Study: No evidence museum's stovepipe hat was Lincoln's


A new survey stumbled on no evidence to corroborate that a beaver-skin stovepipe hat, a centerpiece of Illinois’ Abraham Lincoln museum, ever if truth be told belonged to Lincoln

December 24, 2019, 10: 23 PM

4 min read

A new survey has stumbled on no evidence to corroborate that a beaver-skin stovepipe hat — for years a centerpiece of Illinois’ Abraham Lincoln museum — ever if truth be told belonged to the 16th U.S. president, in accordance with a published file.

Among the findings spelled out in a 54-page file was once that the hat, once appraised at $6.5 million, didn’t seem like Lincoln’s size and that descendants of the new collectors weren’t wide awake in regards to the voice Lincoln had owned it, WBEZ reportedTuesday, citing a replica of the survey.

The 16-month survey moreover criticized a scarcity of due diligence to envision any hyperlink between the hat and Lincoln earlier than it was once purchased in 2007 and went on point to on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

Questions in regards to the hat bear been asked for the past several years. Nonetheless the survey by Illinois Snarl Historian Samuel Wheeler solid better doubts than ever over its authenticity.

Proof that the hat sat atop Lincoln’s head rested on a voice by a southern Illinois farmer, William Waller, who said Lincoln gave him the hat in friendship. A 1958 affidavit from a descendant of Waller’s claimed the gift came when the farmer visited Lincoln in Washington after 1861.

The hat was once later purchased in 2007 by the non-public Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation from collector Louise Taper for point to on the Springfield museum. It was once the headliner in a powerful wider Taper sequence, for which the muse paid round $25 million. The sequence moreover integrated the bloodied gloves Lincoln wore to the theater the night he was once shot.

With secret doubts of their hold, the non-public foundation sought to authenticate the hat over recent years, including a failed strive to envision DNA on the hat to Lincoln.

The museum in 2018 asked Wheeler to behavior basically the most modern survey.

Wheeler moreover stumbled on that Waller’s son, damaged-down notify legislator Elbert Waller, by no manner gave the impact to point out the hat in hundreds of pages of writing. Wheeler said the resolution by Elbert Waller’s widow to sell the hat for $1 within the 1950s moreover raised red flags.

“If the stovepipe hat was once certainly one of Elbert Waller’s prized possessions and was once a tangible hyperlink connecting the Waller family to Abraham Lincoln, why did Clara no longer give the hat to Elbert’s surviving son…or his grandson …?” Wheeler wrote.

The brand new chairman of the presidential library board, damaged-down federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, praised the survey.

“We peek forward to working with the muse to explore persevered be taught and finally dangle how the hat can easiest be dilapidated to educate museum website online visitors,” LaHood said in an announcement.

No topic steady indications the hat is no longer what the museum has claimed it is, Wheeler didn’t sigh definitively it had no ties to Lincoln. He said the scenario merited extra survey.

He added that the controversy surrounding the hat must always be a warning for the long term.

“No topic what the final resolution proves to be on the stovepipe hat, it is glaring that no person at (the museum) performed any be taught on the object earlier than it was once received in 2007,” Wheeler said.

The museum has been beset in recent years by the muse’s fight to pay off a debt of $9 million that had long gone against the preserve shut of the Lincoln memorabilia, including the stovepipe hat.

The foundation launched earlier this monththit had refinanced the 2007 loan it dilapidated to preserve shut 1,500 objects from Taper.

ABC News

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