Lincoln, chivalry, and stovepipe hats
Greetings from the Ridge.
Abraham Lincoln had at least three stovepipe hats. We know this because three still exist. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Ill. is one of the state’s treasures, almost making up for the Prairie State’s governors, and the centerpiece of the museum’s relic collection is one of Abe’s stovepipe hats. Unlike the other existing Lincoln hats made of silk, the Springfield hat was covered with beaver skin, giving it a sheen that’s missing in the other two. But the museum hat has a feature not visible in the other existing toppers... two small holes at the brim just above the right eye.
Anyone familiar with the life of our sixteenth President knows what caused these indentations now worn nearly through the fabric as Lincoln was known for always stopping to tip his hat to any lady he’d meet on the streets of Springfield. In fact, this gesture of civility was practiced by most cultured men of his day, and many gentlemen exchanged this same greeting as a sign of respect for each other. Modern day techies who don’t know how to shut off a text conversation might make use of this gesture in that tipping one’s hat once meant that the conversation was over... thank you very much.