Abraham Lincoln.” He preferred “A. Lincoln.”
- “Lincoln blue” paper has been retroactively named after him, since he famously used this particular blue paper through much of his early career as a lawyer.
- Lincoln’s handwriting is extremely difficult to read. If you see a Lincoln letter that you have no initial problems reading, it’s highly suspect!