Scoop Saturday: Lincoln’s Hair & Bloody Telegram Up For Auction

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Lincoln's Hair & Telegram Image One
Image Credit: United Press International via
RR Auction

The artifacts sold for an astounding $81,250 on September 12, 2020.

“[The] lock of hair and telegram, which provides details of Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, are expected to fetch up to $75,000.”

A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair wrapped in a telegram stained with the 16th president’s blood is up for auction online. [From RR Auction, based in Boston], [the two} inches of Lincoln’s hair was removed during his postmortem examination after the president was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth.

The hair ended up in the custody of Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd, a cousin of Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln. The doctor was present at the postmortem examination and is believed to have wrapped the lock of hair in the telegram which had been sent to him the previous day by his assistant, George Kinnear. The telegram is stained with what is believed to be the slain president’s blood.

Bidding for the two items closes Sept. 12.

Ben Hooper
August 28, 2020

The hair is mounted to an official War Department manuscript telegram sent to Dr. Todd by George H. Kinnear, his assistant in the Post Office at Lexington, Kentucky, received in Washington at 11:00pm on April 14, 1865 […]. [A] typed caption prepared by Dr. Todd’s son reads, in part: “The above telegram […] arrived in Washington a few minutes after Abraham Lincoln was shot.

Todd Death Notice Image Two
Image Credit: Kentucky Kindred Genealogy

Next day, at the postmortem, when a lock of hair, clipped from near the President’s left temple, was given to Dr. Todd. [Finding] no other paper in his pocket […] he wrapped the lock, stained with blood or brain fluid, in this telegram and hastily wrote on it in pencil […] ‘Hair of A. Lincoln.’

Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd‘s own account of the autopsy, now preserved in an 1895 manuscript held in the Ida Tarbell collection of Lincoln papers at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, differs slightly from his son’s, noting that he clipped the lock himself: “When all was over, General Hardin entered and handed me a pair of scissors, requesting me to cut a few locks of hair for Mrs. Lincoln. I carefully cut and delivered them to General Hardin and, then, secured one for myself which I have preserved as a sacred relic.”

Description From The Original Listing

11 thoughts on “Scoop Saturday: Lincoln’s Hair & Bloody Telegram Up For Auction

    Todd Garlington said:
    August 30, 2020 at 9:19 PM

    Weird world…

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      August 30, 2020 at 11:13 PM

      Ain’t it, tho…

    badfinger20 (Max) said:
    August 30, 2020 at 11:51 PM

    This is one of the coolest posts ever. I think it’s pretty cool…this is history. Not many people have an ex-president’s DNA.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      August 31, 2020 at 1:52 AM

      I was shocked when I started reading it. I had no idea Mary Todd’s cousin clipped his hair. And, the part about the paper having his blood and/or brain fluid…just…ewww.

      It is fascinating history despite my minor revulsion.

        badfinger20 (Max) said:
        August 31, 2020 at 10:15 AM

        This would sell for a fortune….if cloning started…you would have the seed to a little Abe running about.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          August 31, 2020 at 2:40 PM

          Oh, Lord…

          Clones. I’m having flashes of Star Wars in my head, now. Thank you for that brain bug! 😖

            badfinger20 (Max) said:
            August 31, 2020 at 3:36 PM

            Any time! I still say that would be cool to have.

    Dayphoto said:
    August 31, 2020 at 11:30 AM

    That is crazy wild. Wow.

    bayphotosbydonna said:
    August 31, 2020 at 8:51 PM

    Whoa, this is different. For a history buff from that time period, I guess it’d be a cool collector item!

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 1, 2020 at 2:07 AM

      That is pretty much what Max said, above. I’m having trouble getting past the brain fluid on the paper, tho… Just…yuck.

      I know clipping locks of hair was a thing back then, too. My own mother had a doll made with her hair when she was little.

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