“The Assassination of President Lincoln! A Nation in Mourning!!!”

The newspaper's report, the day he died, of the most impactful tragedy in American history

  • Currency:
  • USD
  • GBP
  • JPY
  • EUR
  • CNY
  • Info IconThis currency selector is for viewing only.
    The Raab Collection only accepts USD payments at checkout.
    Exchange rates are updated hourly. Rates may be inaccurate.
Purchase $8,000

The Assassination:

Abraham Lincoln continues to stand as America’s most beloved President. Of our nation’s historical icons, Lincoln is the quintessential embodiment of American possibility in his mythic-like rise from rail-splitter to Chief Executive and Emancipator of the oppressed. The admiration felt by Americans for Lincoln’s humble integrity, his performance in...

Read More

“The Assassination of President Lincoln! A Nation in Mourning!!!”

The newspaper's report, the day he died, of the most impactful tragedy in American history

The Assassination:

Abraham Lincoln continues to stand as America’s most beloved President. Of our nation’s historical icons, Lincoln is the quintessential embodiment of American possibility in his mythic-like rise from rail-splitter to Chief Executive and Emancipator of the oppressed. The admiration felt by Americans for Lincoln’s humble integrity, his performance in office, his noble statesmanship, and his keen sense of justice, is enduring. Lincoln is not given the highest marks just for character, but for the transformation of the nation that he left behind, which was both profound and long-lasting.

Polls of historians generally show their belief that Lincoln faced the hardest job of any president. He had to define the issues, inspire the people, be steadfast in the face of losses, win the Civil War, free the slaves, and lay the groundwork to reunite the nation. All that in the face of determined opposition. He accomplished all this in four years, but was assassinated on April 14, 1865, and his death left him unable to finish the job, a job that quite likely he was the only one with a chance to get completed in a way that would truly bring the nation together.

The end of the Civil War left the nation with two overwhelming questions: what to do with, and do for, the millions of freed slaves; and how to reintegrate the South into the Union. On the first point, Lincoln was focused on African American access to land, economic prosperity and legal rights, and had just approved Gen. William T. Sherman’s order distributing parcels of former slave plantations to the slaves themselves. Lincoln wanted black Union veterans to have the right to vote, which was a step to ultimately embracing full suffrage for African American males. In what proved to be his final speech three evenings before his death, Lincoln had become the first president ever to support black voting. Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, was a Southerner uninterested in fair treatment of the liberated slaves. He opposed plans designed to guarantee the civil rights of black Americans, and cancelled Sherman’s order granting land to slaves. Johnson accepted the draconian post-Civil War Black Codes which limited the rights and liberties of African-Americans, something Lincoln would never have done.

On the second point, the readmission of the Southern states, Johnson felt that once Southern states returned their loyalty to the national government, they could manage their own affairs. This meant they could pass any Jim Crow laws they liked. He opposed the Republican plan for Reconstruction of the South, including provisions designed to guarantee the civil rights of black Americans. The Republican Congress had no rapport with Johnson, and the initial four years era of Reconstruction, which was a disaster to the nation, was essentially a bitter battle between a North and South that remained locked in contention, presided over by a weak President Johnson and a Congress at loggerheads with him. Lincoln had enormous power and influence, some of which extended into the South. He saw the end of the war as an opportunity to not simply celebrate victory, but an opportunity to move the country forward. Johnson had no such feeling. Lincoln would have been much better placed to direct, moderate and ease the contentions of Reconstruction.

John Wilkes Booth was a member of a famous acting family and he enjoyed a phenomenally successful stage career during the Civil War: By 1864, he earned $20,000 a year, at a time when the average Northern family earned around $300 annually. A Marylander by birth, Booth was an open Confederate sympathizer during the war. A supporter of slavery, Booth believed that Lincoln was determined to overthrow the Constitution and to destroy his beloved South. After Lincoln’s reelection in November 1864, Booth devised a plan to kidnap the president and spirit him to Richmond, where he could be ransomed for some of the Confederate prisoners languishing in northern jails. That winter, Booth and his conspirators plotted a pair of elaborate plans to kidnap the president; the first involved capturing Lincoln in his box at Ford’s Theater and lowering the president to the stage with ropes. Booth ultimately gave up acting to focus on these schemes. Neither of the kidnapping plans bore fruit. On the evening of April 11, the President stood on the White House balcony and delivered a speech to a small group gathered on the lawn. Two days earlier, Robert E. Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House, and after four long years of struggle it had become clear that the Union cause would shortly emerge from the war victorious. Lincoln’s speech that evening outlined some of his ideas about reconstructing the nation and bringing the defeated Confederate states back into the Union. Lincoln also indicated a wish to extend the franchise to some African-Americans—at the very least, those who had fought in the Union ranks during the war – and expressed a desire that the southern states would extend the vote to literate blacks, as well. Booth stood in the audience for the speech, and this notion seems to have amplified his rage at Lincoln. “That means nigger citizenship,” he told Lewis Powell, one of his band of conspirators. “Now, by God, I’ll put him through. That is the last speech he will ever make.”

