Oct 22, 2015 - Sale 2394

Sale 2394 - Lot 165

Price Realized: $ 7,540
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
WHO SHOULD PAY FOR PRESIDENT'S INAUGURAL SUIT? LINCOLN, MARY TODD. Autograph Letter Signed, "Mary Lincoln," as First Lady, to the President's tailor Hindhaugh & Co, explaining that Mr. [William S.] Wood had arranged to have the President measured for a suit [in February] but none was ordered, and acknowledging that a suit was ordered by Mr. Wood [in June]. 1 1/4 pages, 8vo, written on the first and third pages of a folded sheet; verso of signature page mounted to larger board, short closed separations at folds. With address panel of original envelope mounted to same board. (TFC) [Washington, October 1861]

Additional Details

"There is no misunderstanding in the matter. Mr. Wood, without any order or unsolicited, had Mr L. measured for a suit of clothes. Of course, it was not supposed they were a present from you, but Wood mentioned that they were to be presented to the President. And nothing more was thought of it, until your bill was presented. Mr. Wood was requested to select the summer suit."
In 1861, Mrs. Lincoln received a bill from Hindhaugh & Co. reflecting charges for two suits. Mrs. Lincoln wrote to the presidential tailors on October 16 explaining that only the summer suit had been ordered (by William S. Wood). That Wood placed at least one order is confirmed by his letter to Hindhaugh & Co., dated June 27 (see Christie's New York, 10 December 1999, lot 119). That someone ordered another suit is shown by Wood's earlier letter to the tailors, informing them that their suit was worn by the President during his inauguration [present, see below]. It remains unclear both who ordered the suit worn by Lincoln during his first inauguration and who paid for it, if anyone.
with--William S. Wood. Autograph Letter Signed, "Wm.S. Wood," to "Messers W. Hindhaugh and Co": ". . . [T]he suit of clothes which you made for the President was worn by him at his inauguration on the 4th inst. and gave him such entire satisfaction that he wore it at the ball on the evening of that day. . . ." 1 page, 4to, ruled paper; mounted to a larger sheet with the address panel of the original envelope. Washington, 19 March 1861.
William Spencer Wood (1822-1883) was a New York businessman engaged to organize the rail transport and hotel accommodations from New York to Washington in advance of Lincoln's first inauguration on March 4, 1861. He was appointed Commissioner of Public Buildings by Lincoln, but was dismissed in the wake of corruption allegations.