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Items in President Lincoln's Pockets When He Was Assassinated

Items in President Lincoln's Pockets When He Was Assassinated American History Assassinations Nineteenth Century Life American Presidents

On the night President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, while he attended a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington, he had numerous interesting items in his pockets.

Given to Robert Todd Lincoln, the President's son, the items remained in the President's family until they were donated to the Library of Congress in 1937.

The Library's curators describes the pocketed items:

When Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865, he was carrying two pairs of spectacles and a lens polisher, a pocketknife, a watch fob, a linen handkerchief, and a brown leather wallet containing a five-dollar Confederate note and nine newspaper clippings, including several favorable to the president and his policies.

Given to his son Robert Todd upon Lincoln's death, these everyday items, which through association with tragedy had become like relics, were kept in the Lincoln family for more than seventy years. They came to the Library in 1937 as part of the gift from Lincoln's granddaughter, Mary Lincoln Isham.

One pair of the President's glasses was broken and tied with a string:

The items consist of one pair of gold-rimmed spectacles with [sliding] temples and with one of the bows mended with string; one pair of folding spectacles in a silver case; an ivory pocket knife with silver mounting; a watch fob of gold-bearing quartz, mounted in gold; an oversize white Irish linen handkerchief with "A. Lincoln" embroidered in red cross-stitch; a sleeve button with a gold initial "L" on dark blue enamel; and a brown leather wallet, including a pencil, lined in purple silk with compartments for notes, U.S. currency, and railroad tickets.

The wallet held a Confederate five-dollar bill and eight newspaper clippings. The clippings were from papers printed immediately before Lincoln's death, containing complimentary remarks about him written during his campaign for reelection to the Presidency. The Confederate five-dollar bill may have been acquired as a souvenir when Lincoln visited Petersburg and Richmond earlier in the month.

In order of image presentation: 1.) Watch fob 2.) Button 3.) Pocket knife 4.) Handkerchief 5.) Wallet 6.) Confederate $5 dollar bill 7.) Glass lense cleaner and buffer 8.) Glasses case 9.) Lincoln's eyeglasses with name on inner stem. (See the Library of Congress article.)

Click on the image for a better view.


Media Credits

Image online via American Treasures of the Library of Congress.

Public Domain.

 

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