Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

Bangor, Maine

Hannibal Hamlin Death Couch

Abraham Lincoln's vice president took his last breath here on July 4, 1891. 

An old couch sits in the rotunda of the Bangor Public Library in Maine. Though somewhat inviting, visitors aren’t allowed to plop down atop it after perusing through the stacks of books. The last person to actually use the couch was a dying U.S. vice president.

Hannibal Hamlin was President Abraham Lincoln’s first vice president. He was also a United States Senator and Congressman from the state of Maine, a diplomat to Spain, and even served as Maine’s governor for about one month. His storied political career includes taking measures to ban alcohol consumption on the congressional floor, advising President Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, and returning to the legislative branch for two more terms after serving as VP.

Hamlin was dropped from the election ticket during Lincoln’s second run for president in favor of Andrew Johnson, who later became president when Lincoln was assassinated.

After retirement, Hamlin returned to his home state of Maine. On July 4, 1891 he collapsed while playing cards at the Tarratine Club in Bangor. He died later that evening on the couch that is now on display at the main branch of the Bangor Public Library.

Know Before You Go

The couch is currently on the first floor in the rotunda facing the library’s front desk. Go through the main front door and look to the right.