AUGUST (2012) BIRTHDAYS FOR LINCOLN’S FRIENDS AND FOES

 AS OF AUGUST 2012

Here are the friends and foes of Abraham Lincoln whose birthdays are in August.

   Robert Todd Lincoln – 1st son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. Born August 1, 1843. Age 169.

  David Rice Atchison, President of the United States on March 3, 1849  David R. Atchison, President of the United States for one day on Sunday, March 4, 1849. Some believe Atchison was technically President on this day when outgoing President Polk and Vice President Dallas’ terms expired at noon. As well, incoming President-elect Zachary Taylor refused to be sworn in on the sabboth. Millard Fillmore, the Vice Presidential running mate also was not inaugurated. So Atchison, as President pro tempore of the Senate (3rd in line to the Presidency), was considered by some to be the Acting President for that short period. Born August 11, 1807. Age 205.

 Drummer Boy Johnny "Lincoln" Clem.  John Joseph Klem (aka Johnny Lincoln Clem), the heroic Union army drummer boy who served with the 22nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry. He joined at age 10 in 1861. Present at the Battle of Chickamauga, he was chased by a Confederate colonel attempting to capture him, when John Klem raised his musket, shot and killed the soldier. After the battle he was nicknamed the “Drummer Boy of Chickamauga”, a name that would give him fame throughout the rest of the war and his life. Born August 13, 1851. Age 161.

       Allan Pinkerton (left), founder of Chicago detective agency, shown here with Abraham Lincoln and Maj. General John A. McClernand at Antietam. Born August 25, 1819. Age 193.

Hannibal Hamlin  Hannibal Hamlin, 15th Vice President of the United States (Lincoln’s VP from 1861-1865). Born August 27, 1809. Age 203.

 

Oliver Wendell Holmes   Oliver Wendell Holmes, Cambridge, Massachusetts, physician/author. Born August 29, 1809. Age 203

Best

Barryoutreach@awesometalks.com    

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING THE LINCOLN CONSPIRATORS EXECUTION PHOTOS: A STUDY IN DETAIL

June 1, 2009: Barry Cauchon

CU - Mary Surratt seated (lt)(AAS1)(64)

I wanted to let everyone who has been following my blog for the past year know that it has been a very successful venture. One of the most successful postings I produced was the 15-chapter series called The Lincoln Conspirators Execution Photos: A Study in Detail.

I have been working on formatting this study into a book version for several months and am glad to report that I have reached the point where I must regrettably remove the content from this blog and begin finalizing the document for print. The final version of this will grow from 15 chapters to about 20-25 chapters as I have lots of other tidbits that I want to add.

But to not cut people off entirely from the study, you still have access to Chapters 1 to 5 on line here so you can get a feel for how the overall project was produced. I’m sorry if it is like reading a story and then having to stop right when it’s getting good but regrettably, it is a necessary step I’ve had to take.

When appropriate I will report on how you can obtain a copy of this book if you wish. If you want to write to me and get on my mailing list, I’ll be happy to give you updates as I have them available. outreach@awesometalks.com

In the meantime, I am working in conjunction with Mr. John Elliott to bring you a new series on Fort Lesley McNair and the Old Arsenal Penitentiary. John is from San Antonio, Texas and we have been working on some research concerning the Fort and the buildings that are directly connected with the historic hangings which took place in 1865.  We’ll report on the anticipated restoration of the 3rd floor room in Building 20 that originally held the trial of the Lincoln conspirators. And perhaps even tell you the story of the mysterious Lady in Black that has appeared in the building for years.

Copy of Wash DC 1861 Washington Arsenal 1

US Arsenal in Washington DC with the Old Arsenal Penitentiary (the location of the Lincoln conspirators trial and executions). Map circa 1861.

 

Thank you all for your interest in my blog. I hope this series is as interesting to you as the last one was.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

UPCOMING STORIES ON ‘A LITTLE TOUCH OF HISTORY’

Updated April 06, 2009: Barry Cauchon

Here is what I am currently working on for A Little Touch of History.

A: “The Lincoln Conspirators Execution Photos: A Study in Detail”. is now posted. Click on the following link to start at Chapter 1 to read the whole series.

B. “An Awesometalk With” 2nd Lieutenant George Hauck, 8th Air Force Group, World War II, Prisoner of War. I have posted my interview with Mr. George Hauck  (March 31, 2009) who was an airman during World War II. While returning from a bombing raid over Germany in 1944, his plane was shot down and he was taken prisoner. George is a very charismatic man and our talk was extremely enjoyable. You will enjoy his story and his openess about his experiences.

C. “An Awesometalk With” Andrew Jampoler, author. Andy is a retired US Navy Captain who has written three books and is working on his fourth. I completed this fascinating interview with Andy on March 26 and you won’t want to miss the stories he had to tell. Andy’s first three books are “Adak, the Rescue of Alfa Foxtrot 586”, “Sailors in the Holy Land: the 1848 American Expedition to the Dead Sea and the Search for Sodom and Gomorrah” and “The Last Lincoln Conspirator: John Surratt’s Flight from the Gallows”. Currently his fourth book, in progress, is called “Horrible Shipwreck”, the wreck of the female convict transport “Amphitrite” in September, 1833. I was riveted as I listened to Andy’s description about all four books and his life in the military. Look for this AWESOME TALK sometime in April, 2009.

D. “An Awesometalk With” Steven G. Miller, Lincoln Expert specializing in the hunt for Booth and his capture at Garrett’s farm. Steven was also an expert witness in the 1993 court case to exhume Booth’s body in Baltimore. My conversations with Steven have been fascinating and he is a wealth of information. If you have been following some of my postings, Steve has contributed to some of my stories (look for his reposted article called “Who Was The Boy At the Hanging”.  Steve has a lot to share and you won’t be disappointed. The interview was recorded on April 4 and will be published sometime in May/09.
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E. “An Awesometalk With “Laurie Verge, Director of the Surratt House Museum”. Laurie has been very helpful to me and our plan is to do our interview during the week of April 6 to 10.
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F. The History of the Construction of the Washington Monument – In progress.

G. What’s In A Picture? A Look Beyond the Main Subject – The plan is to study a series of photographs over time and look beyond the main subject. The first one I will review Alexander Gardner’s Rooftop View of the Lincoln conspirator executions from the Washington Arsenal Penitentiary on July 7, 1865.  My focus in this photograph will be the Washington DC cityscape seen above and behind the roof top.

Enjoy.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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Current interviews posted on ‘A Little Touch of History’.

“An Awesometalk With” HAROLD HOLZER, Lincoln Scholar (posted on November 10, 2008)

 “An Awesometalk With” DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian (posted on December 08, 2008)

“An Awesometalk With” ROGER NORTON, Webmaster of the ‘Abraham Lincoln Research Site’ (posted on December 30, 2008
“An Awesometalk With” LAURA FRANCES KEYES, Mary Todd Lincoln performer (posted on January 26, 2009)  
“An Awesometalk With” ROBERT KRAUSS, 509th Composite Group Historian (posted on December 16, 2008)

 

The Four Soldiers Beneath the Scaffold – The Lincoln Conspirator Executions

March 23, 2009: Barry Cauchon

Yesterday I received a great email from author, Mr. Frank Crawford who has written “PROUD TO SAY I AM A UNION SOLDIER (Heritage Books)”. Frank asked if I could give him more information about the four soldiers who stood beneath the scaffold and sprung the traps on the four Lincoln assassination conspirators. In particular, he was looking for the sources of the information that I had posted. Like Frank, I had initially found conflicting information on the names of these soldiers, so I really wanted to know as close to the truth as I could. Here is what I found out and how I came about that information. If you have any further information on this subject, please feel free to contribute. And please, state any sources that you get your information from. As always, history isn’t always straight forward and contradictory information is common. Enjoy the puzzle.

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The four soldiers responsible for springing the traps. William Coxshall (front left), Daniel E. Shoup, Joseph B. Haslett and George F. Taylor.

The four soldiers responsible for springing the traps. William Coxshall (front left), Daniel E. Shoup (rear left), Joseph B. Haslett and George F. Taylor. Other than Coxshall and Shoup, the other two soldiers in the photo have not been matched with their names.

I started researching this subject about three months ago when I was writing my series called “The Lincoln Conspirators Executions Photos: A Study in Detail” . Initially, the first names I found were published as follows:

Corporal William Coxshall
Private Joseph B. Hazlett
Private Daniel Sharpe
Private George F. Taylor

Two of these names (Hazlett and Sharpe) did not match other sources so I continued my search.

Although these men belonged to different regiments in the Union army during the war, at the time of the executions they all belonged to Company F, 14th Regiment, Veterans Reserve Corps. So my first step was to track down their military records. I searched the National Park Service Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System website at http://www.civilwar.nps.gov/cwss/index.html. There, under Company F, I found their names and ranks although some were slightly different. According the the site, the names and ranks were taken from General Index Cards from soldiers’ records found in the National Archives. Here is how the NPS listed the names and ranks below.

Private William Coxshall
Private Joseph B. Haslett (Hazlett, Hazlitt or Haslitt)(they list all three other versions)
Private Daniel Shoupe (or Shoup)
Private George F. Taylor (but there were also George S. and George W. in the same company).

Seeing these differences, I looked for further confirmation to pin down the names and ranks.

