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Abraham Lincoln's Top Hat

Ford's Theatre

Ford's Theatre

The top hat is covered in silk. It is seven inches tall and twelve inches in diameter. The hat has two faded black bands. The first, an original band, is thin with a buckle. The other, added by Lincoln, is three-inch-wide grosgrain. He added the wide ribbon as a public emblem of mourning for his son, Willie, who died in the White House in 1862. At that time, Americans were experiencing severe and personal losses as a result of the Civil War. The black silk mourning band connected Lincoln’s loss with those experienced by many Americans during the war.

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