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Abraham Lincoln: A Bicentennial Celebration University of Delaware Library Special Collections Abraham Lincoln: A Bicentennial CelebrationAbraham Lincoln: A Bicentennial Celebration

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George Alfred Townsend, 1841-1914.

The life, crime, and capture of John Wilkes Booth: with a full sketch of the conspiracy of which he was the leader, and the pursuit, trial and execution of his accomplices. New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, [1865].

Delaware native George Alfred Townsend became one of the most celebrated Civil War journalists. His reporting of the assassination and the events that followed is one of the most important contemporary accounts.

The assassination and history of the conspiracy: a complete digest of the whole affair from its inception to its culmination, sketches of the principal characters, reports of the obsequies, etc. Cincinnati: J.R. Hawley & Co., 1865.

This publication was one of the first detailed accounts of the events surrounding the assassination of President Lincoln to appear.

Rev. Rolla H. Chubb.

A discourse, upon the death of President Lincoln, delivered at Greenwich M.E. Church, Huron County, Ohio, June 1st, 1865. Mansfield, Ohio: Printed at the Herald Book and Job Printing Establishment, 1865.

In memoriam, Abraham Lincoln: assassinated at Washington, April 14, 1865, being a brief account of the proceedings of meetings, action of authorities and societies, speeches, sermons, addresses and other expressions of public feeling on reception of the news, and at the funeral obsequies of the President, at Buffalo, N.Y. Buffalo: Printing House of Matthews & Warren, 1865.

This memorial pamphlet prints news accounts, speeches by politicians, government proclamations, and sermons that took place in Buffalo, NY, immediately following the death of Abraham Lincoln.

Matthew Simpson, 1811-1884.

Funeral address delivered at the burial of President Lincoln: at Springfield, Illinois, May 4, 1865. New York: Carlton & Porter, 1865.

Rufus P. (Rufus Preston) Tapley, 1823-1893.

Eulogy of Abraham Lincoln: sixteenth President of the United States. [Biddeford [Maine]: Union and Journal Office, 1865.

Edward C. Slater.

The nation's loss: a sermon upon the death of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States; preached April 19, 1865, at the time of the obsequies at Washington, in the presence of Brig. Gen. S. Meredith, and the officers and soldiers of his command, and also a large concourse of citizens, at Paducah, Ky. Paducah: Blelock & Co., 1865.

The Lincoln memorial: a record of the life, assassination, and obsequies of the martyred President. New York: Bunce and Huntington, 1865.

This quickly-prepared publication provides a detailed account of the assassination and last moments of President Lincoln prepared from individuals present at the two events.

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The Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators

Hanging of the Lincoln Conspirators
Alexander Gardner.
"Conspirators arrive on the scaffold."

Following the death of John Wilkes Booth, eight of his co-conspirators were tried by a military tribunal. The fact that they were tried by a military tribunal provoked criticism from those who believed that a civil court should have presided. The trial lasted for about seven weeks, with 366 witnesses testifying. The verdict was given on July 5 and all of the defendants were found guilty. Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt were sentenced to death by hanging and Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold, and Michael O'Laughlen were sentenced to life in prison. Edmund Spangler was sentenced to imprisonment for six years. The conspirator John Surratt fled and lived in exile in Europe until he was captured and tried in 1867. Surratt was tried in a civilian court of the District of Columbia, instead of a military one, as his mother and the other conspirators had been. After two months, Surratt was released after a mistrial. He died in 1916 at the age of seventy-two.

The assassination of President Lincoln: and the trial of the conspirators David E. Herold, Mary E. Surratt, Lewis Payne, George A. Atzerodt, Edward Spangler, Samuel A. Mudd, Samuel Arnold, Michael O'Laughlin, compiled and arranged by Benn Pitman, recorder to the Commission. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach & Boldwin, 1865.

Trial of John H. Surratt in the Criminal Court for the District of Columbia, Hon. George P. Fisher presiding. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1867. Two volumes.