  • ************************************

My next stop was to speak with Roger Norton, the webmaster of the Abraham Lincoln Research Site. He mentioned that on page 471 of Michael Kauffman’s book American Brutus, the names of the four men were listed as follows:

William Coxshall
David F. Shoup
Frank B. Haslett
George F. Taylor

Kauffman’s source:  Coxshall identified the other three in a story in the Milwaukee Free Press, January 31, 1914.
  • ************************************

Roger Norton recommended speaking to the folks at the Surratt Society, where many Lincoln experts and researchers share information. Laurie Verge of the Surratt Society and the director of the Surratt House Museum www.surratt.org was extremely helpful and sent me the following information based on my inquiry.

“The title “The Prop-Knockers” kept ringing in my head, and I realized that the late, great James O. Hall had done a very brief article for our monthly newsletter many moons ago on the subject of the four veterans who stood under the gallows. It was carried in the September 1986 issue.

It does not give much biographical detail, and Mr. Hall cites Roger Hunt (another of our members who is great at finding people, especially their graves) as helping him.

Here’s what he listed in a half-page article:

Soldiers were: Corp. William Coxshall. Co. F., 14th Veterans Reserve Corps. Born in England on July 10, 1843, he died at Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, on April 21, 1922. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Beaver Dam.

Pvt. Daniel E. Shoup, Co. F., 14th Veterans Reserve Corps. He was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, on January 16, 1839, and he died at Connellsville, Pennsylvania, on February 22, 1913. He is buried in Hill Grove Cemetery, Connellsville.

Pvt. George F. Taylor, Co. F., 14th Veterans Reserve Corps. Born in West Gardiner, Maine, on August 11, 1835, he died at Farmingdale, Maine, on December 24, 1915. He is buried in Hallowell, Maine.

Corp. Joseph B. Haslett, Co. F., 14th Veterans Reserve Corps. He was born in Indiana, Pennsylvania, on July 27, 1841, and died at Reading, Pennsylvania, on February 16, 1916. He is buried in Reading at the Charles Evans Cemetery.

So far as is known, Coxshall’s recollections are the only ones recorded.

Dr. Steve Archer found this account in an obscure book about actors and the theater (I can’t remember the title at this moment) while researching his definitive biography on Junius Brutus Booth, father of John Wilkes Booth.

Laurie sent this information out to a number of Lincoln researchers and Steven G. Miller, who specializes in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and the soldiers involved in that chase, wrote back.

  • ************************************

Steven G. Miller wrote: “The book Laurie referred to is: Harlow Randall Hoyt, TOWN HALL TONIGHT. (New York: Bramhall House, 1955)”.

Town Hall Tonight by Harlow R. Hoyt (c1955)

Town Hall Tonight by Harlow R. Hoyt (c1955)

  • ************************************

TOWN HALL TONIGHT is about the grassroots of American theater. The author, Harlow Randall Hoyt, was fascinated with theater and published the book in 1955. His work is still used as course material in many universities today. But the question as to why the article called “William Coxshall’s Recollections” is found in his book is strange and seemingly out of place.

Author Harlow Randall Hoyt included an article in his book Town Hall Tonight called William Coxshall Re

Author Harlow Randall Hoyt included an article in his book Town Hall Tonight called "William Coxshall's Recollections"

So I looked into it a little bit more and what I found out is really interesting. On the website http://www2.powercom.net/~dchs/Personalities.htm I discovered that Harlow Randall Hoyt was from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Lincoln researcher Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) also spent time in Beaver Dam. That in itself is a very interesting coincidence. And of course, the biggest coincidence of all is that William Coxshall (1843-1922) also lived in Beaver Dam and is buried there.

Lincoln expert Carl Sandburg spent time in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin which was the same town that Harlow Randall Hoyt and William Coxshall lived in.

Lincoln expert Carl Sandburg spent time in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin which was the same town that Harlow Hoyt and William Coxshall lived in.

So it is very likely that these men either crossed paths with each other in the early 1900s, or at least knew William Coxshall’s story from local sources.

  • ************************************

Michael Kauffman wrote me to confirm that two of the four men can be identified. Coxshall is front left and Shoup is rear left. Haslett and Taylor are both on the right but which one is which is still unknown. As well, the discrepency in rank is on my radar. According to the NPS records from the National Archives, all four men were Privates at the time of the executions. From the Gardner photos, none of the four seem to have stripes on their uniforms. Yet, two of the four are identified in the above research as Corporals. Could they have been promoted after the executions. It’s very possible.

If you find other sources for this information, please feel free to let me know. If I can, I’ll be happy to pass it along to the researchers who can see how well it fits into the current historical record.

Best
Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

Note: I want to thank Sandra Walia from the Surratt House Museum who also forwarded information to me which confirmed information in this article.

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The Lincoln Conspirators Execution Photos: A Study in Detail

The 15-chapter series on The Lincoln Conspirators Execution Photos: A Study in Detail is now completed and posted under the Pages section. To view, please click on the links below to view the chapters you wish to see.

Please be advised that the photographs and content, although historical, are graphic in detail and not intended for children.

gfsd

Best

Barry

WHO WAS THE BOY AT THE HANGING (Lincoln Conspirators Execution Photos)

March 07, 2009: Barry Cauchon

 

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A boy stands staring at the hanging bodies of Mary Surratt and Lewis Powell in a close up from the Lincoln conspirators execution photo called "All is Done (1)" by Alexander Gardner. The identity of the boy has always been a puzzle for researchers. However, researcher Steven G. Miller published an article in 1993 which may have answered the question.

As part of my 15 chapter series called The Lincoln Conspirators Execution Photos, A Study In Detail, plenty of questions have been raised by the photos. One puzzling image that caught my attention was the picture of a young boy standing in front of the scaffold in the photograph called “All is Done (1). I had the pleasure of conversing with Mr. Steven G. Miller, Lincoln assassination researcher/expert who specializes in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth. Roger Norton of the Abraham Lincoln Research Site says that Steven Miller is “probably the most knowledgeable Boston Corbett expert in the world”. Boston Corbett is the soldier who shot John Wilkes Booth at the Garrett farm.
 
 

But back in 1993, Steven Miller’s focus was on the boy seen at the hanging. He published a paper in the Surratt Courier in which his research not only argued very convincingly as to the identity of the boy but also names him. It’s a great article and Mr. Miller has graciously allowed me to reproduce it here.  I have added one correction [in brackets] regarding the sequence number in the Gardner series as being the fourth photograph. However, since 1993, other photos  in the series have been discovered, so it is now considered number seven.

 

  

dsf

Is this John C. Collins?

 Article from the Surratt Courier  dated January 25, 1993.

 Who Was The Boy At The Hanging? by Steven G. Miller.

 

The most famous photograph of the execution of the Lincoln Conspirators is the one which shows the four bodies hanging limp and motionless on that hot July afternoon. The widely-reprinted image by photographer Alexander Gardner was the fourth [revised to seventh] in the series that he took that day. A close examination of this dramatic and grisly photo reveals a puzzle that had intrigued scholars for quite some time.

 The crowd has parted somewhat and right in the middle of the soldiers is a teenage boy in uniform. Who was this underaged spectator? Was he a drummer boy for a Veteran Reserve Corps Regiment, a camp-follower or the son of an officer stationed at the Old Penitentiary?

 Thanks to some pieces that just seemed to fall into place this micro-mystery may be solved at last.

 Michael Kauffman located an article called “Recollections of Boston Corbett” by John C. Collins from THE WASHINGTON STAR, April 12, 1914. Collins said that during the last two years of the war he was “the company boy,” a sort of regimental mascot, for the 16th New York Volunteer Cavalry.

 In this article Collins wrote that his older brother William “allowed me to accompany him on his return to the camp after a brief furlough to his home. It was expected that this visit would be of short duration and that after I had had a few days experience of actual camp life I would be returned to my home.”

 

Unfortunately, John Collins wrote, William was wounded in a skirmish with Mosby’s men before John could be returned home. After a short hospital stay William returned to his regiment, only to be captured on June 24, 1864, in the same battle in which Boston Corbett was taken prisoner. Collins, Corbett and several others were shipped to the infamous prison at Andersonville, Georgia. With no one to take him back to New York John Collins was stranded with the regiment.

 

John Collins said: “I was given a pony which had been condemned because (it was) too small for a cavalryman, a uniform was cut and made for me by some soldier who had been a tailor.  . . . I enjoyed all the privileges and shared in much of the life of the regiment, except picket duty  . . . I think it was even whispered that the little white-headed boy had some occult influence in the renown which came to the regiment as the captors of J. Wilkes Booth.”

 

Collins talked about the hunt for the assassins and discussed the character and career of Sergt. Boston Corbett. He wrote that Corbett “ . . . gave me his photograph with his autograph on it after he had killed Booth, and I remember his placing the forefinger of his right hand in the palm of my hand and saying that that was the finger that had pulled the trigger .”

 He also said that he was present at the hanging of Mrs. Surratt and the others. His eyewitness account is particularly interesting. He tells of the strict security that was in evidence around the prison. Outside the walls was, he said, “a double line of soldiers for the entire length, standing by twos with bayonets touching one another.” There were guards at each entrance and signed passes were required for admittance.

