Lincoln's Pockets

Contents of Lincoln's Pockets at Assassination

So What?

What did Lincoln have in his pockets when he was assassinated? And so what? The contents of someone's pockets reveal a great deal about that person. What do you have in your pockets or bag? Let's take a look at what Lincoln had in his pockets and see what that says about President Lincoln.

So What???

I looked through the items in Lincoln's pocket the night he was assassinated, and I actually think they say quite a bit about him as a man and a president.

  1. Pocket Knife - Well, first, he wouldn't be able to get through security at the White House today with this in his pocket! I think that this pocket knife shows how practical Lincoln was a a man. He was from rural America, and men like that back then carried pocket knives. (So does my grandpa, for the record--he couldn't clear security at the White House, either).
  2. Confederate $5 bill - My first thought was, "Why in the world would Lincoln carry Confederate money. I Googled it and found out that Lincoln visited Richmond, Virginia about a week before his assassination. Maybe he kept and carried the Confederate $5 as a reminder of the Union victory.
  3. I don't think anyone in my family owns a handkerchief except my grandpa. Now we use disposable Kleenex, which seems a little cleaner than washing your snotty hankies, but its also a lot more wasteful. I think of people who monogram their stuff as being stuffy, but I don't think Lincoln was stuffy--so this just must be what people did back then.
  4. President Lincoln had several newspaper clippings in his wallet when he was assassinated. One that I read talked about radicals being critical of him, and the other one praised him and talked about a crowd cheering when he was compared to Andrew Jackson. At first I thought this was weird because Jackson was a "southerner" but then I remembered the Nullification Crisis when Jackson saved the Union, so that makes more sense that they might compare them.
  5. Pocket watch fob - This was hard. I had to look up the word "fob." According to Wikipedia, a fob is a medallion or ornament attached to a pocket watch to assist in handling the watch. This is like the wallet and the eye glass cleaner...I don't know that I really learn anything about Lincoln, but it is interesting because it is something nobody uses or has anymore.
  6. Glasses - If you look closely at the picture of Lincoln's glasses, you'll notice a little string holding the arm to the frames. This made me smile because I think Lincoln was probably a simple problem solving sort of guy. He could probably fix anything with grit, spit, and a little bit of duck tape.

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The Content of My Pockets