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.
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 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.
- 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.
- 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 that he wore to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865.
- Drum and drumsticks used during the funeral parades for President Lincoln in late April, 1865
- 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
- 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 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
- John Wilkes Booth’s derringer used to shoot President Lincoln
- Booth’s knife and sheath used to stab Major Rathbone on the night of the assassination
- 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.
- A chair from the box where the Lincoln’s were seated. Possibly it is the one that Mary Todd Lincoln sat on that night next to her husband http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/11/AR2005121101005.html
- Dr. Mudd’s medical kit
- John Wilkes Booth Compass and Diary
- Wanted Poster
- US Treaury Guards Flag from Presidential Box which Booth’s spur caught on when he jumped to the stage.
- 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/
- 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
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 splattered playbill fragment picked up by patron at Ford’s Theatre on the night of the assassination.
- Section of the gallows crossbeam used to hang the four condemned Lincoln conspirators (Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt).
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
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)
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.