What happened to the Gillette Collection?


Anyone know whatever happened to the Gillette Collection? That’s an easy one, you say – sold by Heritage in 2008. That was ED Gillette. We’re talking about H. M. (Hezekiah) Gillett. Like Ed, H. M. Gillett was a successful lawyer, a resident of Bay City, Michigan. He graduated Cornell University in 1874, removed to Bay City in 1876, set up a law practice, married twice and was a pillar of the community. He apparently became a fan of Lincoln, having been a boy during the Civil War - he may even have seen Lincoln during this period or in 1860. In 1905, a book of cartoons was published containing portraits of ”Our Michigan Friends As We See Them.” In keeping with caricatures, these portraits incorporate distinguishing things that are associated with the subject-at-hand. Through the courtesy of Ted Hake, we publish Gillett’s image. He is surrounded by a bunch of Lincoln relics! (Rail Split by Lincoln, Lincoln’s axe, Lincoln’s tooth-brush, ”Lincoln stuff”, etc.) The guy was a Lincoln collector! The question is, whatever became of his collection. Who has it now? Was it dispersed? Was it passed down to descendants? The Bay City Historical Society could not provide any other information besides a brief biographical entry in a reference work. Gillett had four children (John, who worked in Cleveland, Gladys, Eleanor and Robert). Perhaps some genealogical research might locate their off-spring, rewarding the history detective with a treasure trove of… LINCOLN STUFF!!

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