LINCOLN ASSASSINATION ARTIFACTS (where to find them)

UPDATED: July 29, 2013: Hi all: Thanks to some great comments and observations from my readers, I’ve made a couple of changes to the article.

TO MY READERS: If you know the location of any artifacts related to the assassination, conspirators and trial, execution, etc. that are not on this list, then please let me know and I will be happy to include your submittal, once confirmed.

Best. Barry

NOTE: The new listings are preceded by the designations (NEW-KSHS) Original Posting: August 3, 2008 – Barry Cauchon

Here is a list of locations where Lincoln Assassination / Aftermath Artifacts can be found in public institutions. Many more remain in private collections which are not listed here. If you know of any items that I’ve missed, please let me know and I’ll gladly add them to the list.

1. Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana  http://studebakermuseum.org/

  • Carriage that the Lincoln’s took to Ford’s Theatre on the night of the assassination

2. National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, DC  http://www.nmhm.washingtondc.museum/

The bullet, the probe and skull fragments from Lincoln's autopsy

The bullet, the probe and skull fragments from Lincoln’s autopsy

  • The ball (bullet) that killed President Lincoln recovered during the autopsy.
  • Skull fragments from Lincoln recovered during the autopsy.
  • The probe used by Dr. Barnes to remove the ball and skull fragments from Lincoln’s injury during the autopsy.
Path of bullet through John Wilkes Booth upper vertibrae

Path of bullet through John Wilkes Booth upper vertibrae

  • John Wilkes Booth’s 3rd, 4th and 5th Cervical (Neck) Vertebrae (showing the path of the bullet that killed him)
  • (NEW RN) – Blood stained cuffs from the lab coat worn by Dr. Edward Curtis (assistant surgeon who, along with Dr. Woodward, performed the autopsy on President Lincoln).

3. Smithsonian Institute – National Museum of American History  http://americanhistory.si.edu/news/factsheet.cfm?key=30&newskey=946

Although not assassination artifacts, here are a pair of cast hands and two plaster Life Masks made from 1st generation molds taken from Lincoln during his life. The original molds were made by two different artists, Leonard Volk and Clark Mills.

Cast hands by Leonard Volk

  • A pair of cast hands and the first Life Mask made in 1860 by Leonard Volk just prior to Lincoln’s nomination for president at the Republican convention.

  • The second was made by Clark Mills on February 11, 1865 just two months prior to Lincoln’s assassination.
Lincoln's Top Hat worn to Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865

Lincoln’s Top Hat worn to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865

  • Lincoln’s Top Hat that he wore to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865.
Drum and drumsticks used at Lincoln's funeral

Drum and drumsticks used at Lincoln’s funeral

  • Drum and drumsticks used during the funeral parades for President Lincoln in late April, 1865

Canvas hood worn by male conspirators during captivity for the Lincoln assassination

  • Canvas hood used to cover the head of one of the seven male conspirators during captivity. On April 25, 1865, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton ordered that the heads of all the conspirator prisoners be convered with a canvas hood. Only an opening in the area of the mouth and nose allowed breathing and eating. The hoods were worn 24 hours a day until June 6, 1865 when Major General John Hartranft, Special Provost Marshal in charge of the prisoners and execution had them removed. He felt that the prisoners were suffering too much because of the hoods. Mary Surratt was not required to wear the hood for fear that public indignation would be strong.

4. Library of Congress, Washington, DC http://www.loc.gov/index.html

Contents of Lincoln's pockets at time of his assassination

Contents of Lincoln’s pockets at time of his assassination (with the exception of the newspaper which was published after the assassination).

  • The contents of Lincoln’s pockets from the night of the assassination. Some of these items include: nine newspaper clippings, a pair of spectacles and a pair of reading glasses and their cases, a lens polisher, a watch fob, a pocket knife, a brown leather wallet containing a Confederate $5.00 note and a linen hankerchief.

  • The playbill from the April 14, 1865 performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre

5. Chicago History Museum  http://www.chicagohistory.org/

Lincoln's Deathbed from the Peterson Home

  • Lincoln’s deathbed originally from the Peterson House located across the street from Ford’s Theatre. Lincoln was so tall, he had to be laid diagnally across this bed to fit
  • Other furniture from the Peterson house includes a rocking chair, bureau, candlestick, engraving, and gas jet
  • Mary Todd Lincoln’s blood-stained cape that she wore on April 14, 1865
  • Padded hood used by one of the male conpirators while in captivity after the assassination

6. Ford’s Theatre, Washington, DC http://www.fordstheatre.org/ or http://www.nps.gov/foth/

Ford's Theatre circa 1860s

Ford’s Theatre circa 1860s

Derringer used to assassinate President Lincoln

  • John Wilkes Booth’s derringer used to shoot President Lincoln
Booth's knife and sheath

Booth’s knife and sheath

  • Booth’s knife and sheath used to stab Major Rathbone on the night of the assassination
John Wilkes Booth's boot

John Wilkes Booth’s boot

  • Booth’s boot and spur
  • Inner door where Booth had carved a small peep hole to see the President prior to assassinating him.
  • Wooden stick used by Booth to wedge the outer door shut to the Presidential Box.
  • The dress coat that Lincoln wore to the theatre that night.
Chair from Presidential Box at Ford's Theatre April 14, 1865

Chair from Presidential Box at Ford’s Theatre April 14, 1865

Dr. Samuel Mudd's medical kit

Dr. Samuel Mudd’s medical kit

  • Dr. Mudd’s medical kit
Booth's compass found on him after his death

Booth’s compass found on him after his death

Booth's Diary written during his 12 days on the run after the assassination

Booth’s Diary written during his 12 days on the run after the assassination

  • John Wilkes Booth Compass and Diary

Wanted Poster

  • Wanted Poster
  •  US Treaury Guards Flag from Presidential Box which Booth’s spur caught on when he jumped to the stage.
U.S Treasury Flag which Booth caught his spur on when jumping from the Presidential box

U.S Treasury Flag on which Booth caught his spur when he jumped from the Presidential box

  • Original Framed portrait of George Washington from the Presidential Box

7. Peterson Home, Washington, DC.  (Note: This is a National Parks Service site across the street from Ford’s Theatre. The Peterson Home does not have it’s own website but here is the NPS site) http://www.nps.gov/foth/

Peterson House across the street from Ford\'s Theatre, Washington DC

  • The house itself is a protected landmark by the National Park Service. It is the place where Lincoln was taken after being shot at Ford’s Theatre (just across the street). Lincoln died at 7:22am on April 15 in the first floor bedroom

10. Kansas State Historical Society http://www.kshs.org/cool3/lincolnplaybill.htm & http://www.kshs.org/cool/gallowssection.htm

 The following two artifacts are currently on display at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka, KS in an exhibit called Lincoln in Kansas. The show is currently on and runs until July 26, 2009. These two artifacts are normally not on display and have been brought out for this specific exhibition.

Blood-stained playbill from night of the assassination

Blood-stained playbill from night of the assassination. Courtesy of Kansas State Historical Society.

  • Blood splattered playbill fragment picked up by patron at Ford’s Theatre on the night of the assassination.
Gallows section from Lincoln Conspirators

Gallows crossbeam from the Lincoln Conspirators executions. Courtesy of Kansas State Historical Society

  • Section of the gallows crossbeam used to hang the four condemned Lincoln conspirators (Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt).
 11. Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan  http://www.thehenryford.org/museum/index.aspx
Rocking Chair (prior to restoration) used by Lincoln on night of the assassination

Rocking Chair (prior to restoration) used by Lincoln on night of the assassination

 12. Historical Society of Quincy and Adams Counties, Illinois  http://www.adamscohistory.org/

Note: These items are not on public display (see video news story link below)

  • Padded hood worn by one of the male Lincoln conspirators during their 2 months in captivity

  • Manicles worn by Lincoln conspirators

  • Keys to the conspirators’ jail cells

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-743969467360523349

13. Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia http://www.collphyphil.org/mutter.asp

  • (NEW-RN) Tissue from John Wilkes Booth cervical vertebrae (originally labeled as part of his thorax)

See   http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln83.html

14. Lincoln Room Museum in the Wills House, Gettysburg, PA. http://willshousegettysburg.com/

  • (NEW-RN) Hair sample from Abraham Lincoln’s autopsy.

15. Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana http://www.in.gov/ism/

  • (NEW-RN) Hair sample from Abraham Lincoln’s autopsy (Note: This item was part of the Lincoln collection obtained from the Lincoln Museum, Ft. Wayne, IN which closed in June/08).

16. Weldon Petz Abraham Lincoln Collection, Plymouth Historical Society & Museum, Plymouth, Michigan  http://www.plymouthhistory.org/lincoln.html

  • (NEW-RN & Dan Parker Plymouth Historical Museum) – Hair sample donated by Surgeon General Barnes family. Hair was culled from Abraham Lincoln’s during the initial exploration of the president’s wound after being shot.

  • Additional assassination artifacts (tbd) 

17. Huntington Library, San Marino, California

  • (NEW-BH) – Lewis Powell’s knife used in the attack on Secretary of State William Seward on April 14, 1865.

—————————————————————–

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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113 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog! Thanks for all of the work you put into it. I am adding you to the blogroll on mine….

  2. Hi Christy: Thanks for the kind words. I looked at your blog and really enjoyed it too. Please allow me to add you to my blogroll as well.
    Barry

  3. Thank you. What a compliment!

  4. I have a playbill from the April 14, 1865 performance of Our American Cousin at Fords Theatre. It has been passed down in the family and I’m really not sure of the origin. I would like to get it appraised. Any ideas?

    • please forward a photocopy of your play bill. I own an original, an 1865 reproduction and easily spot fakes. thanks

  5. Hi Mike: Wow. If you have a genuine playbill from the night of the assassination, I would suggest (without being an apprasier) that it would have a very high value to a collector or museum. Remember, next year is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth so Lincoln-mania will be in high swing. But so will the opportunists looking to present bogus artifacts for profit. Buyer beware! You will face this kind of skeptism if you do not have solid documentation to prove the playbill is real.

    If I was a collector, the first thing I would insist on knowing is that the piece is authentic. That’s only logical. There have been many attempts over the years to produce faked artifacts and photos, and I would assume playbills could be susceptible to that too.

    The first thing that needs to be done is get it authenticated. To do this, you’ll need to get it into the hands of a qualified expert. They will want to know what the history of the piece is. How did your family come to own it? The piece may be authentic, but part of proving that usually requires back up information that can be traced and confirmed.

    What is the condition of the playbill? How well has it been preserved. Does it have creases, tears, blemishes, etc? All these considerations affect the price in the world of high priced collectors.

    Your best bet would be to go to museum that actually owns an original playbill and have them compare the two. If genuine, the paper, printing, size and other elements that make them unique, will be identical to one another.

    Don’t get me wrong, if this is real, you will have collectors and museums scrambling to add this to their collection. Your challenge will be to prove the playbill is genuine.

    Best
    Barry

  6. Barry,

    I noticed Mike’s comments on Aug. 19, 2008 in reference to a playbillfrom the night of Lincoln’s assassination at Fords Theatre, and your comments. Our family has also passed down a playbill from the April 14, 1865 performance and two ticket stubs. If you know of one, and would please send me the name and contact information of a museum that has an original playbill and tickets, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your assistance,

    Jim

    • Check out the railsplitter.com. They have a large auction every year of Lincoln items/artifacts and a pair of Ford’s Theater tickets were offered for sale last fall. Apparently, less than 10 known tickets exist. A pair from the Forbes collection once sold for over $83,000.00.

      • Very interesting Joe. I’ll definitely post that information. Thanks for letting us know.
        Best.
        Barry

  7. Hi Jim: Thanks for the note. To answer your question immediately, here are several locations where authenticated original playbills are found.

    1. Ford’s Theatre Museum, which has been closed due to renovations, opens again on Lincoln’s birthday in February.

    2. Library of Congress, Rare Books and Special Collections Division. They have an original playbill as part of the Alfred Whital Stern donated collection.

    3. The National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Division of Social History, Political History, Behring Center. It was a gift of Grace Wright.

    4. University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware, Lincoln Collection.

    The story of the playbill needs an article written about it. Stay tune and perhaps you’ll see one here shortly.

    I hope this has helped for now. As I come across more locations, I will let you know.

    Please contact me at outreach@awesometalks.com and we can converse directly. Do you have scans of the playbill and tickets? It would be good to see if they are copies, forgeries (of which many were made) or the genuine articles.

    Best
    Barry

  8. Hi Jim: If you want to contact these organizations, ask for the librarian or curator of the collection. Assuming they have the time and generosity to address your questions, I’m sure you will learn a lot from these fine people. And they can certainly direct you to other sources if you do not find the information you are looking for.

    Barry

  9. I have recently came across a wanted poster dated april 20th 1865 but it has a playbill printed on the left side of it. I dont know if this is an original or not. Ive been looking on the internet for something like it but i have not seen anything like it if anyone can tell me a way to find out will be helpfull.
    Thank you Jeremiah

    • Hi Jeremiah: Do you have a picture of the piece that I could look at? I would recommend that you send it to my email rather than posting it here. outlook@awesometalks.com.
      You say that it is a Wanted Poster but also has a playbill on the left side. Are both printed on the same face?
      What would help is if you can take some exact dimensions of the paper page itself and the size of the two printed images (playbill and Wanted poster). As well, what is the playbill for? Was it for Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre?

      I don’t want to give you false hope about this being an original. There are very few known genuine Wanted Posters known in the world today. You see, after the assassination, many items became collector items but then an even bigger market occurred with copies being made. Both Wanted Posters and the Ford’s Theatre playbill copies were produced in large numbers. There are various ways to verify an original ‘copy’ (which in itself would be an intersting item to own). But I have never seen or personally heard of a combined print of both items. If the Wanted Poster and the playbill is on the same sheet, it’s almost certainly not an original. It may even be a modern copy. But I am making a lot of assumptions here as you can tell. I never say never Jerimiah.

      Tell me as much as you can about the piece such as where you got it, what show the playbill is from (and the date), etc. The more history you can give about the piece, the better chance we will have to identify its validity.

      I hope this helps and I look forward to speaking with you further.
      Best
      Barry

      • Barry, were you able to verify whether or not the “Our American Cousin” playbill and Booth’s reward poster could have been printed side by side as an authentic poster?

      • Hi Miranda. Yes I was able to confirm that this item is not an authentic poster. It is a compilation of two posters combined on one broadside. I’ve seen quite a few of these. Ford’s Theatre gift shop sells this although I do not know if they were the creator of it. I’m going on memory here but I believe the Ford’s Theatre playbill shown on this broadside is one of the fakes (not original). The history of both these documents are fascinating. Many experts in teh Lincoln assassination field get constant questions and submittals from good folks wanting to know if what they have is genuine. Most of us are happy to comment on this. I personally know much more about the history of the playbills and wanted posters then I ever thought I’d know. Both have many versions that are known fakes nowadays. Whether intentional or not, these are not originals and often fool people (sometimes fraudulently). I am always happy to help people with trying to educate them on what they have, or are thinking of buying, before they actually invest. I hope this answered your question.
        Have a great day.
        Best
        Barry

    • Jeremiah, were you able to find out if your poster/playbill was original?

  10. What a great and interesting site you have. You should be commended for all the hard work you have done and continue to do. You could not have picked a greater subject. If all Presidents could be 1/4 as honest, humurous and sincere as Lincoln was!!

  11. Hi Lisa: Thanks for your kind words. Lincoln is indeed a wonderful person to research and write about. There are some really good sites that cover Abraham Lincoln and certainly some fantastic books. Since this is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, you will see a lot of great information come out this year in books, DVDs, a movie starrring Liam Neeson, etc.
    What do you do and what got you interested in Abraham Lincoln?
    Best
    Barry

  12. My wife and I recently purchased our grave plot (yes, somewhat morbid, but a person has to think of these things especially with a family) and it is directly across from Laura Keene’s grave. This just happened to be by chance and not request. (Personally, I wanted to be buried next to William Magear “Boss” Tweed).

