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King | Clarence [Hay | John] [Lincoln | Abraham]

Clarence King Memoirs: The Helmet of Mambrino

First Edition


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Letter from Secretary of State John Hay to General James Grant Wilson regarding a lock of President Lincoln’s hair. Octavo. vii, 429pp. Three quarter green morocco, title in gilt on spine, decorative compartments. Frontispiece portrait with issue cover. Marbled endpapers. Bookplate affixed to front endpaper. Top edge gilt. Letter affixed to front endpaper from Secretary of State John Hay to Gen. James Wilson Grant, dated November 8, 1902, in response to an inquiry over whether he still possessed a lock of Lincoln’s deathbed hair. Includes envelope. Letter notes that he “greatly regret[s] that I am not the possessor of a lock of Lincoln’s hair. I had a little of it for a year or two after his death, but, in some unaccountable way, it was lost.”

Comments: John Hay’s search for locks of Lincoln’s hair would be a lifelong passion for the friend of the slain president. In 1893, Hay wrote to Doctor Charles Sabin Taft, a bystander physician who attended to President Lincoln after being shot at Ford’s Theater, asking if the doctor had any strands of hair in his possession. Doctor Taft declined to barter for his memento, but in 1905, his son found the original letter and contacted Hay. In a hurry, the hair was purchased by Hay and promptly encased in a yellow ring. This yellow ring was sent to President Theodore Roosevelt on the occasion of his inauguration. He wore the ring to his inauguration, and it remains in the Theodore Roosevelt collection at Sagamore Hill. (Mearns, 1959)

Additional information

Location Published

New York


King Memorial Committee of The Century Association by G.P. Putnam's Sons


First Edition

Date Published



Leather bound


Near fine

Jacket Condition

King | Clarence [Hay | John] [Lincoln | Abraham]

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