>A friend of mine saw these pictures on a Lincoln assassination forum. This piece of clothing is supposed to have belonged to the one and only John Wilkes Booth. It is part of a private collection and the owner believes it was a dressing gown, or as we call it today, a bath robe.
For argument’s sake, let’s say this is in fact a piece of clothing owned and worn by Booth. One thing stood out to me right away but I didn’t know enough about men’s clothing to say so with confidence. That is I have never seen a man’s dressing gown from the nineteenth century with a hood on it. I have never seen a woman’s dressing gown from the nineteenth century with a hood on it either and women’s clothing from that period is something I have researched extensively. I have seen women’s cloaks with hoods on them, but not men’s capes, and they were not cut in this manner.
In short, I have never seen a dressing gown like this. I have never seen a coat or cloak like this either.
So what is it? Was Booth taking fashion risks or was there something more to it?
I posted one of these pictures on my Facebook out of curiosity and someone made the comment that this piece of clothing looks like a robe worn by the early Ku Klux Klan. I inquired further and was reminded that there has existed a theory for a long time that Booth was the Washington area leader of the Knights of the Golden Circle. According to what I was told, this later morphed into the Klan. The theory has been made that if this piece of clothing did indeed belong to Booth, it was probably a ceremonial robe, and not a dressing gown.
What do you think?