 Collins went on to say:

 “I have never quite known exactly how I did it, but I actually went through all these lines of troops without a pass, and in less than twenty minutes from the first attempt I was stationed not thirty feet away from the scaffold and in full view of everything said or done in connection with the execution. I suppose the fact that I was dressed in uniform had much to do with it. I think I am the youngest of living people who witnessed the most historical execution in this country.”

 Collins said that he had reason to regret his boldness after the trap fell, however: “Boy thought I was, I turned away with a sensation of horror and faintness and a feeling that I have never since lost, that I had no wish ever to witness another such scene.”

 Who were William and John Collins? Is there any verification for this wonderful story?

 

The records of the Sixteenth N.Y. Cavalry confirm that William Collins was a private in Company K. Prior to enlisting in the 16th he served in Company G, 28th New York Infantry.

 

According to the regimental history of the 28th N.Y. Infantry John Collins was born September 28, 1843 in Albion, New York. He was in the 28th N.Y. from May 22, 1861 to June 2, 1863. During this time he was captured and paroled by the Confederates twice. He had been promoted to the rank of sergeant when he was mustered out.

 He reenlisted as a private in Company K, 16th N.Y.V.C. on June 20, 1863 and served until October 3, 1865. He returned to Albion and farmed there until his death in March 1904. The unit history of the 28th N.Y. said he was one of the members of the Garrett’s Farm Patrol and received a share of the Reward money, but this is incorrect. Pvt. Collins had close contacts with members of the Patrol but was not one of them, nor did he receive any Bounty.

 

In the Doherty Archive is a letter from William Collins to John E. Hoover, Capt. Doherty’s nephew, written shortly after Doherty’s death. William Collins advised the family on how to obtain a pension for Doherty’s widow. He also wrote about Boston Corbett’s prison life in Andersonville and he mentioned the “bad blood””between the soldiers of the Garrett’s Farm Patrol and the Baker clan. Collins also told Hoover about John Collin’s presence at the Execution.

 In this letter, dated May 10, 1897, he said his brother “ . . . was present and saw the execution. Capt. Doherty I believe let him into the yard. He was only a boy at the time and was enlisted in the Regt as he was too young but he staid with the Regt. for about 18 months and was a general favorite with all the Officers and particularly Capt. Doherty. Col Switzer (Colonel Nelson B. Sweitzer) of the 16th N.Y. Cav. was determined to have him educated and sent to West Point at the close of the war, but he wanted to come home with the rest of us and did so.”

 William mentioned that his brother John was a graduate of Yale University.

 

Yale University‘s Alumni Office provided a listing for John from THE YALE OBITUARY RECORD 1928-29. It gave the following details:

 

John Chamberlain Collins was born on September 19, 1850 in Albion, New York. His parents were Michael Collins, an Irish-born farmer, and Susan Prime Collins, a descendant of a Pennsylvania Dutch family. He “joined the 16th New York Cavalry (although too young to enlist) and remained with it as a volunteer helper, stationed near Washington most of the time; was with that regiment at the time of capture of the assassins of President Lincoln and also accompanied it in the scouting and warfare against Colonel John S. Mosby.”

 After the end of the war Collins attended the Normal School in Brockport, New York. He then moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where he founded the New Haven Boys Club in 1874, (“It was the first organization of its kind”, he later recalled) and served as director until 1877. He was instrumental in establishing the Boys Clubs in the U.S. and Canada and worked with that organization for many years. He enrolled in the Yale Divinity School and received a B.A. degree in 1875 and a B.D. in 1878.

Collins served as an evangelist and missionary in Nebraska, superintendent of the New Haven Gospel Union, editor-publisher of THE GOSPEL UNION NEWS and director of the International Christian Workers Association. He died in New Haven on August 26, 1928 and was buried in Whitneyville, Conn.

 

William Collins wrote to Frank Hoover that Gen. Nelson Sweiter, commanding officer of the Sixteenth Cavalry, offered to nominate John Collins as a candidate to West Point, but that John wanted to attend religious school instead. What made him decide on this career? An important clue is found in the only recollection that John Collins wrote about the 16th N.Y. Cav., an article was mostly about Sergt. Corbett.

 

Collins said the following about Corbett: “I do not recall any other man in our regiment who made open religious profession. His tent in the camp at Vienna, Va., was only a few feet from mine across the narrow company streets. I recall him distinctly with hair parted in the middle. When I asked him once why he was his hair in this way he replied that it was because Jesus did so. The men made much sport of his religious views and eccentricities, but he took it in good part. He often expressed the view that he had been divinely selected and guided as Booth’s executioner and the avenger of the great-hearted President.”

Rev. Collins’ life-long dedication to religious and public service leads to one seemingly inescapable conclusion: that he chose this path directly because of the character and preaching of Boston Corbett.

Corbett was a true believer and often inspired religious-minded people with his good works and suggestions of “divine direction.” Rev. Collins was a religious “do-er” not just a religious talker. This sounds like the kind of Christian of which Corbett would have approved.

 It seems certain that John C. Collins was the “company boy” of the 16th N.Y.V.C. and that he was present when the Conspirators were hanged. But was he the Boy in the Photo? How many other boys were there in uniform when the Lincoln Conspirators were executed?

 Sources:

 — Boyce, C.W., A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE TWENTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT NEW YORK STATE VOLUNTEERS, FIRST BRIGADE, TWELFTH CORPS, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, etc. Buffalo, New York; C.W. Boyce, 1896.

 — Alexander Gardner, Execution of the Conspirators, “Photo No. 4,” “Incidents of the War” series. See, Katz, D. Mark, WITNESS TO AN ERA: THE LIFE AND PHOTOGRAPHY OF ALEXANDER GARDNER. N.Y.: Viking Press, 1991. Pg. 189.

 — “Recollections of Boston Corbett” by John C. Collins from THE WASHINGTON (D.C.) STAR, April 12, 1914.

 — “John C. Collins and Boxing. The New Venture of New Haven’s Versatile Ex-Clergyman.” SATURDAY CHRONICLE (New Haven, Conn.), August 5, 1911.

 — Collins, John C., “Starting Something For Boys. A Bit of Autobiography for a Purpose.” SATURDAY CHRONICLE (New Haven, Conn.), December 21 and 28, 1912.

  — William Collins letter to John E. Hoover, dated May 10, 1897, Edward P. Doherty Archive, Wm. Hallam Webber Collection.

 

–Yale University’s Alumni Office, THE YALE OBITUARY RECORD 1928-29. New Haven, Conn.

 

END.

 Best

Barry

 outreach@awesometalks.com

 

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If you are interested in reading interviews by Lincoln scholars, experts, historians and even a Mary Todd Lincoln performer, please click on one of the interviews below.
 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 “An Awesometalk With” DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian (posted on December 08, 2008)

 “An Awesometalk With” ROGER NORTON, Webmaster of the ‘Abraham Lincoln Research Site’ (posted on December 30, 2008) 

 “An Awesometalk With” LAURA FRANCES KEYES, Mary Todd Lincoln performer (posted on January 26, 2009)

 

 

 

 

UPDATED (Mar 12): The Lincoln Conspirators Execution Photos, A Study in Detail

March 12, 2009: Barry Cauchon

cu-herold-atzerodt-atr53

 

The 15 chapter serial presentation on The Lincoln Conspirator Execution Photos –  A Study in Detail is now completed. It is a detailed study of the ten Alexander Gardner photographs known to exist from the executions of the convicted Lincoln assassination conspirators. Each photograph was analzyed, with a focus on the details, to help bring the story of the event to life. Warning: The subject matter of this study is graphic and should not be viewed by young children.

I’m sure you will find this study fascinating as you view the photographs and the stories behind them.

The series is located under my ‘Pages’ section, and can be accessed there or through the links below.

Here is a breakdown of the chapters. Click on the links below to take you to the chapter you wish to view.

Best Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

THE CORRECT ORDER OF THE LINCOLN CONSPIRATOR EXECUTION PHOTOS

February 09, 2009: Barry Cauchon.

On February 6, 2009, while preparing chapters 7 & 8 for my series on “The Lincoln Conspirator Execution Photos – A Study in Detail” I made a discovery. It seemed that the accepted order of the ten photographs of the event taken by Alexander Gardner was incorrect. If my observations are right, the order of the photos need to be revised.

Here is what I found out.

The Empty Scaffold

The Empty Scaffold

#1 – The Empty Scaffold was the first photo taken in the series. No one debates this placement.

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THE ORDER CONFLICT – The next three photographs are the images where the order is in dispute.

Arrival at Scaffold (1)

Arrival at Scaffold (1)

#2 – Arrival at Scaffold (1) was the second photo taken. In James L. Swanson and Daniel R. Weinberg’s book, “Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution”, this photo is incorrectly placed. It is shown as being 3rd.

reading-the-death-warrant-1421

Reading the Death Warrant

#3 – Reading the Death Warrant shown in the Swanson / Weinberg book is listed as 4th.

arrival-at-scaffold-2-2425

The Ministers Pray (historically known as “Arrival at Scaffold”)(2)

#4 – The Ministers Pray (historically called Arrival at Scaffold)(2) is shown in the Swanson / Weinberg book as the 2nd photo taken.

Before I continue I just want to say that I have great respect for the book “Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution”. It really is a wonderful book and I can’t recommend it enough. However, the flaw in the order of photos #2, 3 & 4  should be clarified.