    • That is an amazing coincidence. And both are buried in the same cemetery in Brooklyn.
      As an historian, I’m sure it was a decision that may have been guided by fate. One never knows.
      On another note, I agree with you that estate planning should not be put off. It’s important for our families.
      Thanks for the kind note.
      Best
      Barry

  13. good site!

  14. GREAT WEBSITE! My wife and I visited Ford’s Theatre back in 1978 while in Washington D.C. I remember going to the basement to discover a treasure trove of Lincoln memorabilia i.e. the derringer, bloodstained topcoat, etc. I just couldn’t believe my eyes that I was actually seeing these historical items in person. Your website photos brought back alot of fine memories of our visit and the things we saw. Thanks for sharing this piece of history with us.

    • Hi John. Thank you for your kind words.
      My only time to Ford’s Theatre was when I was living in Hampton, Virginia and took a school trip there. I’m guessing sometime around 1970. On that same trip we also went to Arlington Cemetary and saw President Kennedy and Robert Kennedy’s gravesites. That trip really stuck with me and began my long interest with history ever since.
      Ford’s Theatre has just reopened this week after being closed for almost 1-1/2 to 2 years for renovations. Go to their website at http://www.fordstheatre.org/ for what is current happening there. One of the companies I work with, just installed the circular showcase that will house Lincoln’s coat. It’s a fabulous museum and theatre. I really cannot wait to get back there again.
      Thanks for your comment. It’s great to talk about Ford’s Theatre and bring back those memories for me.
      Best
      Barry

  15. Oh yes, I forgot to mention–today is Abe’s 200th Birthday!!!! May he rest in peaceful slumber!

    • You are correct John. But not only is Abe Lincoln 200 years old. Charles Darwin also was born on the same date, February 12, 1809. He too is 200 years old today!!!

  16. This is a very informative site. I enjoyed looking at all the artifacts. That’s great that a lot of it has been preserved over the years.

    • Hi James. Thank you very much for your compliment. I appreciate it a lot. There are many artifacts that have been saved in the museums but many more are still out there in private collections. A couple of years ago the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum received a very large private collection from the owners. This was where his white gloves that he carried with him on the night of the assassination came from. There are many other smaller museums that have funeral ribbons and other artifacts that I’ve yet to discover. But I’m always looking for new leads. If you know of any, please let me know.
      Thanks again for your nice words.
      Best
      Barry

  17. Oh Oh, I also have a playbill that has been passed down through my family. I believe my mother said it was authenticated but I want to start the process over again to be certain. It’s condition is as good as any I’ve seen on the web and better than most, it’s always been framed.

    • Hi MCCJH88: It would be fantastic if you had an original playbill. If I remember correctly, less than 10 authenticated ones are known to exist. Right after the assassination, counterfeit playbills and wanted posters were printed by entrepreneurs as they became a profitable commodity. Unfortunately, over the years and well into the 20th century, reprints of these continued to be made.
      I am certainly not an expert on these items. The best bet would be to contact a museum that has an authenticated playbill and see if they will do a direct comparison with their original.
      I really hope that it is the genuine article. Please let me know what you find out. Good luck with it.
      Best
      Barry

  18. Barry,
    Thanks for the reality check, I shouldn’t get to excited coveting something that only 10 have but who knows, I would like to get it authenticated. Could you recommend a source I could ship to, I live in New Mexico?

    John

  19. [...] DNA would not be the same as his. There are some hair from Lincoln in few of collections. (LINCOLN ASSASSINATION ARTIFACTS (where to find them) A Little Touch of History) I think they can get only mtDNA unless they can find follicle where the hair was yanked out rather [...]

  20. Hello all! I’m Paul. I’m visiting this place periodicaly.
    And always glad to find new info i need!
    Thanks to author for a great web site :)

  21. Hi Barry! Awesome site! You have (and do) provide excellent reference material. Thank you! Ten years ago, I visited D.C. on a business trip, and was able to go to Ford’s Theater and the Peterson house. At the time, it was a “non tour” deal, whereby you could just go in and meander around and do what you wanted. Then I was able to go alone over to the Peterson house and snoop around. It was pretty awesome.

    Just yesterday, I took my 15 year old daughter there, and it was a real pain in the you know what. Your readers should know this. We had to go in and get tickets, then stand in a line outside (as in sidewalk) with 70 people minimum, just to get back into the theater. We then were put into the auditorium with what had to be 100 MORE people by this time, and we waited for a park ranger to come on stage and talk. After that talk and then museum stop, people would be escorted across the street to the P house.

    Being the adventurer I am, I grabbed my daughter and took her upstairs to the upper level, and we walked towards the balcony where he was shot. We tried to open the door but it was locked. Oh well. We tried! We then sat back down and along came an old guy named Frank who dronely said, “HEllo, welcome to Ford’s Theater”. My kid and I looked at each other and we were both thinking the same thing. Let’s leave.

    We left the theater part, kind of snuck in to the museum (think movie theater style sneak-ins lol) and went to lunch. An hour and a half went by, we circled the block and there in line at the P house were about 60 people, ALL fom our original group. It was hot out, and people looked aggravated!

    My point? They should have left well enough alone in that place. It was MUCH better when you could tour it yourself, with guides as an option.

    We were very disappointed.

    Anyway, thanks again for your efforts!

    • Hi Sullivan Ballou: Thank you very much for your comments. I really appreciate them. I’m on vacation this week and apologize for not posting your comments earlier. I think your assessment of the new tour system that the National Park Service has instituted does leave a little to be desired. I have heard similar comments about Ford’s Theatre and its renovation and many people are disappointed with the new approach. People are unhappy that things weren’t left just the way they were.
      Coming from the museum industry I can see both sides of the issue and why things are set up the way they are. I certainly have great, and I mean GREAT respect for the NPS and the efforts they take to not only protect our historical treasures, but share them with the public as well. Museums all over the country (and the world) are struggling right now with funding as well as a younger and more impatient audience and so I’ve seen a struggle between old world and new in developing these new museums and renovating/restoring old ones. I believe Ford’s Theatre and the Peterson Home are two such icons that may have ‘for now’ fallen into the trap of ‘get them in, get them out’ as fast as possible for financial reasons.
      However, whatever the reason for the NPS’ ‘rushed approach’, I still take the stance that the visitors are paying customers who want to see and experience history. No one should walk away from an historical tour, museum or event feeling like they were just a number. When it only becomes about pulling in more money, and the ‘experience’ and ‘presentation’ for the public are forgotten, then someone should really take a closer look at it. A balance can be struck.
      In the end, I’m sorry that your visit was ‘underwhelming’ but am glad you figured out a way to give your daugther at least a little taste of how things used to be. As well, thanks for sharing your experience with my readers.
      If anyone else has had similar, or different experiences, please feel free to share them here as well.
      Have a great day and thank you again for your comments.
      Best.
      Barry

  22. Barry,

    On/a Dec 2008, Jennifer wrote that she had a wanted poster with the Theater Playbill on the left side. Did you ever find any info.

    I too have a poster with a playbill on the left side. If you would like to see it, send me an email address where I can send some copies.

    the poster measures approx 13 1/2 in x 15 1/2 inch’s. It is torn on the corners, dark on one side, looks like its printed on some type of parchment paper,

    I purchased it at a local auction several years ago along with many other items stuffed in a box. There were several report to parent cards (Report Cards) and a few other items dated 1927.

    The poster was folded and is now torn were it was folded 4 tlimes and placed in a plastic sleeve.

    Thanks for keeping your site going. It is indeed one of the best, if not the best on the internet.

    Larry
    Florida

    • Hi Larry: Thanks for your comment. Jeromiah wrote me on December 30 asking about this very same item. I responded here but also asked him by private email to forward an image of the document but unfortunately never received a reply. So to answer your question, I did not find out much more about the poster at that time.
      However, if I remember correctly, I did ask one or two experts about it and I believe they gave me a response. However, I’m on vacation right now and do not have access to those emails. I will be back in my office on Monday, August 17 and will be happy to look into it for you. In the meantime, if you could send me an jpeg or pdf of the poster, I’ll be happy to look at it and respond.

