[Harp-L] Re: Abe Lincoln and his Hohner

Winslow wrote that others had debunked the idea that Abe Lincoln smoked
"sweet hemp" and that he couldn't have played a Hohner since they weren't
imported until 1868, fours years AFTER Lincoln was already dead. This quote
from the Huffington Post states ""Two of my favorite things are sitting on
my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner
harmonica." - Abraham Lincoln (from a letter written by Lincoln during his
presidency to the head of the Hohner Harmonica Company in Germany).  Hohner
was making harmonicas as early as 1857, and could easily have supplied a
harmonica to Lincoln as a gift during his presidency. As to the hemp,
Lincoln may WELL have used it often. He was easily a depressive person, and
historians note often of his gloominess. The hemp may have been an escape.
After a breakup with his eventual wife Mary Todd, he wrote: "I am now the
most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the
whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth.
Whether I shall ever be better I can not tell; I awfully forebode I shall
not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to


Now then, having said all that, Abe was not known to be a smoker. So whether
he made an exception for hemp is a question. The original quote about his
letter stated he wrote the letter in 1855, which could not be right because
Hohner wasn't producing harmonicas then, and Abe wasn't President yet
either. Hohner historians, the curator of the Hohner museum, state no letter
from Lincoln was ever posted on the walls of the museum. So the two issues
will probably remain myth, remain unresolved and lost in history. 


bill otten

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