When the Swanson / Weinberg book was first published in 2001, they would not have had on-line access to the Library of Congress photos that are available today. And because of those high-rez images, we are now able to zoom in and see the details that the authors and other researchers may not have been privy to.

You can see all of the detailed images from photographs 2, 3 & 4 in my series “The Lincoln Conspirator Execution Photos – A Study in Detail”, Chapters 7, 8 & 9.

But briefly, here is what I saw and discovered when I zoomed in on the details.

Photo #2: Arrival at Scaffold: The execution party has just arrived and the scaffold is now crowded with 25 people. Things to note: a) Only three of the four prisoners have been seated so far. David Herold was just beginning to sit when the photo was taken. b) Only one umbrella has been opened to shield everyone from the hot sun. c) Everyone in the photo has their hats (or head coverings) on to protect them from the sun. d) General Hartranft holds the Death Warrant in his hand and is preparing himself to read it. The soldiers and staff near him are almost in the exact same position as they will be in the next photograph.

Photo #3: Reading of the Death Warrant:  As per the numerous eyewitness reports from newspapers and individuals at the execution, the reading of the Death Warrant came next in the proceedings. a) All four prisoners are now seated. b) Four umbrellas are open. c) Everyone still has their hat or head coverings on (except for one minister who is holding an umbrella). He previously wore his hat in Photo #2.  d) General Hartranft now reads the Death Warrant with his staff and soldiers surrounding him.

Photos #4: The Ministers Pray:  After the Death Warrant was read, Rev. Dr. Abram Dunn Gillette (Lewis Powell’s minister) stepped forward to publicly thank General Hartranft and his staff (on behalf of Lewis Powell) for their kind treatment during his imprisonment. Gillette and then two other ministers prayed publicly out loud for their charges. Corporal Wm. Coxshall, the soldier who stood below the scaffold (front left) reported that ““Umbrellas were raised above the woman and Hartranft, who read the warrants and findings. Then the clergy took over, talking what seemed to me interminably… ” a) Powell and Herold have had their hats removed. Atzerodt has had his white kerchief (or nightcap) removed and placed on the railing. This could be because the ministers have asked everyone to pray. b) Rev. Dr. Abram Dunn Gillette kneels to pray by Lewis Powell’s side. Mary Surratt’s two priests attend to her (Father Walter holds a cross to her lips and Father Wiget prays from his prayer book).

Arrival at Scaffold. a
Arrival at Scaffold. a) Only three of the four prisoners have been seated so far. David Herold was just beginning to sit when the photo was taken. b) Only one umbrella has been opened to shield everyone from the hot sun. c) Everyone in the photo has their hats (or head coverings) on to protect them from the sun. d) General Hartranft holds the Death Warrant in his hand and is preparing himself to read it. The soldiers and staff near him are almost in the exact same position as they will be in the next photograph.
Reading the Death Warrant

Reading the Death Warrant. a) All four prisoners are now seated. b) Four umbrellas are open. c) Everyone still has their hat or head coverings on (except for one minister who is holding an umbrella). He previously wore his hat in Photo #2. d) General Hartranft now reads the Death Warrant with his staff and soldiers surrounding him. 

The Ministers Pray

The Ministers Pray. a) Powell and Herold have had their hats removed. Atzerodt has had his white kerchief (or nightcap) removed and placed on the railing. This could be because the ministers have asked everyone to pray. b) Rev. Abram Dunn Gillette kneels to pray by Lewis Powell’s side. Mary Surratt’s two priests attend to her (Father Walter holds a cross to her lips and Father Wiget prays from his prayer book).

To look at all of the details from these, and the other photos from this series, see Chapter 1 under this link.

https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/the-lincoln-conspirators-execution-photos-a-study-in-detail-chapter-1-introduction/BestBarryoutreach@awesometalks.com——————————————————————————————-If you are interested in reading interviews from several historians, scholars and performers, take a look at the links below.

“An Awesometalk With” LAURA FRANCES KEYES, Mary Todd Lincoln performer

January 26, 2009: Barry Cauchon

 

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Laura Keyes as Mary Todd Lincoln. Photography by Andrioli

Hi and welcome to another “An Awesometalk With”. Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Miss Laura Frances Keyes. Laura is a talented actress and researcher who lives in Rockton, Illinois. She has an impressive resume, having performed in over 30 different plays in the past ten years. But now, 2009 brings a new challenge for her. Laura is taking on her first ‘one woman show’ with a performance of Mary Todd Lincoln, a historical figure who is near and dear to Laura’s heart.

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Actress Laura Keyes performs as Mary Todd Lincoln in her own 'one woman show'

 

BC: Welcome Laura. It’s wonderful to speak with you today.

 

LK: Thank you. This is really an honor.

 

BC: Well, it’s actually an honor for me because I have never spoken with a Mary Todd Lincoln performer. So thank you for joining me.

 

LK: Of course!

 

BC: I want to start off by asking you about your ‘one woman show’. Would you tell us about it, along with the setting and how you portray Mary?

 

LK: Well, as you said, it is a one woman show. My working title is called “Mrs. Lincoln”. If I come up with anything snazzier later on perhaps I’ll use it (laughing). It is currently in development, which means that just a couple of weeks ago I was still doing research and I am still finishing up writing and editing the play. And in a sense, it is a play. Some people might call it just a 45 minute monologue but I consider it a short play because it has a setting. It has characters. It will have development. It has a short introduction and it will have an ending and not have me just saying a final sentence and walking out of the room.

 

BC: What is the time period of the piece?

 

LK: It will be set in the late afternoon of Friday, the 14th of April, 1865 which, as many scholars will know, is just a few hours before the Lincolns leave the White House to go see the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC.

 

BC: That’s an interesting time period you chose for Mary Lincoln for sure. What lead you to use that particular moment as compared to a different one in her life?

 

LK: Well, to be perfectly honest, I did choose another time period in her life to start off with. My first thoughts were to set the one woman show in the middle of 1875 when she was confined to Bellevue Asylum after she was declared insane.

But through a number of persuasions and other decisions, I decided to go with this.

I did choose this day because there had been so much sadness in Mary’s entire life. Her mother died when she was 7 years old. And people just kept on dying throughout her life. By 1865, she had lost two of her sons, her father, and her grandmother with whom she was very close. Many of her brothers and brothers-in-law she had lost, not physically, but emotionally, because they had fought for the Confederacy. In essence, they were lost. She never spoke to them again. She had known so much loss in her life.

But then, for five days, from the 9th of April, when the war ended, to the 14th of April, that was probably the happiest time in her life.  There was nothing bad that could happen. The war was ended. She might have been looking forward to reconciling with some of her siblings although that’s very unclear. We do not have definitive evidence one way or the other. So to answer your question I set the play on this day because it was so happy. There is evidence in letters and journals that said Abraham and Mary were both so happy on this day. They took a private carriage ride and were looking forward to when and where they would retire, after his term was over. And then the whole world comes down around her ears.

 

BC: So by choosing this particular setting, you’ve put Mary in the moment before the crisis, in the calm before the storm. It’s a really nice piece of theatrical staging because your audience knows what’s about to happen, but you, as Mary, are not yet at that stage. You…are still in that happy place.

Briefly how is the play set up? Do you just speak for 45 minutes or is there a preface before the start to help explain the premise?

 

LK: There will be a short introduction done by another individual. Usually the host of wherever I will be performing. And that introduction will be written by me and I will just hand that person the card to read. And as you said, it will simply set the scene, it will remind the people of the date, because I do think that is important to really make clear that Abraham is still alive. Then the program will be for about 40 minutes followed by a social time for me to answer questions that the audience might have.

 

BC: You’ve really impressed me with your vast knowledge of Mary Lincoln. You’ve obviously done an incredible amount of research on her. From what you told me before the interview, you have a background in professional research. Do you not?

 

LK: I do indeed. I have Masters Degree in Library Studies which I earned in 2007. And before that, I was English major. And so I am very used to doing lots of research and writing about it. The difficult thing in this process has been to write this performance because I’m used to writing in a detached, academic way. I’m not used to writing in first person. I’ve had lots of fun while doing it. Many times I would just continue reading the books and then I’d have to go back and remind myself to take notes.

Many of the books written in the past three years have been of great benefit to me because some new evidence has come to light regarding Mary Lincoln. And they have been more…well researched. That’s just my opinion but I think they are better researched than ones from a couple decades ago.

 

BC: And you’ve obviously combined this talent for research with your love of acting. As I hinted at the beginning of this interview, your resume is quite extensive. I was quite amazed to see that you have performed in over 30 different plays since 1999.

 

LK: That is correct. And that is how I got involved in this.

 

BC: And to that point, our audience should know that this is not the first time you’ve played Mary Lincoln.

 

LK: You’re absolutely right. This whole thing started a little less than a year ago when a friend of mine that I had previously worked with called me up and she said “I’m going to be doing a play in the summer and I want to send you a copy”. Now we’ve acquainted with each other for awhile so I knew that she was not outright telling me that she was going to give me a role. That would have been unprofessional. However she definitely wanted me to read it and she wanted to know my opinion of it. And in conjunction with the sesquicentennial of the Lincoln-Douglas debates (http://www.lincoln-douglas.org/) that were first given in 1858, Freeport, Illinois (which was a site of one of the original debates) was going to produce a play. And their original intent was to produce a play about Lincoln. And when my friend, Lynn Jones, was searching for a play, she actually found that a lot of plays about Lincoln were kind of boring and kind of dull and kind of blah! And they always ended the same way. And so she found one simply called “Mrs. Lincoln”. It was written by Thomas Cullinan published in 1969. It was very gripping. One year ago I did not know everything that went on with Mary and her being declared insane. After reading the play I started my own research. So when it came time to audition I was there the first night. And still, I was shocked when Lynn cast me in the role of Mary. Mary was 56 years old in 1875 and, at that point in time, I was 25 years old. I was shocked. I thought that she had made a joke, but she said that I could do it. And it took me a couple of weeks to be convinced that I could do it.