Three days later Booth made good on his promise. Upon learning that Lincoln and his wife intended to see the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater, Booth used his actor’s connections there to gain access to the President’s box. He shot Lincoln at about 10 pm on April 14, 1865 and Lincoln died about after 7 am on the 15th.

Dr. Charles Leale was in the audience. Leale leapt over theater seats, got to the president’s box and announced that he was a doctor. As he entered, the President was sitting in a chair with his eyes closed and head slumped. He already looked dead, Leale recalled. He felt Lincoln’s right arm for a pulse but couldn’t find one. He and some others eased Lincoln to the floor, and Leale began searching for the wound. “I quickly passed the separated fingers of both hands through his blood-matted hair…and I discovered his mortal wound,” Leale recalled. “The president had been shot in the back part of the head, behind the left ear.” Leale stuck the little finger of his left hand into the hole in Lincoln’s skull. “I then knew it was fatal and told the bystanders,” he wrote later. Leale knew he had to get Lincoln out of the theater to treat him. But he believed a carriage ride back to the White House would kill him. He and several other men lifted the president, and with Leale holding Lincoln’s head, they began to maneuver him outside. Across the street from the theater was the house of William Peterson and Lincoln was taken there. Lincoln was carried to a small back room, stripped of his clothes and covered with blankets. His 6-foot-4-inch frame had to be placed diagonally to fit on the bed. Leale ordered the window opened, and the wait began. A parade of anguished government officials and family members came and went. The President sank steadily, his breathing labored and his pulse nearly undetectable. At 7:22 am on April 15, President Lincoln breathed his last. Leale smoothed the contracted muscles of Lincoln’s features, placed two coins over his eyes, and pulled a sheet up over his face. Famously, Secretary of War Stanton saluted the fallen President and uttered, “Now, he belongs to the ages.” Stanton further eulogized Lincoln with the apt observation, “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen.”

Original report on the assassination, printed the very day he died

The public was hungry for information, and the newspapers equally hungry to report the momentous news. One of these was the Binghamton Daily Republican, and this is its issue of April 15, 1865, with black mourning columns.

The front page, as was routine at the time, was taken up by ads. The news then began on page two. There at top left is the headline “The Assassination of President Lincoln! A Nation in Mourning!!!” It begins “We feel too unfitted by this awful event to allude to the calamity, in terms, becoming its solemnity, and importance! LINCOLN IS DEAD! Struck down by the hands of a brutal assassin, in the midst of the triumphs which were commemorating his salvation of the country. A great man, indeed has fallen! The foremost man of his time is no more…We dare not contemplate what may follow this sad and inscrutable providence.” This was followed by a proclamation of the governor of New York. On page three were dispatches from 12:30 AM to noon to 3:00. An early dispatch reports that “the President was shot… and is not expected to live,” and told of the events of the assassination then available in detail. It mentioned “The screams of Mrs. Lincoln first disclosed the fact to the audience that the President had been shot.” Later it reported of Lincoln, “At midnight the Cabinet…a few personal friends, with Surg. Gen. Barnes, and his immediate assistants, were beside his bedside…The parting of his family with the dying president is too sad for description.”

At noon the newspaper had more news and reported, “Later concerning the President. He died this morning at 7:20. Two villains engaged in the horrible crime. The murder planned before March 4th.” At the bottom of the column is a report on the progress of the army of General William T. Sherman, saying that in response to Grant’s hope Sherman would pursue the remaining Confederates, Sherman said, “I think we’ll do it.” At 3:00 the paper printed the latest from Washington. It contained, “Full particulars of the Death of Abraham Lincoln,” plus “Inauguration of President Johnson” and Johnson’s statement on taking office.

Original newspapers reporting Lincoln’s assassination have become very scarce, this being our first in over a decade. This one is comprehensive and, with its black borders and large headlines, is evocative of the moment. and would be perfect for display.

Purchase $8,000

Frame, Display, Preserve

Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.

Learn more about our Framing Services