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Members of Association of Lincoln Presenters Tour Washington During Convention

People in the District are treated to the unusual sight of 50 Lincoln impersonators in town for a convention.

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By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Lincolns stepped off their big red and white tour buses yesterday at 8:39 a.m.

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About 50 of them.

Tall Lincolns and short Lincolns. Old Lincolns and young Lincolns. Lincolns in dark beards. Lincolns in light beards.

One Lincoln had no beard. Another had a "paste-on." Some were wearing makeup. One wore a toupee. Another, elevator shoes.

Some looked exactly like the lanky, bewhiskered 16th president they were seeking to portray. One looked more like the late horror movie actor Boris Karloff.

All were members of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, and they turned heads across Washington as they strode through town on a gorgeous spring day -- an Abraham legion in frock coats, stovepipe hats and name tags, attending their annual convention.

Like other tourists, they snapped pictures, bought souvenirs and looked sleepy as their tour guides talked.

But they were a Victorian vision, among the lattes, sunglasses and baby strollers of a bustling Saturday in April.

"They're cute," a girl said, as the group assembled for a mass photo at the District's African American Civil War Memorial, where they took off their hats in unison and helped sing the patriotic song, "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)."

A little before noon, passersby Bill Tucker and his wife, Melissa Johns, found themselves pushing their son, Alexander, in a stroller among a throng of Lincolns on U Street NW. "Hilarious," Tucker said. "We saw 50 Lincolns come off the bus in our neighborhood. It's wonderful."

The association's members are, for the most part, professional portrayers of Lincoln who make paid appearances at schools, ceremonies and other public events.

Their day began when the buses arrived for a tour of the historic Lincoln Cottage, at the Soldiers' Home on North Capitol Street NW, which served as a getaway for the president and his family during the Civil War.

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