The night Lincoln was assassinated, he attended Ford’s Theatre wearing the frock coat, waistcoat, trousers, tie and boots pictured here. Black with little adornment, the suit was typical for a well-dressed man of 1865. Both the suit and size 14 shin-high boots are testimony to Lincoln’s height. At 6 feet 4 inches, he is to this day America’s tallest president. Barely visible on the black frock coat and knees of the trousers are stains of blood from the assassination.
Over his clothing, Lincoln wore a greatcoat custom made by Brooks Brothers for his second inauguration. Reportedly made of wool finer than cashmere, the coat includes intricate stitching on the inner lining of an eagle and the words “One Country, One Destiny.” After the assassination, Mary Todd Lincoln gave the coat to the White House doorkeeper Alphonso Donn, a favorite of the Lincolns. For generations, the Donn family guarded the coat from the many interested buyers including the likes of P.T. Barnum. In 1968 it was acquired by the National Park Service. In delicate condition, the coat is on display for a limited time in the Center for Education and Leadership as part of the special exhibition Silent Witnesses.