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Lincoln handkerchiefs given to Tennessee museum


HARROGATE, Tenn. (AP) — Two handkerchiefs once owned by Mary Todd Lincoln have been given to a museum at Lincoln Memorial University.

The handkerchiefs will be on exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Harrogate in the fall.

The silk and cotton handkerchiefs are monogrammed with the initials “ML,” The News Sentinel reports.

Mary Lincoln would have used the items before her husband was assassinated, because they are not bordered in black, said museum Curator Steven M. Wilson. He said the items date between 1858 and 1864.

“Every artifact is in essence a clue about the character of Mary Todd Lincoln or Abraham Lincoln,” said Wilson. “And even small things like this bring us closer to a personal individual rather than an icon lost in history.”

The museum, which is in northeast Tennessee near the Kentucky border, doesn’t own other clothing that belonged to Mary Todd Lincoln, Wilson said.

Lincoln Memorial alumnus Randy Bumgardner donated the articles to the museum, after buying them in a 2010 auction. Bumgardner is general manager of the Blair House, the president’s Washington, D.C., guest house.

The handkerchiefs will go on display with a coffee and hot chocolate china set used by the Lincolns. The exhibit will also include handkerchief owned by Abraham Lincoln.

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