 

BC: And just to clarify, the setting for this particular play is 1875 versus 1865 which you will be doing now.

 

LK: Yes. That play that I did in the summer of 2008 was set in the summer of 1875 when Mary Lincoln was declared insane by a court of law and confined to Bellevue Asylum in Batavia, Illinois. It was very intense, but I found that I was immediately drawn to Mary and to her story and to her struggle that she went through to be understood – to try and convince people that she was not insane. And that’s why I first started to do my research. I shared whatever I found with the rest of the cast.

 

BC: You mentioned that when you played 56 year old Mary you were 25 at the time. So to age you on stage, that must have been an interesting process. How did they accomplish this and will you be following a similar approach in your current play?

 

LK: First of all it won’t be a similar situation if only because right now I am portraying Mary at 46 and because I want to keep the idea of her being happy and, in a sense, full of life I’m not going to age myself that much.

However things could change. Perhaps I will receive comments that I should age myself. But for now, my decision is to keep her young looking.

 

Regarding what happened in the play, early on we made that decision that we were going to age me actually beyond 56. Our aim was early 60s because our thought process was that Mary had been through so much stress in her life. We did have one photograph of Mary taken in 1875. And she looked older; she looked old and tired, like a very stressed woman. And so our aim was to make me look like someone in her early 60s.

 

I had a team of one hairdresser, two make up artists, and a personal costumer who worked on me every single night. And it was such a process! It took an hour and twenty minutes from start to finish. On the last performance, I asked someone to take photographs of me going through every stage of the process. I wanted to remember this. Not only did I want to remember the people who helped (because I couldn’t have done this on my own), I wanted to remind myself that it took a long time to get into that. And that was just the outward appearance of her. I had to work on adjusting my posture. Not just because I was in two different corsets throughout the play, but it was the idea that one would not have moved very quickly in 1875. Nowadays we are used to moving very quickly – jumping up from your desk or go running and talk to the person over here and answer the phone. But back then there was no reason to move very quickly…unless there was a fire or something.

 

BC: (chuckles)

 

LK: I had to work at moving a little bit more slowly, but not so slowly that people thought I was under water. I did read somewhere, but can’t remember the reference, that she did suffer from arthritis so I tried to be careful of that. Also, I added some gestures and little ticks just to make her an interesting person because no person is ever perfectly, perfectly still. They have little habits that people don’t even notice that they are doing. And there are other little things that I added, especially in one scene where Mary has a very long discussion with her son. There were moments of silence which were actually very uncomfortable on stage. As an actor you’re trained to never want silence… you always want something going on. Well there had to be silence in this scene because the silence spoke just as much as the words – there is a reason why these people weren’t speaking. And so I had to think of something to do while there was silence. And so all of these outward appearances, they all came together to be Mary Lincoln.

 

I put so much time and effort into this, that when it was over I cried because it was such a wonderful experience. But I never thought that it would continue.

 

BC: You had a lot of really great feedback on your performance and because of that it started you thinking about portraying Mary again. Is that correct?

 

LK: Yes. Three different people within three weeks called me and asked if I would give a talk on Mrs. Lincoln. And at first they didn’t want me to come dressed up. They thought that I would just come and share my experiences and share the research that I had done. The first person that asked me I said “Oh, maybe. I don’t know. Let me think about it.” And the second person that asked me I said “Oh, well, that would be interesting.” And by the time the third person asked me (and these people did not discuss amongst themselves. I know they didn’t) I was so surprised I actually said “You know, there might be something to this . . .!” And that’s when I started talking to some friends who are Civil War re-enactors. My friend Donna said “Oh Laura, this could be great. You would love to do this. This would be perfect for you.” And so it was through the help of a number of my friends, especially these Civil War re-enactors, that I started down the right path on First-Person Interpretation.

 

BC: What is the premise of your one woman show? Do you address the more somber side of Mary? Her history of mood swings, ill temperament, etc. Or does the play center on just the happy time you discussed earlier? Is any of Mary’s history brought up in the story?

 

LK: This one woman play won’t really address the different mood swings and behavioral issues that were very prevalent in the play that I did and have been much commented on. And I’ve decided not to address them because I would like to focus on the good times and the happy moments. I have set up a situation where Mary is talking with her seamstress, Lizzy Keckley, who is also a little known person in history. But Lizzy is slowly making a comeback.

 

BC: …a former slave who became her seamstress.

 

LK: That is correct. By many accounts, they were very close friends. Lizzy was a seamstress who owned her own store in Washington DC; She closed that down in order to be a companion to Mary Lincoln. And they were very close. There were many letters showing that they were very close friends. And so the situation that I have set up in my one woman show is that Mary is reminiscing to Lizzy and the audience just happens to be there and be listening in.

 

BC: I did want to ask about you how you got into theater? Did your family get you into it or visa versa?

 

LK: Kind of visa versa. I was always interested in theater through elementary school. When I was in 5th grade I had the lead role in the Wizard of Oz – I was Dorothy.

 

BC: That’s not on your resume (laughing)!

 

LK: It isn’t because that was 5th grade.

 

BC: Thirty-one plays and counting!

 

LK: Throughout high school I took theater classes; I was in the drama club. And it broadened my horizons to learn that sometimes it doesn’t matter how talented you are, the director still casts her favorite.

 

BC: (chuckling)

 

LK: So soon after that, I did branch further out into community theater. I became involved with a few theater companies. I was on the Board of Directors of one for a while. And after a few years, I began to get my father involved. My father has a very good singing voice and has always been a bit of a clown. Slowly but surely I got him to audition for things. And to this day, he really enjoys doing it. He’s had some very good roles and I’m very proud of him.

 

The rest of my family has gotten just a little bit involved. My younger sister was happy to help with costumes and such before she got into Nursing school which takes up a lot of her time right now. And my mother enjoys being on the script committee and participating behind the scenes.

 

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Laura's dress was made by a local seamstress in Rockton, Illinois. Photography by Andrioli

BC: Did you make your own costume or dress for this?

 

LK: I did not, no. While I do have a number of costume credits to my name, I purposely tried not to volunteer myself for doing a lot of things for the play in the summer of 2008, because I knew I would be really involved learning all those lines. I did do little things such as point out lots of historical inaccuracies (laughing). After awhile I think that those costume and prop ladies didn’t like my suggestions, although I was trying to be nice about it. But I would point out things like “You know, they didn’t have Velcro back then. You might want to change that”. Or “They didn’t have plastic back then, might we get a cup made out of china”? They had a ball point pen on stage …

 

BC: (laughing)

 

LK: … and I said “No, no, no. fountain pens I believe were invented in 1885. We’re talking about 1875. No one has a time machine here”!

 

And so for my presentation, I’ve actually purchased one of the dresses that I wore in the play. It was leant to the theater by a local seamstress and once I knew I was doing this presentation, I called her up and I made her an offer and she accepted it. The dress is very well made. It had to be adjusted just a little bit as the hemline was a little short for me. The dress was adjusted by my friend Donna and now it fits me wonderfully. It looks gorgeous. I had my portrait taken in it…

 

BC: …which looks fantastic. Two of the photos are posted here in this article.

 

LK: Yes, thank you for including them. The photographer Andrioli did a wonderful job.

 

I did make many items that will be used during my presentation – my reticule, things like that that. Also …umm, okay, I made all the underclothing; there I can just say it!

 

BC: (laughing)

 

LK: …but you’ll never see those. And that’s actually many layers of underclothing that you’ll never see that I made myself.

 

BC: Knowing what Victorian undergarments even looked like along with knowing what was required to make those dresses … ahh … ‘puff out’, is definitely not my specialty (laughing) as you can tell.

 

LK: (laughing)

 

BC: So I will trust that your sewing talents have been true to form.

 

Umm…after that awkward little moment, let me ask you this Laura. Where and when is your first performance?

 

LK: It will be on the 12th of February, Abraham’s birthday. And it will be at Talcott Free Library (www.talcotfreelibrary.com), here in Rockton. The ladies there have always been very good to me. A couple months ago when I when I first started this research they noticed that I was checking out lots of Lincoln books and I was requesting Lincoln books from different libraries.  Eventually they agreed that any new Lincoln books to come in, I was the first one to get them. And so it’s kind of a small town library atmosphere. But I’m really looking forward to it. I will truly be amongst friends when I do it for the first time.

 

BC: Terrific. Do you have any future plans or hopes?

 

LK: I did receive, through a third party, a name and phone number of a woman who wants me to give a performance for them back in Freeport.

 

Also, I have just received an invitation to do the same presentation for a group of librarians in Rockford (IL) in April, so we are just making those final arrangements.

 

I have applied for membership with the Association of Lincoln Presenters which is an association that has about 250 members.

