Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lincoln death details

After the Assassination: Images from HBO's Living With Lincoln Documentary - The Atlantic

A great article here with some fascinating photos and details about  Lincoln's death and aftermath.

I can't say I've heard of this before, for example:

After performing the inquest into Lincoln's death, U.S. Surgeon General Joseph Barnes cut off a lock of the dead president's hair and gave it to one of Lincoln's servants, a man named Thomas Pendel. Pendel, who became Lincoln's chief  doorkeeper in 1864, was noted for his striking resemblance to Lincoln: The doorman's lanky frame nearly matched the president's odd dimensions and his facial features were so uncommonly similar to Lincoln's that Pendel was sometimes mistaken for the president himself.

It was this uncanny similarity that initially endeared the doorkeeper to Lincoln's son Tad. And it was Pendel who was ultimately left to comfort Tad after news of the president's death reached the family home and Lincoln's son came running to his father's lookalike, screaming, "Oh Tom Pen! Tom Pen! They have killed papa dead. They killed papa dead."
Later that May, Mary Todd asked the servant to put on her husband's black broadcloth coat and model his presidential office suit in a posthumous portrait painted by the famed Boston-based artist William Morris Hunt.
Though Pendel was later described as a "simple, uneducated" man, his possession of this snippet of hair, cut from the head of his dead presidential doppelgänger, along with the
elegant broadcloth, made him a person of particular interest for Lincoln's archivists.
 If this had happened today, there would be an online community of Lincoln assassination conspiracists who have the real Lincoln living in Argentina, and 25% of the population would believe it.  

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