Harry Hahn (1934 - 2000)

       Harry portrayed Abraham Lincoln since 1961, when it was discovered in a beard-growing contest that he
closely resembled the famous "rail-splitter".   Mr. Lincoln was not only from Central Illinois, but also served as a traveling lawyer in the 8th Judicial Circuit, which met in Mount Pulaski twice a year between the years 1849 - 1853.  Mount Pulaski had become the Logan County Seat in early 1848 and the local townspeople put their money and labor together to build the courthouse, which is now a Illinois State Historical Site.  The county seat transferred to Lincoln, Illinois (10 mi NW) in late 1853.  Young Abe stayed at the Mount Pulaski House Hotel and in various "more comfortable" homes during his law business here.

       Harry Hahn excelled in basketball throughout his grade and high school years, helping his teams garner many championships along the way.  His 6' 4" frame, shoe size, course black hair, rugged facial features, and several other aspects were identical or nearly identical to the 16th President of the United States.  

       When Mr. Hahn made appearances in front of crowds, a hush would overcome the people as they saw in his walk, talk and appearance an unbelievable resemblance to the fallen president.  Hahn won many contests in portrayal of Abraham Lincoln in Illinois and throughout the USA.  Mr. Hahn appeared on television, radio and in many newspapers and magazines throughout the land. 

       Mr. Hahn met an untimely death following a performance in a grade school auditorium.  A memorial fund was set up and continues to gather monies for the up-keep of the Mount Pulaski Township Historical Society Museum, which is located directly across the street from the courthouse. 

see obituary in Lincoln Daily New

Harry Hahn, portraying Abraham Lincoln, stands next to Ronald Reagan in Lincoln Square in October, 1980.  Reagan was the Republican Presidential Candidate and went on to serve two terms as the 
President of the United States (1980-1988).

Photo taken by John Hamm of Mt. Pulaski

                                                 JUNE  2011                    <return to main page>

       Harry’s 6’4” gangly frame & craggy features, course black hair, similar shoe & rough hand size & remarkable rugged-lean facial & body likeness to Abraham Lincoln reluctantly catapulted him into his future long-time role as Abraham Lincoln impersonator.  This transition occurred during Mt. Pulaski’s 125th Sil-Tennial Anniversary Celebration in 1961.  At the urging of all & with his wife’s (Donna) help, he began studying & researching the life of Abraham Lincoln.  Harry, with his awkward walk & stooped shoulders, donned in his period 3-piece suit with his starched white shirt & large bow tie complete with the signatory

stove-pipe hat left all who saw him gasping & realizing without a moment’s hesitation as to whom he was representing.  He appeared before countless school & public assemblies over the years, giving out pennies to the students saying, “This is my picture on this coin”.  He appeared on the Today Show & in PM Magazine as well as in the Associated Press book Moments in Time.

       He appeared on the same stage in 1980 with Presidential Candidate Ronald Reagan in Springfield.  “Abe” Hahn won many contests in Illinois & throughout the United States, in addition to numerous appear-ances on television & radio & in many newspapers & magazines throughout central Illinois & the mid-west.  To mention two, Harry was the winner of the 1981 Lincoln Look-a-like contest in Springfield & the 1982 Hodgenville, Ky., Lincoln Look-a-like contest.  The best tribute came from Lincoln’s great-grandson, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith.  Using photos for a talk on his great-grandfather, Robert actually used photos of Harry in his presentation, later remarking that “of all the men who have portrayed my great-grandfather, Mr. Hahn bore the greatest resemblance”. 

       Harry’s untimely passing on February 10, 2000, has left many of us with heart-filled memories but nevertheless depriving our new local, central Illinois & national generations of his remarkable & stunning appearances & performances.  It was fitting that Mr. Hahn passed away during his final performance before a school group.  Truly, he spent his last forty years of his life being addressed “Abe” - not Harry Hahn.  Many photos of Harry “Abe” Hahn, including his school basketball days, are on display in the MPTHS Museum & Genealogical Center on the south side of the square.      

                    Photo Credits: Steve Hahn, Harry’s Son

President Lincoln. taken in October of 1862 after the Battle of Antietam.  A trip had been planned to talk with the Generals and to see what the morale of the soldiers was.

  These photos are courtesy of Harry's son, Steven M. Hahn, who is an amateur photographer.  The only photo here not of Harry Hahn is the Antietam one.