Lincoln had a white Irish linen handkerchief in his pocket when assassinated on April 15, 1865 – one hundred and fifty one years ago this week.
He died at 7.22 am on April 15, 1865 from a bullet wound inflicted the night before at the Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer.
The president’s death came only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox, VA, effectively ending the American Civil War.
The contents of Lincoln’s pockets has been itemized by the Library of Congress but have never been displayed. Historian Michael Beschloss has posted the items on Facebook asking that they finally be shown to the public.
The Irish linen handkerchief bears the name of Abraham Lincoln on it, shortened as A Lincoln.
Among the more poignant images are the assassinated president's glasses with one side held together by a piece of string. The Library of Congress lists the contents of his pockets as follows:
The items consist of one pair of gold-rimmed spectacles with sliding temples and with one of the bows mended with string; one pair of folding spectacles in a silver case;
An ivory pocket knife with silver mounting;
A watch fob of gold-bearing quartz, mounted in gold;
A sleeve button with a gold initial "L" on dark blue enamel;
and a brown leather wallet, including a pencil, lined in purple silk with compartments for notes, U.S. currency, and railroad tickets.
The wallet held a Confederate five-dollar bill and eight newspaper clippings. The clippings were from papers printed immediately before Lincoln's death, containing complimentary remarks about him written during his campaign for reelection to the Presidency. The Confederate five-dollar bill may have been acquired as a souvenir when Lincoln visited Petersburg and Richmond earlier in the month.
Given to his son Robert Todd upon Lincoln's death, these everyday items, which through association with tragedy had become like relics, were kept in the Lincoln family for more than seventy years. They came to the Library in 1937 as part of the gift from Lincoln's granddaughter, Mary Lincoln Isham.