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Saturday, May 30, 2009

News of Lincoln's Death

February 12, 2009

News of Lincoln’s Death Reported in Rare Edition

By Kathryn Wilmot, Newseum curatorial specialist

Near the end of the Civil War on April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln attended the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. At approximately 10:15 p.m., Southern sympathizer John Wilkes Booth stepped into the president’s box and fired one fatal shot to the back of Lincoln’s head.

News of this great tragedy quickly spread via telegraph to newspapers across the country. The New York Herald issued numerous editions on April 15, 1865, informing the public of Lincoln’s rapidly deteriorating condition. Six versions of these editions are part of the Newseum’s collection of historic newspapers, including a rare, four-page “Extra” that told of Lincoln’s demise at 8:45 a.m. — more than an hour earlier than other editions.

The front page of this “Extra” contains a telegram written by Edwin A. Stanton, the secretary of war, to Maj. Gen. John Dix.

“Abraham Lincoln died this morning twenty-two minutes after seven o’clock,” the telegram stated.

This edition of the Herald is currently on display in the News Corporation News History Gallery. A new exhibit on Lincoln’s death, “Manhunt: Chasing Lincoln’s Killer,” is open Feb. 14 through Dec. 2009.
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