Lincoln’s Top Hat
1865, American History Museum
1865 American History Museum
Author Stephen L. Carter writes in our 101 Objects Special Issue:
Nowadays, we have trouble envisioning Lincoln without his top hat, but how he began wearing it remains unclear. Early in his political career, historians tell us, Lincoln probably chose the hat as a gimmick. In those days he was rarely seen without his stovepipe, the traditional seven- or even eight-inch-high hat that gentlemen had been wearing since early in the century. True, Lincoln’s version was often battered a bit, as if hard worn, an affectation perhaps intended to suit his frontier image.
Read more of Carter's essay.