Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 04:32 pm
It’s that time of year again, and so the folks at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Museum are putting a stovepipe hat on display in honor of the 16th president’s 204th birthday. Whether Abe ever wore it or saw it is debatable, as the Chicago Sun-Times reported last spring. While the hat was made in Springfield and is Lincoln’s size, an affidavit from a previous owner who stated that Lincoln gave the hat to someone in Washington, D.C., while he was president doesn’t hold up because the alleged recepient, who lived in Illinois, never traveled to the nation’s capital, the Chicago paper reported. The museum doesn’t mention any questions about provenance in a press release trumpeting the hat exhibit, and the State Journal-Register, which published a story that flatly states the hat belonged to Lincoln, appears to have forgotten the Sun-Times scoop that drew nationwide attention. The exhibit is still worth seeing, however, if only for a scrap of paper placed next to the hat on which Lincoln scrawled “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.” Strong stuff, indeed.