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Decorative Arts

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For many Lincoln collectors, the “decorative arts”—the clothing, furniture, furnishings, and household art—are relics.

President Lincoln, whose humble beginnings left no room for such finery, paid little attention to these details.  Mary Lincoln, though, was comfortably at home hosting social occasions for politicians and military men.  Her redecorations of the White House risked bringing scandal to the president because of their cost.

Mary bought French wallpapers, carpets, draperies, custom clothing, a French porcelain dinner and dessert service, and an elaborate, laminated mahogany bedroom suite.

Many of these pieces now reside in the Lincoln Bedroom in the White House and in Lincoln’s Springfield Home.