      The original Theatre Playbill was a narrow vertical piece. These posters were most likely made in later years as replicas. However, I just can’t be more specific at this time until I get back to my notes.

      Until then, thanks so much for commenting. I’ll do what I can to assist you with your research.
      Best
      Barry

      • When was this updated last. I have access to locations of a number of items from Lincoln’s life, death and history. http://www.LMUnet.edu/museum The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Harrogate TN

      • Hi Thomas. It has been awhile since I updated the article. Please touch base with me at outreach@awesometalks.com and I am happy to review the items and locations where they can be found. I look forward to chatting with you.
        Best
        Barry

  23. Fantastic info here. Would anyone happen to know if President Lincolns name was actually on the play bill. I am about to purchase one and it in fact references The President attending. I have heard that the President was not mentioned on the authentic play bills. Thank you!

    Mark

    • Hi Mark: Thanks for the question. Right off the bat I can help you here. I’m not sure where you are buying the playbill but I can almost 99.999999% assure you it is a copy and not an original. There are only about 6 originals known to exist and they are all in museums and private collections. However, just a short time after the assassination, copies were made of the playbill were printed and sold in the thousands. Experts will tell you that there are printing mistakes in the copies. As well, there was no mention of President Lincoln appearing that night. The theatre did not even know he was coming until the morning of April 14. Booth was picking up his mail at Ford’s Theatre at the time the word was received and it was right then that he decided that night would be the night he would kill the President. Up until that time, his plan had always been to kidnap him instead.
      Anyway, copies and replicas of the playbill have been printed and reprinted for years (as late as the 1920’s if I remember correctly). So this is one time I can assure you that the playbill is strictly a replica. An authentic one would cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
      Still, on old replica is pretty cool too.
      I hope you get a good deal. Let me know how it goes.
      Best
      Barry

  24. I was watching a Pawn Stars episode where a guy brought in a Ford’s Theater Playbil but since it also mentioned the president it was obviously a replica, But it made me remember that I had one framed and up in the attic for many many years. I dug it out and althought it didn’t mention the President I compared it to a photo on your website as well as the smithsonian’s. I believe it is also a replica as the names of the supporting actors are not staggered but in a straight line and the “Benefit of Mis Jean Gorley in the Octoroom” Section is also missing. Too bad, but I was wondering if you thought that these replica’s had any value at all or would only an authenticated one have any value?

  25. Did you ever find anything about that wanted poster with the playbill attached?

    • Hi Steve: I apologize for not responding sooner. No. I’m afraid I’ve not found anything about a combine wanted poster with playbill. I would venture to say that it was one of many souvenir replicas that were created after the assassination (of which there were many versions and which were created for years and years).
      The original playbills were immediately reproduced (with corrections and additions/deletions) but none of the originals were ever made together. John T. Ford used his local printer to make all his playbills. He was incarcerated almost immediately after the assassination as one of many ‘suspects’ rounded up by the authorities. The wanted poster (I believe) was issued by Stanton’s office (Secretary of War). The two did not work together to make this poster.
      I’m sorry I can’t be of more help at this time.
      Best
      Barry

  26. Cool Article! That was an awesome article. I am studing Abe Lincoln and this gave me a lot of new facts. Thx again!

    • Hi Rita: I’m very happy that the article was able to help you out.
      Best
      Barry

  27. Barry–Your Blog is tremendous and I wish it was here before I retired from 35yrs of teaching in 2000!What really impresses me is “State Your Case”!You have to be a Saint to remain neutral!If you do not mind,Please tell me what you do for a Vocation?

    • Hi Herb: Thanks for the comment. Regarding STATE YOUR CASE, I felt that it was only fair to the neutral publicly. I wanted the feature to be a place for student researchers to have a chance to ‘strut their stuff’. Tim did a great job with his research and presentation, and although he has gotten a lot of opposition to his theory, he also received some kudos as well. It was a nice balance and it sparked generally constructive conversations about the photo. That is what I think I like the best about his case. It got a range of reactions, therefore got everybody thinking. So much so, that I even had one expert double checking some information just to be sure. Tim may not have gotten the approval he had hoped for, but I think he did a far greater service to the field by getting people to question it from all angles. You can’t convince everyone, but if you can raise a shadow of doubt, you’ve done a good thing. I think Tim accomplished this and now has people talking.
      Regarding my neutrality, the author of the piece always knows my stance in advance. I try to point out the pros and cons that they may face once their article is posted. In the end, it is their work that has to try to prove their case to the masses. I’m here to help, but also have to attempt to keep the peace as this kind of thing can also get everyone’s ‘blood boiling’. People are certainly passionate about Lincoln.
      My vocation is that I’m a Senior Project Manager in the museum exhibit industry. I was also the Sr. PM on the current touring exhibit of the King Tut exhibit which started up again in 2005. I worked on that from 2004-2005 before moving on to other projects. So I am so lucky to get a chance to go ‘behind the scenes’ to see some of the coolest objects in museum collections when they are still not behind the glass. Fun stuff for sure.
      I look forward to hearing from you more in the future.
      Best
      Barry

  28. hi great, i would like to known ? The 5.00 dollar confederate note LINCOLN had, who WERE THE SINGNERS ON THE 1864 NOTE.

    • Hi Arthur. Thanks for your comment. I can’t honestly tell you who the signers were on the 1864 Confederate note. However, I will put the question to my readers and perhaps they can answer your question.
      Best
      Barry

  29. For those of you still wondering about your playbills’ authenticity I have posted some information that might help you here:

    http://www.lincoln-assassination.com/bboard/index.php?topic=245.0

    Also, Barry, I been reading your blog for awhile and I love it. It was through you that I found the Lincoln Assassination forum. Many Thanks!

    ~Dave T.

  30. Excellent Site, great to see some of these artifacts I never knew existed.

    • Hi Lee: You caught me just as I was leaving the site. I’m glad you like it. I’m planning an update on this article as it has been awhile since I revised the information. I have more info to add to that article. Glad you liked it though.
      Best
      Barry

  31. I have original newspaper clipping reporting on the shooting of Lincoln. My Mom thinks it couldbe worth something, I don’t think it would – interesting but could it be worth anything worth while ?

    • Hi Susan: Thanks for your comment. Anything Lincoln related has some value. As the 150th anniversary of the assassination occurs in 2015, it is likely to be worth a little more. HOWEVER, like anything in collecting, it is only worth as much as the buyer is willing to pay. So some ‘collectibles’ are not worth very much at all. I am not an expert in collectibles and without seeing the actual item it is tough to advise you. You mentioned that you have a ‘clipping’ rather than the whole newspaper. The entire paper would certainly be of more value. Is the newpaper header (The Washington Post or something similar) along with the date printed on the page? Again, this makes the item more valuable than just the story in the column. If you only have the clipping, can you, with great certainly or proof, state what newspaper it came from and what date it was printing. Any sooner than April 15 and something is very wrong. Most importantly, is it authentic or is it a replica. Thousands of replicas were made over the years of newspapers, the Fords Theatre Playbill for Our American Cousin, wanted posters and even pictures of Lincoln in death (of which only one has ever been accepted as genuine). Years of forgeries have made people suspicious.
      However, assuming that you do have a genuine column from a newspaper and you can identify the paper and date, it is likely that someone would be interested in the piece. But I can’t promise that you would get very much for it. The more rare the piece, the better your chances. Susan, your best bet is to find a collector of Lincolniana (and see if they would like to add this to their collection). I know several and would be happy to show them a scan of your item. If so, please send it to outreach@awesometalks.com. But these people are very savvy and know their stuff. They may find no value in it for themselves. If not, there is always ebay where the general public and sellers may be more likely to purchase your piece. What I can tell you is that it is probably not worth a lot if it has been snipped from the original newspaper.
      I hope this helps.
      Best
      Barry

  32. Greetings,
    Although Canadian (Just West of Buffalo NewYork) I have maintained a keen interest in the area of the 16th President,Mr.A.Lincoln.So much so, that I did many projects on the topic while in school.I still remember my first project. I completed it in 1967,while in the third grade of Elementary School.My interests have remained unchanged.The knowledge and information depicted here,has shed new light,and with it a brand new fascination.The site,is very detailed,and informative.The pictures,information,and new web sites have me just as excited as when I was a child.I can’t thank you enough for your efforts in putting together the best solid group of informative mind fodder that has come along in many years. Outstanding!

