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The peak Hat, worn by president Abraham Lincoln the night he to be assasinated at Ford’s Theatre, April 1865. Indigenous the Smithsonian exhibit, “The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden.” Credit: Richard Strauss (Smithsonian Institution)


At 6’4″, president Abraham Lincoln was a really tall man, even by today’s standards. He decided to stand the end even an ext by attract a top hat. As biographer Harold Holzer explained in a 2013 Smithsonian newspaper article, also if his apparel were a little bit worn — as they periodically were — when Lincoln gave a speech in his high stovepipe hat, “at least he would certainly look higher than any type of man in the city.”

Stovepipe hats that Lincoln’s era to be tall with flat crowns, and a level brim. Castle were usually made indigenous stiffened felt and also either beaver hair or silk. Lincoln was recognized to have more than one stovepipe hat, each generally seven or eight inch tall.

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With the hat’s height added to his very own stature, historians believe his fashion choice “made Lincoln simple to spot in a crowd.” therefore easy, in fact, the it’s possible his hat got him right into a little trouble.Lincoln was riding ~ above horseback to a summer head in August, 1864, as soon as a sniper fired a shot in ~ him. Private John W. Nichols of agency K to be on safety duty the night, and also found the hat later with a bullet hole v it.


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Courtesy Smithsonian Institution


After his 12-year-old kid Willie died in 1862 of typhoid fever, Lincoln added a black color silk mourning band to every stovepipe hat to indicate his deep recurring mourning and also remembrance.This certain hat, purchased from J. Y. Davis, a Washington hat maker, also bore a three-inch mourning band. The last time the wore this cap was that fateful day once he attended Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. ~ his assassination, the cap was discovered on the floor next to his chair.

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According to the Smithsonian, ~ Lincoln’s death, the Smithsonian institution was offered this hat. Yet the institution’s secretary, Joseph Henry, ordered it not to be exhibited due to the fact that “there being so lot excitement at the time.”

It stayed in a basement storage room, till 1893, as soon as the school lent it to an exhibit held by the Lincoln Memorial Association. The is now on permanent display screen at the Smithsonian.


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