Wet with Blood: The Investigation of Mary Todd Lincoln's Cloak
Sometime after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theater in April 1865, Elizabeth Keckly, the former slave and personal confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, acquired the opera cloak she was wearing that night. In 1890, Keckly sold it to an antiquities dealer, describing it as"wet with blood stains" on the night of the assassination.
This cloak is the centerpiece of this website devoted to the forensic drama surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. More than 100 images of artifacts, documents, photographs, and lithographs, in addition to more than 50 quotes from contemporary testimonies, illustrate how examining of a variety of types of evidence can help to illuminate this event. The website also includes two videos on techniques for examining material evidence; audio recordings of tunes from the period and a musical tribute to Lincoln that was performed at his Chicago funeral; and a virtual tour of the Chicago Historical Society's Conservation Laboratory. This website will be of particular interest to students of the Lincoln assassination, the history of museums and Americana collectors, and to those intrigued by the use of material culture to help answer questions about the past.
Read a more in-depth review of Wet with Blood written by William G. Thomas, III, of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
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