Lincoln’s hands – Urban legend or truth?

Tourists love stories. I could tell them the date, cost and weight/height of statues and they’d forget it as soon as I said it.

But the stories, that’s different. Sometimes I’ll tell a PG tale if there is no one under 18-years old, but that’s as racy as it gets.

The Lincoln Memorial has two good urban legends – one that may even be true.

It’s said that Robert E. Lee is carved into Lincoln’s head on the left side (looking at him) as Lee looks back to his old home in Arlington. I’ve seen it after much looking, but it’s not Lee and something more like Poseidon and really from the power of suggestion.

The one that may be true, and nobody really knows for sure, is that Lincoln’s hands make an A and L in sign language. The A by his left hand I could see, but the L seems a stretch.

Lincoln founded the first college for the deaf (Gallaudet College) and sculptor Daniel Chester French knew sign language so he could have done it.

Is it real? Take a look and decide for yourself.

About Rick

Rick Snider is a native Washingtonian, long-time journalist and licensed tour guide since 2010.
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