Now scrolling: The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Lincoln's collar gets around

Happy 4th of July. I had a nice little blog planned about Gettysburg, but then one of my reliable sources informed me that the owner of Lincoln’s blood-stained collar recently died, leaving this strange item up for grabs.
John K. Lattimer, a 92-year-old urologist and ballistics expert (great combination) possessed a rare history collection which included Hermann Göring’s cyanide ampoule, Lincoln’s blood-stained collar, and some other oddities. Lattimer is also the professor who conducted an extensive series of ballistic tests on the Kennedy assassination and published a book about it which I have scrolling on Son of Bookzilla. More about John K. Lattimer.
The story of the blood-stained collar begins at Ford’s Theatre, when Charles Sabin Taft, first on the scene after the shooting, cut off Lincoln’s collar and opened his shirt to examine for wounds. But what became of the collar?

Other assassination couture is more easily accounted for. The Brooks Brothers suit Lincoln wore that night was given to Charles Forbes, Lincoln’s footman, who gave it to Thomas Pendel, who sold it to collector Frank Logan. A second frock coat associated with the assassination was auctioned at Philadelphia to Alphonse Donn, who loaned it to artist Matthew Wilson, who loaned it to Vinnie Ream. Donn was later offered $20,000 for the suit by P.T. Barnum but refused to sell. It was eventually donated to the Chicago Historical Society in 1924. See Brooks Brothers trail.

Which still leaves us with the question, what became of the collar? The standard answer is that souvenir hunters took off with it somewhere between Ford’s and Forbes. More importantly, what will happen to the collar now that Lattimer is gone?

If I had $20,000 to spend on memorabilia, I might consider buying it myself, but then, I’d much rather have the letters he wrote to Joshua Speed.

Mary had a clothing sale of her own not long after she became a widow, but apparently nothing with her husband’s blood on it. That surprises me, considering how savvy she was about making money.

So this 4th of July, as you’re watching the fireworks displays, remember that bad clothing, like bad news, gets around.

1 comment:

librarian666 said...

The ultimate ring around the collar!! Gotta get those bloodstains out somehow! :)

Did you know that it is the 150th anniversary for Lincoln vs Douglas debate is this month?

Get on the stick, dearie. Your public awaits....