“A survey of Civil War artifacts in the Smithsonian’s collections would not be complete without one of the most cherished pieces at the National Museum of American History—a top hat worn by Abraham Lincoln, who, in all but six weeks of his term as the 16th president of the United States led a country at war. The president wore this hat, made by Washington, D.C. hat maker J. Y. Davis and adorned with a black silk mourning band in honor of his deceased son Willie, to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865, the night he was assassinated. “He sets it next to his chair where, days later, the military recovers it, trying to preserve the scene of the crime, and transfers it to the Department of the Interior, which transfers it to the Smithsonian Institution,” says curator Harry Rubenstein. The top hat is on display in “Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life” at the American History Museum through May 30, 2011.”
Lincolns Top hat was one that immediately caught my attention, I mean how could it not. one of the most influential and cultural changing people to America and the world. Something I found interesting to note and start with. Abraham Lincoln stood at 6 foot 4 inches making him our tallest president ever. Choosing to wear this top hat was a way to stand out from others. Being that Lincoln was already 6 foot 4 inches, the nearly 8 inch hat had a crowd watching at all times. He wore the hat at all times, during peace or war, informal or formal.“it had become the irrepressible symbol of prestige and authority.” as some say. Interesting story of the hat, during the the beginning of President Lincolns second term he was on a horseback traveling to a near by soldiers home. When a would be assassin fired a gun at Lincoln, the bullet passed straight through the top hat. This was told by many as a time that the top hat of Lincoln saved his life and I believe it. The top hat stood out to me instantly and I knew it was something I wanted to look into more and I am glad I go the chance to look into this more. The top hat ls an icon in itself and will live on as so.