High-resolution images of the clothing President Abraham Lincoln wore to Ford’s Theatre the night he was assassinated.
After Lincoln’s assassination, Mary Lincoln bequeathed this custom coat worn by the President the night he was shot to the Lincolns’ favorite doorman, Alphonse Donn.
The Donn family held the coat for over a century, allowing curious visitors to cut out pieces of the bloodstained lining. The souvenir seekers did so much damage that the sleeve separated from the body of the coat.
Ford’s Theatre acquired the coat in 1968. Because of its fragile condition, the coat is not currently on public display. The Ford’s Theatre Museum contains a replica.
Examine the Evidence: Can you identify the image and message sewn into the jacket? How do you express yourself through clothing? Why do you think people wanted to take pieces of the jacket with them?
Lincoln’s Great Coat
Abraham Lincoln was wearing this wool and silk-lined coat when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865.
One Country, One Destiny
The silk lining bears a hand-embroidered detail: an eagle with a banner reading “One Country, One Destiny,” making Brooks Brothers’s gift meaningful for Lincoln.
Lincoln’s Second Inaugural
Lincoln wore this coat as he gave his Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865, and again the night of his assassination.
A Gruesome Souvenir
Lincoln’s blood stained the left shoulder. Over the years, people cut swatches of the fabric for themselves, eventually taking so much that the sleeve separated from the coat.
Protect Our History
The night of April 14, 1865, forever changed our national history. Together, Ford's Theatre Society and the National Park Service partner to protect the artifacts from that night. Through these objects, we can better understand how that single event transformed our nation. Give to Ford's Theatre to help continue sharing the stories that shaped a nation.