    • Hi John: Thanks so much for the kind comments. I’m always thrilled when someone writes and tells me that their interest in history (and in your case Lincoln) is rekindled. That does my heart good. I’m not too far from you (Toronto) but my network of friends and collegues stretch all over the planet. The history of Abraham Lincoln is fascinating. My own particular research now concentrates on the Arsenal Penitentiary and the incarceration of the conspirators (including the execution of four of them).
      Lincoln as a study is massive. You can pick a subject or time period from his presidency and start researching it. You can find so much out by doing that. The Lincoln Research community if very open and willing to share what they know. I would recommend joining the Lincoln Forum to keep updated on President Lincoln, his times and other related information. You can also join the Surratt Society. The Surratt Society concentrates more on Lincoln’s Assassination and the people involved in it. However, many of the experts belong to both. They like to share so don’t hesitate looking into either. I can assure you that your education will quadruple. I can’t believe how much I learned from these folks. The amount of information is staggering and it will give you a whole new perspective on what you thought you knew about Mr. Lincoln.
      Thanks again.
      Best
      Barry

  33. HI BARRY ,
    I HAVE A REWARD POSTER AND A PLAY BILL , THANKS FOR ALL THE INFO ON THE PLAY BILL .

    LISA

  34. Hi there guys, if you really want to know if you have a fake play bill or not heres a start, if it has Abraham Lincoln’s name on it then it is not authentic, reason being is for security purposes, and knowbody really knew if he was going to be there or not. It was a last minute thing. I hope this helps, take care.

  35. Hi Barry;
    Going through my parents stuff, my dad showed me a reward poster that he got from a relative in Holland, that they found buried under a house they were tearing down. My parents were told that it is an original. It doesn’t have the three pictures on top but it is a exact copy of the other one. How do I go about finding someone to check if it is an original? They have kept it in a frame sealed real well in a dark room. it measures 11 1/2 x 14 3/4. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Diane

    • Hi Diane: Thanks for sharing your story. I am always excited to hear about someone finding a treasure in an attic, an old trunk or in your case, under a house.
      First off, I have to say that I am not an expert on the wanted posters that were printed. However I can tell you that the posters were printed without photographs of the conspirators on them so your poster could still be authentic. Photos were adhered to the spaces provided afterwards to show pictures of Lewis Powell, John Surratt and David Herold. Authentic posters certainly do exist. However, there were many, many, many duplicates and fakes created after the fact and sold as collectibles. I have spoken to many people who own what they thought were genuine Playbills from the April 14th performance at Ford’s Theatre. Without question, 99.9% of them could be proven as duplicates or fakes.

      When you do research you often learn more than you want to. What I mean is that I have learned a lot about certain artifacts and have the ability to state my opinion on whether they are genuine or not. But it is not an easy thing to do especially when you have to tell someone that the family treasure they have cherished for years as a geniune piece of history is in fact a fake. These pieces have been passed down from generation to generation and they truly believe their family’s owned something special. These are good, kind hearted honest folks and it is very difficult to dash their family’s beliefs. So my policy is this. If someone really wants to know if what they have is genuine, and I have the ability to analyze it and give them my opinion, I only do it if I feel they can handle the truth.

      Analyzing photographs are the worse. Many people believe that they have images of someone famous and no matter what you tell them to prove that the images are not who they think it is, they refuse to believe it. They are emotionally attached and you cannot change their minds. So I am cautious when delving into this field.

      So Diane, where does this leave us and your wanted poster? Despite all my misgivings, I still welcome the chance to look at an image of your poster. If I can, I’ll be happy to comment on it for you. Again, I am not an expert in the wanted posters but have good research to draw from. If you are interested, please send the image in as high resolution as you can to my email at outreach@awesometalks.com and I’ll do my best to give you my opinion on the piece.

      You never know. You may just have the real McCoy!
      Best
      Barry

  36. Hi all: I have a fife that was alleged to have been played at Abraham Lincoln’s funeral on May 4, 1865. I have the fifer’s name and Union company he was with, but have been unsuccessful in validating that he was in the funeral procession in Springfield, IL. He was with the Illinois 78th, Company K. and named Jesse Lambert.

    Could anyone point to a resource/book or person who might help with this?

    Appreciative
    Dave

  37. Hi! I am currently reading an interesting book that reveals a different outlook on some of the causes of the Civil War and on Lincoln’s political history, entitled “Meet General Grant”by W.E.Woodward,1928. Of course, it is a bit of a different story, written in far different times! Grant himself had such an incredible life that it is worth the read, no matter what your “politics” of the Civil War are! He really made a fantastic recovery after a downfall between the Mexican war and the Civil War. An inspiration to ANYONE! Can you believe he was actually THROWN OUT OF THE US ARMY? And yet he led the nation to victory, having caught Lincoln’s attention after a battle in the South.

  38. i purchased a reward letter while picking this last weekend i have never seen it before now n i was just sitting here n now see that pawn stars will be actually having an eposide airing tonight i am interested ??? wonder if i have an orginal or reproduction??? how can i tell?

  39. What a great site. I moved to Michigan in 2000 and I go yearly to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village and never go without looking at the chair. We are fortunate to have this great historical piece so close and I encourage anyone near Southeastern Michigan to stop in the the complex. They also house Rosa Parks Bus and the limo that President Kennedy was riding in the day he was assassinated. What a trio! Thanks again for a wonderful site.

    • Hi John: Thanks for the wonderful comment. I’ve never had the opportunity to go to the Henry Ford Museum but I’m glad you shared your experiences and enthusiasm with us. Hopefully, others will be encouraged to go too. Have a great day and enjoy your next visit there.
      Best
      Barry

  40. any idea where the piano from fords theatre is now?

    • Hi. Great question. I have never heard of the piano being in someone’s collection. The closest item I know of related to the orchestra is the jacket worn by conductor William Withers, who was slashed and slightly injured by Booth with his knife, as he escaped backstage. That jacket is at the Ford’s Theatre Museum. I saw it there earlier this year.
      I’ll ask your question to the research community to see if anyone knows.
      Best
      Barry

    • Hey nestabbad: I put your question to the experts (and my friends) on Lincoln-Assassination.com. They had a lot of great input. Here is the link to the discussion. Your answer is probably somewhere in there. It was a great question when some of these people (who have been doing this for over 30 years) get heavily involved.
      This link should take you to the discussion board. Best Barry
      http://www.lincoln-assassination.com/bboard/index.php?topic=1389.0

  41. hi there barry…brilliant site! I have just started reading a book called manhunt and i must admit that it has ignited a deep interest in the lincoln/booth story. I am from Ireland so i am very familiar with assasinations and bloodshed.could you please tell me where the fords theatre can be found and also the best websites on this topic? Slainte.joel

