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


At 6’4″, chairman Abraham Lincoln was a an extremely tall man, also by today’s standards. He decided to stand out even more by put on a top hat. As biographer Harold Holzer described in a 2013 Smithsonian newspaper article, even if his apparel were a little bit worn — as they sometimes were — as soon as Lincoln offered a speech in his high stovepipe hat, “at the very least he would certainly look taller than any kind of man in the city.”

Stovepipe hats that Lincoln’s era to be tall with flat crowns, and also a flat brim. Castle were generally made from stiffened felt and either beaver fur or silk. Lincoln was well-known to have an ext than one stovepipe hat, each commonly seven or eight customs tall.

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With the hat’s height included to his very own stature, historians believe his fashion an option “made Lincoln basic to spot in a crowd.” for this reason easy, in fact, that it’s possible his hat obtained him right into a tiny trouble.Lincoln to be riding ~ above horseback come a summer head in August, 1864, when a sniper fired a shot in ~ him. Exclusive John W. Nichols of firm K to be on security duty the night, and found the hat later on with a bullet hole with it.


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Courtesy Smithsonian Institution


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

According to the Smithsonian, ~ Lincoln’s death, the Smithsonian school was provided this hat. Yet the institution’s secretary, Joseph Henry, ordered it no to it is in exhibited due to the fact that “there gift so lot excitement at the time.”

It continued to be in a basement warehouse room, till 1893, as soon as the institution lent it come an exhibit hosted by the Lincoln Memorial Association. The is now on permanent screen at the Smithsonian.

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