You are invited to join the investigative team exploring the Lincoln relics!

We welcome public participation in the investigation of the Chicago Historical Society's cloak. You are encouraged to evaluate the historical and scientific evidence for yourselves and decide whether or not the cloak was wet with Abraham Lincoln's blood. We also need help locating other Lincoln assassination relics and relatives of Abraham's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln.

The Lincoln Relics Registry, a database of information on artifacts related to the assassination, will help investigators reassemble the cultural shards from this tragedy.

We are looking for information on other Lincoln assassination relics so that we can compare materials and ownership history. The registry describes the relics and their provenance. When available, photographic images will be included. Collectors' names may be kept confidential.

Learn more about gathering the material evidence!

Examine the Lincoln Relics Registry!

Tell us about your Lincoln assassination relics!

Genealogical research might locate a maternal Lincoln relative who could provide a mitochondrial DNA reference sample.
Mitochondrial DNA is passed on from mother to child. Although mutations sometimes occur, mitochondrial DNA can usually be traced through maternal relatives. Investigators are searching for female relatives of Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln; the last link in the chain could be a living male relative. Nancy Lincoln's genealogy has been a matter of dispute. Lincoln's law partner, William Herndon, suggested that she was illegitimate. Investigators would also have to find a relative willing to donate blood!
President Lincoln and Family Circle, John Smith, 1865.

The investigation of Mary Todd Lincoln's cloak is an ongoing project that began in June 1999.

Look for new discoveries here!

Ultimately, the case for Mary Lincoln's cloak may rest on an analysis of several assassination artifacts and a preponderance of both historical and scientific evidence, rather than a single irrefutable DNA specimen.

What is your opinion? Did the Chicago Historical Society's cape belong to Mary Todd Lincoln? Was it wet with Abraham Lincoln's blood? How can you support your conclusions?

Learn more about weighing the evidence!

E-mail your decision to the investigators!

Learn more about DNA analysis!
Do you know a relative of Nancy Hanks Lincoln? E-mail the investigators!

Cloak attributed to Mary Todd Lincoln (CHS 1920.976).