    • Hi Joel: Thank you so much for your great comments. I always find it amazing that people from other countries (and continents) find a fascination with the Lincoln assassination. Manhunt by James Swanson is a great start to your education. Ford’s Theatre is in Washington DC. It is still used as a theatre today but is also an historic site run by the National Park Service in the USA. There is a great museum in the basement with many of the artifacts that you have read about are kept. If you get to Washington, this is definitely one of the ‘have to’ stops if you are interested in the assassation. The other I will tell you to not miss is the Surratt House Museum in Clinton, Maryland. It is about 20 miles south of Washington. It is the tavern where Booth and David Herold stopped at while on their flight from the assassination. The ladies there are extremely helpful and knowledgeable beyond your imagination. Also, you want to take the Booth Escape Tour where you can retrace the steps of Booth during his 12 day flight from authorities. That is an all day event.
      Regarding websites, I can direct you to several but that could also be overwhelming. There are so many facets to the Lincoln assassination. I specialize in the incarceration and punishments of the Lincoln conspirators after the assassination. My writing partner and I host a Facebook page called Inside The Walls, which is the same name as the book we are writing on the subject. I’d recommend a great site run by one of my best friends, Randal Berry. It’s called lincoln-assassination.com. It attracts many amateur and professional researchers and they are all extremely helpful with questions. Your education of the events will increase 10-1 compared to just reading the books. Steve Miller is a regular there and he is considered a major expert on the hunt for John Wilkes Booth. Roger Norton is also a regular there and he runs the other website that I would recommend – Abraham Lincoln Research Site. This site is geared to high school students and people wanting to learn about Lincoln or his assassination. Laurie Verge is the other person you will see on Randal’s site often. Laurie is the director of the Surratt Society Musuem and her and her family have lived in the area of Clinton, MD since before the American Civil War. There are many others on Randal’s site, too numerous to mention, but they are all friends and unbelievably knowledgeable about Lincoln’s assassination. Tell them I sent you…lol. You may feel out of your element at first as you will see pretty indepth discussions but trust me….THEY LOVE TO HELP and no question is too small or insignificant. Go to the Everything about the Lincoln Assassination discussion board and join in.
      Best
      Barry

  42. I have an assassination of abe lincohn poster that is an original and need to find out how to get information on it ?

    • Hi Debby: Thanks for your comment. I get asked to look at a lot of photographs, documents and other items related to Lincoln and the Lincoln assassination. I always tell these owners that I am happy to look and give my opinion on them (time permitting) but can’t make any guarantees about what will be found. Most of the time, these items turn out to not be what the owners thought they had. I’ve disappointed more people with my historical analysis than a bride on her wedding night. LOL. Seriously, the big issue is whether the owner of these pieces can accept bad news when they are only hoping for good news. I kid you not that 98% to 99% of all items that researchers and experts are asked to look at turn out to be replicas, forgeries, misinterpretations, fraudulent or other misidentified items. Without solid documentation to back up what you have (provenance .. or the origin of the piece) you will find most people are skeptical about what you say you have. Many researchers no longer comment on the validity of unsolicited ‘artifacts’. It is a thankless job and often the owners don’t want to believe that what they own and cherish isn’t what they thought it was.
      Time and time again, I’ve seen it happen. In spite of overwhelming expert opinion and historical evidence, they hold onto the belief that their item is genuine and blame the researcher for not knowing what they are talking about. I’ve been a part of the Lincoln Assassination research community for several years now and know the level of knowledge these people collectively carry. The general public can never possibly know how much information is actually known by this group of individuals. Films, documentaries and books can only give the public a small taste of what is fully known.
      So in saying this, experts have a pretty good idea about what they are talking about and will analyze your pieces with objectivity. Owners on the other hand are very subjective and basically are ‘in love’ with their item. Love is blind and it is practically impossible for an expert to change the mind of someone who doesn’t really want to know the truth.

      The reason I still look at these items is because it is not the people who are bad, but only their understanding of what they really have. So I’ll put myself on the line and give them my opinion. I’m only trying to help. It is up to them to take that advice and do with it what they will. I have no stake in it.

      Anyway, enough preaching. I’ll be happy to look at your poster and give you my opinion on it. Can you tell me exactly what poster it is that you own? Can you describe it or send me a scan of the piece along with exact measurements and any other information you can give me. I’ll do my best to assist you with it.

      Even if they don’t come from me, be prepared for hard questions that may sound like your honesty is being challenged. People want to know the truth and to get it, they will often be direct and harsh. Some of the very first questions you will be asked are: How do you know that your poster is an original as you claim? What proof do you have? What is it’s provenance? How do you get it? How long have you owned it?

      Debby, be prepared. If you claim something is an original, you will be challenged to prove it. So be safe and find out as much about it as you can. Listen to both the pros and cons that you discover and above all, be prepared to accept the possibility that what you might own is potentially a replica or non-original. The Lincoln assassination was a huge historical event and incredible money making machine. So many fakes and replicas were produced (even as early as a few days after the assassination) and are still being made and sold today. So just keep an open mind about this possibility and I will do my best to assist you in finding some answers.

      If you can send me a picture of your poster along with the information I mentioned above, that will be a good start. I will write you from my email outreach@awesometalks.com and await your reply.
      Thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate it.
      Best
      Barry

  43. Hi, I am one of those who has held a most valued replica of a wanted poster. The edges of the poster are frayed, the paper is brittle, yellow and it looks very aged with what also looks like some weather or water damage. I sent some photos to another site and was told the inevitable…yup, it is a replica. What interests me now is…what are the tell tale signs…how can you tell a fake from an original? I would be more than willing to send you photos of my fake poster. By the way, we had this poster hidden for more than 40 years. My husband lost his father when he was 18. Before my husbands father passed he told my husband that this poster was valuable, my husband hung onto it for more than 40 years. It is still a beautiful momento, which I will proudly hang on our wall.

    • Hi Emilyn. Thank you for your comments. It is true that there are many replicas and other fake posters, playbills and newspapers relating to the Lincoln assassination. Like today, people collected mementos and other items that related to the event. Profiteers recognized very early on that money could be made from the assassination. As early as a few days after the assassination right up to modern time, these fakes have been produced. Identifying a replica/fake can be pretty easy sometimes. Other times, not so easily. I am approached several times a month from genuinely honest people who, like yourself, have a photograph or an ‘artifact’ in their family possession that they want verified or valued. I am not in the business of evaluating the value of artifacts so I decline to do this when asked. However, I am willing to look at a photograph or artifact and give my opinion of the piece. The most popular items that cross my plate are as follows:
      1. Ford’s Theatre Playbill from April 14, 1865.
      2. Wanted Poster
      3. Lincoln in Death photos
      4. Newspapers (most notably the NY Herold from April 15, 1865…the day after the assassination). This is the most faked newspaper known relating to the asssassination, it having over 20+ versions discovered to date.

      I always warn people in advance that the ‘genuine’ artifact that they own is likely not an original. They need to be prepared for this bad news. More often than not, they refuse to believe it. I don’t blame them. They’ve had years of the family history telling them it is real. Having someone suddenly say that it isn’t so is hard to take. Often people become angry because they think you are calling their family members liars. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I based my ‘opinions’ on my knowledge of the subject and, where I am not completely verse on the subject, rely on my extensive circle of friends in the Lincoln research community.

      But here’s the kicker. There are still real originals out there so ‘never say never’. Just because someone says you have a fake, you don’t have to believe it. Most experts who comment on such things will give you very valid historical and scientific reasons why they came to their conclusions. I do the same. Some things are very easy to prove. Others are not. In your case, it sounds like you have been convinced by the people managing the other website that your piece is a replica. Did they give you reasons why that is the case? I’d be happy to look at the images of the poster and give you my comments as well. If you have the ability to scan the poster in high rez, even better. Just send the images to outreach@awesometalks.com and I’ll review them as soon as I can. Also, please supply me with the dimensions of the poster as well (W x H). Often some replicas are not the same size as known originals so it is one of the clues to look at.

      Regarding how to tell if you have an original wanted poster, here are a couple of things to look for.
      If the wanted poster you have has three photographs of Surratt, Booth & Harold, they should not be ‘printed’ directly onto the poster. The technology of printing photographs using printing presses had not been invented in the 1860s. This is why no photographs are reproduced in newspapers until at least the 1880s. If your poster is an original, it would either have three ‘real photos of Surratt, Booth and Harold’ glued directly onto the poster OR without the photos applied, showing the ‘blank’ areas where the photos would have gone.

