Mourning Lincoln

In reviewing boxes labeled as “unprocessed ephemera,” a colleague and I came across something really cool.  It is a tiny image of Abraham Lincoln framed in copper.

Lincoln Image

The donor of this item, Mr. L. Muse, sent a letter to the Lincoln Memorial in 1960, inquiring about the piece, stating it was included in a collection of papers belonging to the wife of General George McClellan.

Lincoln Letter 1

Lincoln Letter 2

The letter was answered by James T. Hickey, Curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Illinois State Historical Library.  He replied that based on Muse’s description, it was probably part of a mourning badge, worn during Lincoln’s funeral.  Mourning badges consisted of a small, framed image of the President that was attached to black ribbons and worn either pinned or as an armband. While our framed image is missing its ribbon, it remains in excellent condition.