The top hat worn by president Lincoln has grown to be one of the best selling presidential commodities. The hat itself was popular before its residence on Lincoln’s head (some people theorized it was stuck), in the early 1800’s. During the 17th-century, the hat had become a symbol of authority/prestige which some historians believe could have influenced Lincoln’s early political career, in which, it was theorized to be used as a gimmick . It is interesting to see just how it was used as a gimmick, as it added a few more inches to his already staggering figure. He still stands as the tallest president in the Unites States of America at six foot four. At that time, and even today, he stood out from the crowd–towering over them. It adds to the psychology gospel  that the taller you are, the more authority you seem to have. My discussion of height and authority is in fact addressing the larger matter of usable memory. American voters at the time of Lincoln’s presidential campaign made the connection with height and authority, which then leaded to the association with leadership and Lincoln–which is what America so desperately needed for the new presidency (and any presidential term for that matter). Quite literally, the gimmick was part of a political trajectory scheme. Using the political traditions that are validated by a stable past and using them to now show the stability and power that Lincoln wanted to represent.
We see that that the top hat has gone through the process of processual memory, as Lincoln has taken what was already popularized through the meaning of prestige and made it his very own meaning. In other words, when people today think about the the traditional top hat, they associate it with Abraham Lincoln. And so we see capitalism at its best using the processual process to its advantage and selling it to the ever growing demand. The top hat is reaching the commercial uses and commodified dimension of memory. Now attaching itself to something concrete though materialized memory. Businesses or even common folk are using the history of the top hat for profit. The historical memories are less commemorated via service or acknowledgement and are instead observed by buying more products. To take a case in point, see just how the top hat is being advertised in this eBay  ad tittle, “Black Magician Felt Arbaham Lincoln Tall Gentlemen Top Hat Costume G2102” Note: the seller of this item did spell Abraham wrong .
Here, we are taking a look at the different ways the top hat is being commercialized to make sure it covers all the possible needs of the consumer. The hat is used for a number of different purposes such as for impersonating and adopting images such as: magicians, the “English look,” the “Victoria gentleman look,” and for the “Abraham Lincoln look.” By extension this makes the hat more of a universal use for consumers rather than the particular community interested in a costume of Lincoln. So too the multi-demential collective memory Americans believe of Abraham Lincoln. Specifically, the five prominent images, which include: Savior of the Union, Great Emancipator, Man of the People, First American, and Self-Made Man–all can be impersonated by wearing the top hat . Almost taking on a new idea of collapsed commemorating a material object. Robert Wuthnow agrees when he writes, “we can never know what objects mean to individuals; we can only know how these objects relate to one another…” .
As the biographer Harold Holzer pointed out, Lincoln actually bought a new silk top hat the very same day he gave his famous speech  at the Cooper Institute in New York in February of 1860. The point in the map shows just where he bought the hat at the Knox Great Hat and Cap at 212 Broadway . This site to me is very interesting because there is very little information on it. Yet, it was a vital piece to the successful puzzle Lincoln was trying to built before making the speech that would win him the election (probably the most important speech of his life). Studies have indicated just how nervous he was before the speech. It is not clear, however, that this conclusion implies why he tok the tour of New York beforehand, in which, he might have needed to clear his mind before. Nevertheless he found the time to stop by Knox Great Hat and Cap to buy a silk hat. Actually, if you look at WHERE he was making the speech, it was no other than the fashion-conscious New York. Much to Lincoln’s embarrassment, his suit was reported to be “ill-fitted and ceased,” and his boots “cramping” his feet. It only makes sense that he goes on to buy a new hat instead of a new suit! We need to take a step back again and see just how important hats were to Lincoln. They protected him against inclement weather, served as storage bins for the prominent papers he stuck inside their lining, and, to reiterate once more, emphasize his great height advantage over other men .
Today, the top hat that Lincoln continued to popularize is being commercialized in the form of costumes. I have a link showing a website working with other third parties in selling top hats . Why only purchase a hat when you can get the whole costume and actually BE Abraham Lincoln?
 EBSCO Host Lincoln’s Top Hat: http://vb3lk7eb4t.search.serialssolutions.com/?genre=article&isbn=&issn=00377333&title=Smithsonian&volume=41&issue=7&date=20131101&atitle=LINCOLN%27S%20TOP%20HAT.&aulast=Carter,%20Stephen%20L.&spage=48&sid=EBSCO:Academic%20Search%20Premier&pid=
 Costume website: http://www.abrahamlincolncostumes.com/
 eBay page selling the top hat: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-Magician-Felt-Arbaham-Lincoln-Tall-Gentlemen-Top-Hat-Costume-G2102-/251635507555?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a96a52163O:Academic%20Search%20Premier&pid=
 AMST 384 class article: Barry Schwartz and Howard Schurman, “History, Commemoration, and Belief: Abraham Lincoln in American Memory, 1945-2001,” American Sociological Review 7 (April 2005): 183-203.
 Book addressing the Cooper Union speech: Holzer, Harold. Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2005. 40-52. Print.
 Here I added a hyperlink about an article posted by one of my favorite contemporary authors, Malcolm Gladwell. It talks a little bit about the psychology behind the authority and why we perceive it to be a means of authority: http://gladwell.com/blink/why-do-we-love-tall-men/
 Here is a link for more information about the importance of the Cooper Union speech Lincoln gave from the University of Michigan Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/2629860.0026.207/–lincoln-at-cooper-union-the-speech-that-made-abraham-lincoln?rgn=main;view=fulltext