      I can tell you more once you send me your images.
      Thanks so much for your inquiry and I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.
      Best
      Barry

  44. Barry, I came acroos this site looking for information on the reward poster with the playbill attatched on the left side. It belongs to a friend who is searching for a job and is selling some family items. His father won it in a poker game! I will go to the site thay you suggested to get more information since it looks like it is not and original, but it still looks very old. Are the copies that are old worth anything? I guess I will find out. Thanks for your information for people that don’t know what they have. Mary Lou

    • Hi Mary Lou. Thanks for your question. Without seeing the piece I can’t tell you for sure what you have. However, by your description, I know the piece you are talking about. I’ve been approached by several people with similar pieces (the Ford’s Theatre playbill is on the left and the Reward poster is on the right). If this is the piece, it is unfortunately a photo composite of the two different documents and was likely produced in the very late 1800s or early 1900s (when that kind of technology to produce this was available). The image of the Ford’s Theatre playbill used is not from an original but actually from one of the many fakes that were produced after the assassination. This one is often referred to as the Buckingham or “E” version and has tell tale signs indicating to us that it is not an original. Just for my own research purposes, by chance does your friend live in the mid-west (Chicago/Milwaukee or vicinity)? The reason I ask is because most of the people who have approached me with these posters live or obtained them in that part of the country. My belief is that the poster was produced for promotional purposes by a local printer or newspaper somewhere in that vicinity. I’m trying to track down the origin of these posters.

      Don’t be too disappointed. 99.9% of the pieces that are sent to me and other researchers, turn out to not be what the owners thought they had. However, as a consolation, it is an old piece and is noted as being one of the known fakes relating to the Lincoln Assassination. I can’t tell you what it is worth (and do not offer opinions on price). This is because, to a specific collector, this piece could be worth a lot whereas another collector would think it to be worthless. Please feel free to write me at outreach@awesometalks.com or here with more questions and I’ll be happy to assist you.
      If you can please send me a photo of the piece. I am thinking about writing an article on it and if the image is clear enough, I can use it as an example for others to learn by.
      Many thanks. Barry.

      • Barry,

        I think a lot of these pieces that people are “finding” are current souvenirs that are sold in many Lincoln sites, especially at Ford’s Theatre. There is an image of one here: http://enssc.com/Products.aspx?subcat=96

        If that link doesn’t work, just google Ford’s theatre gift shop and click on their “Posters and Prints” section. It’s about the 4th one down. I have about three of them because they are so inexpensive ($1.50). Whoever is manufacturing them ages and browns the paper so people think they are actually old.

        I’m going to somewhat toot my own horn and recommend that your readers who think they have a genuine playbill check out a posting I made on Randal’s site about it: http://www.lincoln-assassination.com/bboard/index.php?topic=245.0

        Ultimately, Walter Brenner’s book, “The Ford Theatre Lincoln Assassination Playbills: A Study” is the best resource to use when trying to authenticate a playbill.

        Take care, and I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Surratt Conference again in March.

        Sincerely,

        Dave Taylor

      • Hey Dave: As always, it’s great to hear from you. I couldn’t open the file but will check through google. I’ve received several inquiries where the owners claimed to have had these in their families for about 40 or more years (as long as they can remember). Some have been framed. I wouldn’t doubt for a minute that there are modern day ones floating around as you have discovered. But on the other hand, there seem to be some earlier versions around that could have come from a few decades before.
        The Brenner book is great in helping to better understand the playbills. I’ve never stated this before, but when I was working with Ford’s Theatre’s last curator two years ago on some research, I noticed that the playbill they had on display in their renovated basement was not one of the originals. In fact, there is a large wall graphic showing the exact same one. Both are Buckingham or ‘E’ replicas. The curator was happy to get the info as she said she was not an expert in the playbills and was going to change them. But a short time later she was transferred to another National Park Service location. No new curator has replaced her as far as I know. The ‘erroneous’ playbill graphic still hangs on the wall and the actual piece is on display in a display case just across from it. I’ve not mentioned this before because I believe that Ford’s Theatre is a great institution and I do not want to discredit them. I am aware, from the files she shared with me, that Ford’s owns several playbills, some of which are on loan to other institutions. From looking at the images of these, they do indeed own some originals. Unfortunately, the one they actually have on display is not. I hope they change it soon.
        Have a great day.
        Best
        Barry

  45. Barry, I also glanced at the Ford’s playbill display and noticed it was a Buckingham reprint. I believe it even said so at the bottom but I’m not sure. I also like Ford’s but there are a few things that the museum needs to fix. In addition to the playbill, they also highlight the wrong man as Booth on their giant display of Lincoln’s second inauguration. While it is difficult to truly identify Booth, most people agree that the individual first identified by Frederick Meserve Hill and promoted in Richard and Kellie Gutman’s book, John Wilkes Booth Himself, looks an awful lot like Booth. The problem is, of the different shots of Lincoln’s second inauguration, the two that best display Booth, are terrible shots of Lincoln. I believe both suffered a thumb print or smudge right over Lincoln’s face. Most of the time when you see images of Lincoln’s second inauguration, only one image is used because it has the best shot of Lincoln. Unfortunately, the image with the best Lincoln, is the image with the worst Booth. The man believed to be Booth is hidden behind another gentleman and only the top of his forehead and hat are visible in even the most high-res pictures. Ford’s chose to use the nice Lincoln photo for their giant wall display, and highlighted a completely different man as being Booth. One thing that irks me is that the man Ford’s says is Booth is not even wearing a hat. Being hatless at such an important event would have been a huge social faux pas that a man of Booth’s stature would never have made. In addition to this picture, I truly believe Ford’s needs to review their assassination knives, as I believe they currently have the wrong knife displayed as Booth’s knife. But I won’t get into that here. Ford’s is a great place, but the lack of a curator is hurting them. Take care, Dave.

  46. I just found your website an am finding very interesting.
    First my comment on Ford’sTheatre. I was very surprised when I found out that NONE of the interior from 1865 survived. Honestly it kind kind of shocked me.
    Second is a question: has anything more become of doing DNA tests on the vertebrae of John Wilkes Booth to conclusively determine Booth died in Garrett’s barn?

    • Hi Willard. Thank you for writing. Yes, Ford’s Theatre has had an interesting history since Lincoln’s assassination. It had a major disaster of June 9, 1893 when parts of the facade and interior of the building collapsed due to the incorrect removal of some of the foundation by workmen in the basement. 490 clerks working for the Record and Pension division of the War Department were in the building at the time. Twenty people died and almost seventy injured. Due to this catastrophy, the entire interior of the building was gutted and eventually rebuilt to mimic the original layout of Ford’s Theatre at the time of Lincoln’s Assassination. However, it has been modified overtime to keep up with the standards of today. So when you go to Ford’s, you are correct that you are witnessing a ‘full scale replica’ of the place where Lincoln was assassinated. However, if you look in the Presidential box, some of the furniture is genuine and many of the artifacts from that night can be found in the museum located in Ford’s basement. It is still a site to revere and reflect on what occurred on April 14, 1865 as well as on June 9, 1893. Best
      Barry

    • Hi Willard: Regarding your second question, I am not aware of any recent attempts to do DNA testing on Booth’s vertebrae but to be thorough, I will forward your email to Steven G. Miller who is argueably the best expert on the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and the many sightings of him after his death at the Garrett Farm. If anyone can answer your question, Mr. Miller can.
      I will post his response here upon receipt.
      Best
      Barry

  47. I have been trying to verify a family story. My 3G grandfather is rumored to have been playing in the orchestra in Ford’s theatre when President Lincoln was assassinated. This “fact” was listed in the obits of his grand-daughters. Would you have any idea where I might find a list of the musicians? I was told they were all Civil War Vets by folks at the Theater last month, but no one seems to be able to put their hands on a document.

    Thanks

    • Hi Lois: Thanks for writing. Go to http://www.lincoln-assassination.com and post your question on the message board. This site is run by a good friend of mine, Randal Berry and it has some of the best researchers frequenting daily. I know someone was looking into the musicians at one time. If anyone know, they will. And if not, they will do their best to guide you who to go see.
      Please let me know how it goes.
      Best
      Barry

  48. You replied to a question I had in 09 and never thanked you. Thanks. The playbill was a fake and I didn’t purchase. If you would please could you comment on the best known resourse for purchasing authenticated lincoln artifacts? Thank you

  49. Lincoln should’nt have died he was a good leader

  50. he was my fav

  51. Dear Sir, I have a playbill from 1865, from the Ford’s Theater that was passed down from my father. I’m not sure where he purchased it. Can you help me see if it’ s an original. Thank you.