 

BC: And that’s nationwide, too!

 

LK: That is correct. They have number of members from all over the nation. This association does have a website and also a link to Abraham and Mary presenters that interested parties could contact. I’ve yet to learn if I have been accepted into the Association. I had to write some small essays in order to apply for membership.

 

They have a very good mission statement. On the application form, they asked me what evidence I could give them to show that I have done this before and if I had, had I done it successfully. And so I had nothing to give them except the newspaper clippings that were written for the play. I was interviewed for the newspaper a handful of times during the summer of 2008 while the play was going on. So, I sent that in and hopefully I will learn about that soon.

 

BC: Laura, I hope it really works out for you. It’s been a very interesting and informative interview and I’ve really enjoyed talking with you today. Is there anything you’d like to share with the folks here before we close off?

 

LK: I want to say thank you to you, Barry, and everyone else who is reading this interview. I appreciate the interest in Abraham and Mary Lincoln. I really do. Even though I am not a history major, I’ve always been interested in history and as some random famous person once said “Those who do not know history are cursed to repeat it”! I do agree with that in the sense that I think everyone should know their history. My personal mission is that I want to educate people of Mary Lincoln’s true life. There are so many books out there but a lot of people would much rather sit and listen to a 40 minute presentation rather than sit and read a book that would take them a weekend to read. So that is my mission. I can only hope that I accomplish that mission and I thank the people for being interested in reading this blog and for possibly coming to see a performance.

 

BC: Laura, thank you very much.

 

LK: Thank you.

 

BC: If anyone is interested in contacting Laura to book a performance, you can either contact her at the following email address: Keyes97 AT aol DOT com or leave a message on my email at outreach@awesometalks.com and I’ll make sure she receives your inquiry.

 

END

 

Best

Barry

 

outreach@awesometalks.com

 

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Other interviews posted to date:

“An Awesometalk With” ROGER NORTON, Webmaster of the ‘Abraham Lincoln Research Site’ (posted on December 30, 2008)

“An Awesometalk With” ROBERT KRAUSS, 509th Composite Group Historian (posted on December 16, 2008)

“An Awesometalk With” DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian (posted on December 08, 2008)

 

“An Awesometalk With” HAROLD HOLZER, Lincoln Scholar (posted on November 10, 2008)

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SWIFT JUSTICE – THE LINCOLN ASSASSINATION STATISTICS

January 12, 2009: Barry Cauchon

By today’s standards, the speed at which the government resolved the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 was unbelievably swift.

Let’s look at the time frame from the moment John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger to shoot the President at Ford’s Theatre on April 14 until the moment the trap was sprung to hang the four condemned conspirators on July 7. What you will find is that, from start to finish, the entire process took under three months, or exactly 83 days, 15 hours, 11 minutes.

That fact seems unfathomable when you consider that during this time period the following took place:

  • The President was shot, died of his wound and his body was sent on an extensive funeral train tour around the northeast United States before finally being buried in Springfield, Illinois.
  • John Wilkes Booth was tracked, cornered and killed in Virginia.
  • Hundreds of potential conspirators were questioned, detained, arrested and even imprisoned. All would be released with the exception of eight that would eventually stand trial for the conspiracy related to the crime.
  • The military trial of the eight conspirators was assembled, witnesses gathered and presented, verdicts reached and the convictions and sentences carried out.

Here is a breakdown of these events (all occurring in the spring/summer of 1865) and the timeframes associated with them.  Note: All times are approximate as very few ‘exact’ times are known for many of these events.

83 days, 15 hours, 11 minutes ‘or’ 2 months, 22 days, 15 hours, 11 minutes– The time it took from the moment Lincoln was shot at 10:15 pm on Friday, April 14 to the moment the traps were sprung to hang the four convicted conspirators on Friday, July 7 at 1:26 pm.

9 hours, 7 minutes – The time in which Lincoln remained alive from the moment he was shot at 10:15 pm on Friday, April 14 to the time he died at 7:22 am on Saturday, April 15.

11 days, 8 hours, 15 minutes – The time it took from the moment Lincoln was shot at 10:15 pm on Friday, April 14 to the time John Wilkes Booth died at around 7:00 am on Wednesday, April 26 after being shot in the neck at the Garrett farm by Sergeant Boston Corbett. 

13 days, 6 hours – The time it took for Lincoln’s Funeral Train to leave Washington DC at 8:00 am on Thursday, April 21, travel through 180 towns and cities while participating in eleven public viewings, and finally reach Springfield, Illinois where the President was buried on Wednesday, May 4 at around 2:00 pm.

72 days, 10 hours, 26 minutes ‘or’ 2 months, 11 days, 9 hours, 26 minutes – The amount of time David E. Herold had left to live after giving himself up on Wednesday, April 26 around 4:00am when cornered with John Wilkes Booth on the Garrett farm to the time Herold was hanged, along with three other conspirators at 1:26 pm on Friday, July 7.  Note: For those of you who are perfectionists, yes it is known that David Herold did not die quickly on the gallows and struggled for several minutes after the drop. Therefore several minutes are missing from the time listed above.

51 days ‘or’ 1 month, 20 days – The period of time that occurred from the start of the military conspiracy trial on May 9, to its completion on June 29.

24-1/2 days ‘or’ 3 weeks, 3-1/2 days – The time it took from the moment Abraham Lincoln was shot at 10:15 pm on Friday, April 14 to the first day the military conspiracy trial began on May 9.

3 days – The time it took from the night Abraham Lincoln was shot on Friday, April 14 to the arrests on April 17 of the first five conspirators who would be tried. Arrested on that day were Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, Michael O’Laughlin, Edman Spangler and Samuel Arnold. George Atzerodt was arrested on April 20, Dr. Samuel Mudd on April 24 and David E. Herold on April 26.

1 day – The time it took for the military commission to end the conspiracy trial on June 29 and reach verdicts for all eight conspirators on June 30. They agreed to the following sentences. Four conspirators were sentenced to hang (Surratt, Powell, Atzerodt and Herold), three were given life sentences (Mudd, O’Laughlin and Arnold) and one was given a six-year sentence (Spangler).

1 day – The amount of time it took Andrew Johnson to review and approve the conspirators sentences on July 5 to the time the conspirators first learned of their fates on July 6. At noon on that day, General John Hartranft visited each of the conspirators in their cells, where he read and hand-delivered the sentences personally.

1 day, 1 hour, 26 minutes – The amount of time it took from the moment General Hartranft informed the condemned prisoners of their fates at noon on July 6 to the moment the traps were sprung hanging the four convicted conspirators at 1:26 pm on July 7. The death warrants indicated that the executions needed to be enforced between 10 am and 2 pm on July 7. And as history shows, this order was carried out.

END

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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Here are some Lincoln related interviews that I recently conducted. Enjoy.

.

 

“An Awesometalk With” DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian (posted on December 08, 2008)

 

“An Awesometalk With” HAROLD HOLZER, Lincoln Scholar (posted on November 10, 2008)

“An Awesometalk With” ROGER NORTON, Webmaster of the ‘Abraham Lincoln Research Site’

Welcome to another edition of “An Awesometalk With”. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Mr. Roger Norton, the creator and Webmaster of the Abraham Lincoln Research Site website. Mr. Norton contacted me in early December, 2008 in reference to an interview I did with Dr. Thomas Schwartz (see “An Awesometalk With” DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian). It turns out that Dr. Schwartz was a former student of Mr. Norton’s. It’s a small world.

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I can tell you that I genuinely felt honored by his email as I am a fan of Mr. Norton’s website. I believe it is one of the best sites on Abraham Lincoln online today.

As you will read, Mr. Norton considers his site ideal for students, teachers, families and the general public. It contains accurate and easy to understand information, and he genuinely enjoys sharing it with anyone interested in President Lincoln, his family and their times.

I hope you enjoy our chat.

Best

Barry.

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NOTE: This interview was constructed from several written correspondence between Mr. Norton and myself over the course of several weeks.

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December 30, 2008

BC: Welcome Mr. Norton. It’s nice to be able to share your thoughts with my readers today. I’d like to begin by asking how your website got started.

RN: I taught American history at Herrick Middle School in Downers Grove, Illinois, from 1966 – 1994. When I retired from teaching, I looked for a way of staying in education without being in a classroom. In 1996 I created a website on the Lincoln assassination. Within a short period of time, the site was enlarged with stories about Lincoln’s life. Then I added a site on Mary Todd Lincoln. The entire website was named the Abraham Lincoln Research Site, and I invited people to e-mail me with their questions concerning the 16th president, his assassination, and his family.

BC: It really is a wonderful research site. And being that it just celebrated its 12th birthday on December 29, 2008; I imagine that it is still going strong and is as popular as ever?

RN: After a few years, search engines began listing my Lincoln pages near the top, and the number of visitors rose dramatically. The site, which is currently composed of 87 different Lincoln-related topics, is averaging about 1.4 million visitors a year.

BC: Wow. I had no idea that you were generating those kinds of site visit numbers. That’s awesome!

RN: It will celebrate its 12 millionth visitor (since 1996) early in 2009. February is always the busiest month. The web pages have a counter at the bottom which is a link to the site’s statistics.

It’s my estimation that I have replied to over 40,000 Lincoln-related e-mails since 1996. About half of these e-mails come from students, and about 10 percent come from overseas. Lincoln is especially popular in Europe and India.

