This kepi is a “WIDE AWAKE” style Lincoln supporter political club oilcloth hat circa 1860. The Wide Awakes were a para military political club loosely affiliated with the “Know Nothing Movement” in the 1850s. By 1860, the Wide Awakes backed the new Republican Party and its candidate, Abraham Lincoln. There were hundreds of chapters of the club throughout the nation and they were considered a quasi-military organization with officers, uniforms, torches, banners, and some drill expertise. They functioned as a political police force, escorting campaign speakers and maintaining order at large political gatherings. They assembled at polls to protect voters and marched in parades in support their party. On October 3, 1860, 10,000 Wide Awakes marched in Chicago in a procession three miles long. Harpers Weekly illustrated the event in the October 13, 1860 issue of the magazine.
This kepi is constructed of oilcloth (enamel paint on fabric) with a cardboard brim. It is adorned on the front with a stamped brass metal eagle insignia (circa 1828 style well known and documented as used with the Wide Awake movement) and plain brass side buttons. This is an uncommon piece of headgear very specific to the American Civil War which is in attic-untouched condition overall.
The image of a young “Wide Awake” was found on the internet and is NOT included in this lot.