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Photographs of the Conspirators

Alexander Gardner, 1821-1882.

Alexander Gardner Photographs of Lincoln Assassination Conspirators

These photographs depict the execution of the four persons condemned as conspirators (Mary E. Surratt, Lewis T. Powell, David E. Herold, and George A. Atzerodt), July 7, 1865. Photographed by Alexander Gardner. (Reproductions of these photographs form part of the University of Delaware Library Digital Collections.)

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Currier & Ives Lithographs

The Assassination of President Lincoln
"The Assassination of President Lincoln, at Ford's Theatre
Washington, D.C., April 14, 1865"

These three prints depicting the assassination, death, and funeral of Abraham Lincoln were produced by Currier & Ives, the well-known lithographic company, following the tragic events of 1865.

"The Assassination of President Lincoln, at Ford's Theatre Washington, D.C., April 14, 1865"

Framed colored lithograph; in frame: 450 x 350 mm.

"The Death of President Lincoln. At Washington, D.C., April 15, 1865 - The Nation's Martyr"

Framed colored lithograph; in frame: 448 x 358 mm.

"The Funeral of President Lincoln, New York, April 25th 1865 - Passing Union Square. The magnificent Funeral Car was drawn by 16 grey horses richly caparisoned with ostrich plumes and cloth of black trimmed with silver bullion."

Framed lithograph; in frame: 466 x 365 mm

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Ford's Theater playbill
Ford's Theatre playbill for
the night Lincoln was shot,
April 14, 1865.

Ford's Theatre Playbill

The playbill for the night Lincoln was shot, April 14, 1865, advertised the play Our American Cousin.

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Relics of a Secular Saint

Following his death, objects owned by or associated with Lincoln quickly became relics and were highly sought after by his admirers and especially by collectors. Many, if not most of these relics have never been properly authenticated, but remain a fascinating part of Lincoln lore. The Lincoln Collection houses a number of these relics, including a piece of the bandage placed on Lincoln after he was shot. The tiny piece of cloth is pinned to a three-by-five inch index card which bears the note "A very rare relic, a piece of the bandage placed on Lincoln when he was shot. Willed to Christian C. Sanderson by Mr. John Rose, who was present at the assassination of Lincoln." Also present is another small piece of cloth accompanied by a typed note stating that "This bow was taken from the inside of the hat worn by Lincoln on the night he was shot in Ford's Theatre."

Daniel R. (Daniel Reaves) Goodloe, 1814-1902.

The southern platform; or, Manual of southern sentiment on the subject of slavery. Boston: John P. Jewett & Co., 1858.

Daniel Goodloe was a journalist, politician and abolitionist from North Carolina. This copy of his antislavery tract The Southern Platform is Abraham Lincoln’s personal copy and bears his signature dated "Sept 19 1858" on the title page.

George Francis Train, 1829-1904.

Union speeches delivered in England during the present American war. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson & Brothers; London: John Adams Knight, 1862.

George Francis train was a successful American merchant and entrepreneur who spent much of the Civil War period in England. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Union causes and this publication collects twenty-five speeches he delivered in England from 1859-1862. This copy of Union Speeches belonged to Abraham Lincoln and bears a presentation inscription to "His Excellency Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States" from the publisher, T. B. Peterson.

Reward poster
"$100,000 Reward! The Murderer of our late beloved
President, Abraham Lincoln, is still at large...,"
[ca. April 20, 1865].

"$100,000 Reward! The Murderer of our late beloved President, Abraham Lincoln, is still at large...," [ca. April 20, 1865].

This reward poster, issued by the War Department shortly after Lincoln’s assassination, includes descriptions of John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices John H. Surratt and David C. Harold (also known as David E. Herold). Following the assassination, Harold and Booth fled to a farmhouse in Virginia where they were discovered by Union Army soldiers on April 26, 1865. Booth was shot and killed, but Harold surrendered and was later tried executed for his actions.

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