BC: I understand that you had to change you web address earlier this fall. Did you lose readership because of this? And what caused the problem?

RN: Barry, right now my visitors are WAY down from a year ago because one of my web servers quit the business on October 31, and I had to switch about 2/3 of my site to my other server (and thus have new URL’s). I have currently lost many of my good placements in Google, Yahoo, etc. Right now I am averaging about 1,564 visitors a day; a year ago in December it was about 3,100 a day. Over the next few weeks [the 2008 holiday season], the number will grow considerably lower because schools are not in session. Then it will pick up again in January.

BC: What a shame about your loss of search engine placement. I know that it takes a long time to build up that kind of placement and get into the upper listings with the major search engines.  

RN: I am hoping that I will regain my Google placements within the next several months, but I know it may be a year or more before my number of visitors returns to the levels it used to be before the URL changes. All my stats are at http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=mrsosa66.

BC: Mr. Norton, can you tell us a little bit about your personal history and how you first got interested in Lincoln?

RN: I was born September 19, 1943, in Oak Park, Illinois, and graduated from Oak Park and River Forest High School. I attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. I then attended Indiana University where I received a Master of Science in Education degree.

As a youngster growing up in Illinois my early interest in Abraham Lincoln came from the stories told by my grade school teachers. In the 1960’s I became particularly interested in Lincoln’s assassination with the publication of a book entitled “Twenty Days” by Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt and Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr.

My interest in the assassination led to my mock trial unit in the classroom.

BC: To clarify, as a teacher, you would have your own students perform the mock trial of the Lincoln conspirators as part of their curriculum?

RN: [Yes.] Each year in December I explained to my classes that we were going to reenact the trial following Lincoln’s assassination. I picked prosecution and defense attorneys before the winter vacation. Each attorney was given a copy of “The Day Lincoln Was Shot” by Jim Bishop. Additionally, the lawyers were given a list of their witnesses and told to prepare testimony for them. The lawyers were advised that the local library had a copy of Benn Pitman’s transcription of the original trial. The lawyers had the entire two-week vacation to prepare their case.

After vacation each class elected a judge, and I picked the witnesses and defendants through volunteers. The jury was thus composed of the shy students who preferred not to take part in the oral simulation. We tried only six defendants [rather than eight]; Michael O’Laughlen and Samuel Arnold were dropped as some eighth graders had problems getting a grasp on those characters. As my classes averaged about 33 students, many of the original witnesses were not used, and in some cases students were required to play more than one role.

After a few preparation days for the witnesses to learn the lines written by the attorneys, we started the trial. In contrast to the actual 1865 trial, the defendants were allowed to take the witness stand. I allowed the trial to go for around ten class periods. Then, after final statements, the jury was excused to vote on the six defendants. Oftentimes the verdicts were different from 1865, particularly in the cases of Mary Surratt and Samuel Mudd. However, the only times Lewis Powell was ever found innocent was when William Bell (William Seward’s butler) did a poor job of testifying.

BC: That is a fascinating school project Mr. Norton. I can’t imagine how beneficial it was for the students. Was this something that you developed yourself, and for how many years did you run this mock trial?

RN: No, when I started teaching another teacher on the staff was doing a mock trial unit, so the idea didn’t originate with me.  For several years I experimented with different trial simulations including the one that followed the Boston Massacre.  Eventually I decided the Lincoln conspiracy trial was my favorite, and over the last 24 years of my teaching career that’s the one that was done in my classroom.

BC:  You also mentioned that some of the outcomes were different from the actual trial. I am particularly interested in knowing what the outcome was for Dr. Mudd. Would you elaborate on that for us?

 

RN: The majority of time Dr. Mudd was found innocent.  But in those days books such as Dr. Edward Steers’ “His Name is Still Mudd” had not been published.  Most Mudd biographies were either neutral or sympathetic towards the doctor.  When my student lawyers researched the case they had trouble finding reasons he might be guilty.  Steers’ book opened a lot of eyes with its persuasive arguments about the doctor’s complicity with Booth.  I would recommend both Steers’ book and Michael Kauffman’s “American Brutus.”  Kauffman takes a different view than Steers, and readers can decide for themselves what they think of Mudd’s guilt or innocence.  Both authors present convincing arguments.  I exchange e-mails with both authors (both of whom have helped me with my website), so I will keep my personal opinion private.

BC: Returning to your current Abraham Lincoln Research Site, where do you produce and maintain it?

RN: I operate on a computer in our den which contains several bookcases holding about 350 books on Lincoln and family. In essence I am a “research librarian” who only deals with one topic. Questions from students are mainly related to research and help for homework. Questions from adults cover a myriad of topics ranging from clergymen seeking a Lincoln quote for a Sunday sermon to travelers wondering why there is a statue of Lincoln in Parliament Square.

BC: I like your site a lot, Mr. Norton, as I can see many people do. Is there a simple formula as to why that is?

RN: I believe the site’s appeal is due to the fact that it is written mainly for students, teachers, families and the general public. Lincoln scholars would find little new by reading my research; my goal has been to bring Lincoln and his legacy to students and the average American.

BC: In case my readers are unfamiliar with your website, I wanted to let them know that all your information is free. This is not a pay-per-view site.

RN: The Abraham Lincoln Research Site is a not-for-profit website. I operate it simply because I enjoy the subject matter and the ego satisfaction of helping people. It has been a truly wonderful retirement experience.

BC: It certainly has been beneficial to untold numbers of students and other researchers. You must be proud?

RN: Lincoln‘s life story is an inspiration for all Americans as his accomplishments and perseverance to succeed in life were phenomenal. The purpose of my website is to share his experiences and character with as many people as possible. I think this is especially important nowadays in a country that is deeply in need of positive role models.

BC: I couldn’t agree with you more Mr. Norton. I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts with my readers and look forward to speaking with you again in the future to see how you and your website are doing.

Thank you.

END

If you would like to visit Mr. Norton’s website please click on either of these attached link.

Abraham Lincoln Research Site    http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln2.html 

Best

Barry

 

outreach@awesometalks.com

 

 

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Other posted interviews to date:

 

“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 

 

 “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

“An Awesometalk With” Robert Krauss, 509th Composite Group Historian 

(posted on December 16, 2008) 

 

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CLOSE UP IMAGES FROM THE LINCOLN CONSPIRATOR EXECUTION PHOTOS

cu-lewis-powell-atr15
UPDATE ANNOUNCEMENT:
June 1, 2009:  Barry Cauchon
 
The original article carried here called “CLOSE UP IMAGES FROM THE LINCOLN CONSPIRATOR EXECUTION PHOTOS” has been deleted and replaced with a much more intensive study filled with far better detail and scope.
It was a 15-chapter series called “The Lincoln Conspirators Execution Photos – A Study in Detail”. In it, I had posted the ten known original photos taken of the executions by photographer Alexander Gardner and presented a study of the details found within each image. But I have recently removed the study as it is in preparation for becoming a book. I want to thank everyone who had a chance to read the study and comment on it. I’ll post instructions on where and how to obtain the book as soon as it is available.
Best
Barry 

DID YOU KNOW (Part 15) ABRAHAM LINCOLN

1. Did you know … that Abraham Lincoln was the first President to make Thanksgiving a national holiday! On October 3, 1863 he issued a proclamation that set the precedent for the national holiday observed today. It is often referred to as the Proclamation of Thanksgiving and was written by Secretary of State, William Seward. Here is the proclamation as found in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 6, pages 497-498, edited by Roy P. Basler.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who,Page  497 while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

[L.S.]

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

2. Did you know … that on April 14, 1956, the last surviving person who was in Ford’s Theatre the night of the assassination passed away. His name was Samuel J. Seymour and he was 96 years old. It’s ironic that he died exactly 91 years to the day that the assassination took place. At the time of the assassination, Seymour was just 5 years old. His godmother, Mrs. George S. Goldsborough, took him to see Our American Cousin. They sat in the Dress Circle facing opposite the Presidential box and witnessed the assassination and Booth’s leap to the stage.

Reference: We Saw Lincoln Shot: One Hundred Eyewitness Accounts by Timothy S. Good.

we-saw-lincoln-shot-book-timothy-s-good

3. Did you know …  that Abraham Lincoln wore reading glasses? He first needed them at age 47 (around 1856). On the night of his death, the contents of Lincoln’s pockets held two pairs of his glasses/spectacles. The prescription for the lenses of the spectacles is +1.75 and +2.00.

 tm012-th at0050hs-th

Above is the collection of items President Lincoln had in his possession on the night of his assassination. Two pairs of eyeglasses were part of that collection. Courtesy Library of Congress.

NOTE: Just this month (November 19, 2008), a pair of Abraham Lincoln’s spectacles sold at the 2008 November The John Lattimer Collection of Lincolniana Grand Format Auction #6014 for US$179,250.00. The pair is made of zinc-colored metal with adjustable frames, open loop terminals.

lincolns-spectacles-1 

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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To see the entire series, click here “SUMMARY OF THE “DID YOU KNOW” ABRAHAM LINCOLN SERIES (Parts 1-15)”         

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If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by three Lincoln experts:

 

“An Awesometalk With” ROGER NORTON, Webmaster of the ‘Abraham Lincoln Research Site’ (posted on December 30, 2008)

.