    • Hi Beth. Thank you so much for writing. Yes, I’d be happy to look at your playbill and give you my feedback. Originals vs reproductions have some very specific differences that are often relatively easy to identify. I will do my best to help you with the one you have in your possession. I look forward to hearing from you.
      Best
      Barry

      • Thanks so much for your interest. I’m not sure how to email you directly or send a picture. Can you advise? Thanks so much, Beth

      • Hi Beth: Send the photos to my email at outreach@awesometalks.com. I will take a look at them and let you know what I think.
        I look forward to seeing them. The higher rez the images are, the better for me in being able to analyze them.
        Many thanks.
        Best
        Barry

  52. We have what is reported to be a fragment of the bed Lincoln died on. How could this be verified? Who might be interested in purchasing it?

  53. I am told that my great grandfather was playing in the orchestra the night Lincoln was shot. He played clarinet. Is there any way to verify this? The playbill for that night doesn’t list orchestra members. His sir name was Freeland. Mark Hicks, Chicago, IL

  54. Dear Sir, I have been trying to research a wanted poster that is for sale by Dana Linett who is apparently an American History Expert and is president of Early American History Auctions, Inc. I understand that you do not give values on historical pieces so I would not even ask, however I am curious if you are familar with the poster owned by Dana and if it is in fact an original? I am also curious if you know how many variations of this poster exist and approximately how many of each variation are still in existance? I’m just trying to do my homework before purchasing, any help you could give me would be appriciated. Thank you! Jarrett Gordon, Parker Colorado.

  55. i think its really cool to see everything lincoln had. thank you sir for still keeping stuff like this going.

  56. Hello, we found an old photo of what we think is JWB in my Great Grandfather’s photo album. Can you suggest who may be able to confirm the photo. Thanks!

    • Hi jdenmark: I am happy to try to assist you with this. Can you send a copy of the image to me at ‘outreach@awesometalks.com’. If I remember correctly, there are about 10 known images of John Wilkes Booth that have been positively identified over the years. If you have a copy of one of these it will be very easy to identify it for you. However, I have to be honest with everyone who asks me about verifying the authenticity of a photo or Lincoln-related artifact. 99.9% of the time, the items turn out to be false identifications. No one in the Lincoln assassination research community enjoys telling someone that they do not have what they think they have. Many no longer do photo or artifact identifications because the owners rarely take the news well. If you can send me the image of your find within the next two days, I will be at a conference with many of these people this weekend. If I cannot positively tell you whether your photo is genuine or not, I will be happy to show it to the experts there. I don’t want to get your hopes up because as I said, more often than not, the photos turn out to be of someone who looks like the person the owner thought it was. But you never know unless you ask. I’m always hopeful of finding a real find for someone. It makes me happy and it makes them happy. I have been lucky enough to find several over the last five years but they have been far and few between. I hope I can help you. Please send the image to me at outreach@awesometalks.com. Many thanks. Best. Barry

  57. Hi
    Any idea where I might find a list of items taken from John Wilkes Booth, after he was shot and killed, and returned to the family? I own his initial ring and am trying to prove it was on him at the time he Assassinated Lincoln.
    Thanks

    • Hi Rodney. That’s a tall order. Proving this could be very difficult. No photos were taken of Booth at anytime during or after the assassination. The only possible one is the infamous photo of his autopsy (that has never been seen….and according to some, never was taken). So with photographic evidence not available, the best you can do is hopefully track down eyewitness reports or official military documents that might indicate if the ring was noted. One book you can check out was written by Timothy S. Good called “We Saw Lincoln Shot: One Hundred Eyewitness Accounts”. It relates the testimonies of eyewitnesses to the actual assassination from people who were at Ford’s Theatre that night. Please let me know what you find out. I can also recommend posting your question on our facebook page “Inside the Walls” or on Roger Norton’s Lincoln Website – Discussion Symposium page”. Many experts go on these sites and can offer more informed comments than I can (being just one person). Please let me know what you find out. I’d love to know.
      Best
      Barry

  58. I might have a origional 1865 Lincoln reward poster not sure how to tell if its real or not but its been in the familyfor years and years please email me if u can help Amanda_n_jesse1987@hotmail.com thanks Amanda

  59. I have a Lincoln artifact I would like authenticated, and appraised can u email me some good sources to use?
    james.leon1@yahoo.com

  60. Re: Contents of Lincoln’s pockets

    If you zoom into that newspaper, the far left heading reads: “…President Lincoln Shot…” Might want to make a notation that the newspaper pictured was not in his pocket.

    Bob

  61. My brother passed away last year and in his things he had a old gambler’s box, inside that box he also had a ticket to the Ford Theater the nite Lincoln was assassinated and photos of JWB and Confederates Officers. I need to find someone that can authenticated it. He was a collector of many things and I’m not sure where he got the box from, but he was proud of the thing in the box. I sold the box with most things still in it ,except the ticket and pictures I still have them. I can’t find anyone to authenticate the ticket for me. Please Help if you can sharonmarsicano@gmail.com

    • Hi Sharon: Thank you for contacting me. I am sorry to hear about your brother’s passing last year. But it sounds like he had a passion for collecting interesting items. I am often asked if items found in family collections are real artifacts. Regrettably, most of these pieces turn out to be misidentifications, fakes or reproductions. So I always warn anyone who is looking to verify a family collectible that it may prove to be worthless (or at least not the real deal).
      The other thing I will advise is that I am not an appraiser or antique dealer. So if I can’t absolutely tell you if it is real or not, I’ll be honest with you. As well, I will always encourage you to get other opinions beyond my own to ensure you are happy with the assessment.
      So Sharon, if you are interested and you’d like to move forward, the first step would be to send me scans or good quality photos of the pieces. If possible, can you make high-rez scans of the front and back of the ticket. Also, if you would can you also scan the front and back of the JWB image and the other Confederate officers.
      The authenticating of the ticket may be a very easy thing to do but may also be a tough one to do as well. The first thing I’ll do is compare it against other images or verified Ford’s Theatre tickets. If it passes, then we can try moving to the next steps. Usually, once we get beyond the first challenge, with your permission, I would share the image with several exceptional and trusted Lincoln Assassination experts and get their input.
      Please let me know your thoughts and email me at outreach@awesometalks.com with the scans. I really look forward to hearing from you.
      Best
      Barry.

      • I was wondering if you got the pics that I sent to you.

  62. Just wondering if anyone knows where the piano played on the night of the assasination is? It was rumored to have gone to Rochester, NY for repair (most likely to East Rochester where there was a piano factory) There is also a rumor that it is located in the town hall of East Rochester. Not sure if this is accurate?

  63. I found a Lincoln assassination poster that the paper is dark and crumblee and need to know if it’s a fake or real and I would like to know if it worth something .

    • Hi Steve: Thanks for writing. I happy to look at your piece and give you my best opinion. If it is an original, these kind of documents can be valuable. But the truth is that over 99% of the documents I am presented with turn out to be known replicas, fakes or misidentifications. If you can send scanned images of your poster (high rez if at all possible) along with dimensions and how you came to own the piece, I’ll be pleased to give you my feedback. Please send them to me at outreach@awesometalks.com. I look forward to seeing them.
      Best
      Barry.

  64. This post will assist the internet people for building up
    new webpage or even a weblog from start to end.

    • I believe I might have mentioned previously that I am part of a family that owns John Wilkes Booth’s ring. We are looking into selling the ring, but lack proof that it was on his hand when he assassinated Lincoln. Still looking for a source that lists his belongings turned over to a family member after his death. If any one has suggestions of where to look, it would be greatly appreciated. Also, I have an unpublished photo of Edwin Booth that has been authenticated and I am presently looking for some place to donate it to, preferably a place that would take care of preservation and open to public view. Any suggestions?

  65. Included in the display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine is a small lock of hair from President Lincoln taken at the time of his autopsy

  66. Hi Barry,
    Don’t know if you’re aware of the artifacts that the Camden County Historical Society has, but this article might be of interest:

    http://historiccamdencounty.com/ccnews92.shtml

    Janine


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