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  2. Textiles (132)

Abraham Lincoln's shawl

Origin Date:
overall: 128 in x 128 in
Item ID:
Holding Institution:
Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum
Available for Viewing:


Abraham Lincoln's dark-brown and white wool shawl is pieced and features a houndstooth pattern, 4 in fringe, and "JGN" embroidered in red thread in two corners. The shawl may have originally been black and white but has suffered discoloration and yellowing over time. Part of The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy of the Indiana State Museum The Lincoln Museum provided a copy of a letter signed by Barbara B. Benoit and notarized by Lillian M. Young. The letter reads as follows: "Center Harbor, N.H.; May 6, 1957; To whom it may concern: This is to certify that the Lincolnian shawl of black and white checked wool that I have sent to the Lincoln National Life Foundation of Fort Wayne, Indiana was received by me through the will of Miss Helen Nicolay, recently diseased. That before her death, Miss Nicolay told me that the shawl was given to her father, John G. Nicolay, private secretary to Mr. Abraham Lincoln, by Mr. Lincoln. [Signed] Barbara B. Benoit. State of New Hampshire, May 6, 1957; Grafton SS; This is to certify that Barbara B. Benoit personally appeared and made oath to the foregoing, before me, a Notary Public in and for the State of New Hampshire on this date. [Signed] Lillian M. Young, My Comm. expires 2/15/61." For more information about items in this collection related to John G. Nicolay see the online finding aid at https://archive.org/stream/nicolaycollectiogast#page/n1/mode/2up .