“An Awesometalk With” DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian (posted on December 08, 2008)

 

“An Awesometalk With” HAROLD HOLZER, Lincoln Scholar (posted on November 10, 2008)

 

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“An Awesometalk With” HAROLD HOLZER, Lincoln Scholar

November 10, 2008: Barry Cauchon

Hi all: I start a brand new feature on “A Little Touch of History” today. I have begun interviewing prominent people in their fields of expertise and my first guest was Harold Holzer, Lincoln scholar, who has assisted me on this blogs several times. The interview took place on November 4 – Election Day. I hope you enjoy our chat. Barry

  perdue-hi-resi

“AN AWESOMETALK WITH” Harold Holzer, eminent Lincoln Scholar and Civil War expert.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008, 2:30p.m Duration: 36 minutes.

 

BC: Today I start a new feature on ‘A Little Touch of History’ called “An Awesometalk with”.

It’s my honor to introduce my very first guest, Mr. Harold Holzer, eminent Lincoln scholar and Civil War expert.

Mr. Holzer has authored, co-authored or edited over 31 books, written over 400 articles and participated frequently in various media events and lectures.

He is the Senior Vice President, External Affairs with The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Co-Chairman of the United States Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

On several occasions Mr. Holzer has generously shared his expertise with me to help ensure that the information presented here, in my blog, is accurate.

I want to thank Mr. Holzer for his kindness and welcome him to ‘A Little Touch of History’. Welcome Mr. Holzer.

HH: Thank you. It’s great to be with you. You’ve exhausted me just reading those credits. But now I know why I’m so tired.

BC: I’m sure (laughing). It’s kind of ironic that this is the first day we get a chance to talk live, although we have corresponded in the past, this being November 4th, Election Day. And that leads me into my first question. It’s been a long campaign for the candidates running for this presidency. How do you compare this campaign to the one that lead up to the election of President Lincoln in 1860?

HH: Well you’ve certainly touched on the more obvious of the first point, which is that the 1860 campaign, and all the campaigns in that era, was mercifully shorter.  If you include the ‘run-up’, as they call it today, Lincoln gave some speeches in November of 1859 and then was elected a year later. But the interesting thing, and the big difference is that, after his Cooper Union speech in New York City in February of 1860 (arguably the speech that propelled him into position to be a contender for the nomination), he said nothing. He did nothing. He traveled nowhere. He stayed at home. So did two of the other three candidates for President. The only one who traveled was Stephen Douglas and he was mocked and taunted for doing that because it was not considered appropriate.

So it was certainly a noisy campaign. It was filled with activity. But the candidates, basically, were not part of all that frenzied activity. It was all surrogates.

 

BC: Once Lincoln won his election, it was that period between then and the inauguration, that a lot of very interesting reactions to that election took place. And it was pretty well the foundation for the Civil War that was to follow shortly.

You’ve just released a book “Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860 -1861”, which covers the turbulent months between the election and that inauguration. Can you tell us a little bit about your book and how President-Elect Lincoln handled himself during that crisis?

 

HH: Um yeah, I can tell you a lot!

 

BC: (Laughing)

 

HH: The harder way is to tell you a little (laughing).

Let me start by saying that it was a four month transition. My argument in this book is two fold. First I argue that his actions as President-Elect have not been fully appreciated, that if he had not preserved the integrity of the Presidency he wouldn’t have been President. He might not have ever been inaugurated. He took enormous precautions about his own safety, about political fairness, about creating the right kind of cabinet, about writing the right kind of inaugural address and also about being quiet when too much noise might have upset the precarious balance that was holding things together in the North, not just the South.

 

So I could have written a book that listed all of the challenges that he had in sections. In other words, I could have listed cabinet selection, inaugural address, the trip to Washington, political pressures, patronage appointments. But if I had done it that way it wouldn’t have given a fair or an accurate view of what Lincoln’s life was like, and really what the national life was like in that period. And it was turbulent. All of these things were happening at once. All of these challenges were hitting at once. And every day of his secession winter he face appointments, cabinet problems, writing correspondences whether to speak or not to speak, where to go, and also all the little personal things that happened. So I just put them together, day by day practically. And I think it gives a real portrait.

 

I can say that there was a critic who, otherwise wrote a very nice review of the book in the Washington Post, said that I had sort of spoiled things for her because she had long believed in the notion that Lincoln grew in office and became great as the challenges got greater. And I’ve ruined it by showing that he was great earlier. So I apologize, but that’s sort of the way it is.

 

BC: I think that’s a very good point, because he showed, prior to his running for President, a certain strength. But it does sound like in that particular secession winter he really came into his own!

 

HH: I think so. And I think it’s been read the wrong way by previous historians. They all thought that it was a period when he didn’t understand what was going on and he had to get there to “get it”. He made a commitment not to allow slavery to be perpetual and to expand, and he stuck to his guns, as far away as he was from the action. You know for every month he would have not done it he would have delayed real freedom and inequality in America by another ten years. So, I dare say Barack Obama would not have been a presidential candidate in 2008 if Abraham Lincoln had made the wrong moves in 1860 & 61.

 

BC: Just a quick sidebar Mr. Holzer. Were party politics as strong back then? Did the President really have power or did he have to follow party lines?

 

HH: I think party politics were even stronger!

Every city had a Republican newspaper and a Democrat newspaper. You could count on your party to back you even if you were ridiculous. And the other people would oppose you no matter how sensible you were. I think he worried about congressional alignment, about whether he would get his cabinet nominees ratified. And it was very partisan. I know that both candidates for President this time around talked a great deal about ending partisanship. Well you know it’s much better today then it was then, much calmer and much more open. I think we don’t appreciate how non-partisan we are in many ways.

 

BC: I noticed that your website lists the various locations you appear at and that you have a pretty strenuous tour schedule. Between book signings, book tours, lecturing on numerous Civil War and Lincoln events, and obviously giving TV, radio and blog (thank you very much) interviews, where do you find time to balance your life between these and all your other commitments?

 

HH: Ah, I have no idea how I do it. I mean I just survived the first couple of weeks here with Atlanta and Demoine and Springfield. And it’s really going to start with intensity now but fortunately the next week is all in New York City. I have four different talks next week.

I don’t know. I really love it. So I guess I absorb energy from the appearances and the book signings and the talks. And I guess I’m a little bit of a ham, so that helps. But I do have other things. I mean I have a full time job and I do take that very seriously. And I have a wonderful support staff here that helps the museum to continue its growth and its outreach to people from around the block and around the world. And I have a new grandson, so that’s pretty important too.

 

BC: Oh congratulations!

 

HH: You know it’s not that new. He’s 13 months.

 

BC: I have two step-grandchildren of my own and they’re an absolute blast!

 

HH: Oh it is just the greatest. It’s just as great as everybody said and that’s why the book is dedicated to him and to my late father for whom he is named. So, this young man has three books named for him in one season.

 

BC: (Laughing) Later this month, November 19th, the nation is going to celebrate the 145th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

 

HH: Right!

 

BC: And I understand that you’re going to be in Gettysburg, if I remember your schedule correctly, November 16th through the 19th!

 

HH: Right!

 

BC: And are you doing any public appearances or book signings during that time?

 

HH: Yes. The first thing I’m doing is the annual Lincoln Forum which is an event that meets every year. It’s the 13th anniversary. People register and pay out a registration fee. We have about ten scholars coming to give talks. So I am going to talk there. But I am also speaking at the Gettysburg Cemetery at the November 19 event. We’re unveiling the Lincoln Commemorative Coin on that day, which people will be able to buy and collect. And the revenue from which will support Lincoln activities in years to come. Also we’ll be doing a book signing. A few of my colleagues and I, who have written new books, will be doing a book signing at the new Gettysburg Visitor Center at around 2:00 pm on the 18th of November. So it’s going to be a busy time.

I may take a little detour to do something in Washington during the whole thing so…

 

BC: Something personally just for yourself (laughing)?

 

HH: More to come. I can’t talk about it much right now. Stay tuned!

 

BC: Stay tuned (laughing)!

The Gettysburg Visitor Center is a gorgeous place.

 

HH: I know. I’ve seen it. It’s really beautiful. And I love a book store that’s filled with people. So that’s what I love about it most, is that it’s filled with people who love to buy books about Lincoln and the Civil War.

 

BC: I was one of those people! I stood in a long line-up that day to buy my books. But it was worth it.

 

Another major event coming up in 2009 is obviously the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. And as I mentioned earlier, you are the Co-Chairman of the United States Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

 

HH: Correct.

 

BC: Can you highlight some of the national activities that are planned for next year and share them with us?

 

HH: I can! I think what I’ll concentrate on is February 12, Lincoln’s actual birthday. There are going to be big events in Washington such as the rededication of the Lincoln Memorial in the morning. There’s going to be a joint session of Congress. There will be the opening of a huge exhibition on Lincoln at the Library of Congress. Meanwhile there’ll be exhibitions at The National Portrait Gallery and the new Smithsonian of American History. That would already have opened. The night before the 12th, Ford’s Theatre will reopen with a special concert and a dinner and the opening of the Ford’s Theatre Museum. The Soldiers’ Home, where Lincoln had his summer White House, is going to unveil a Lincoln statue. Now that’s all in Washington. Things will be happening in other cities and anyone who wants to know more about what’s happening needs only go on www.lincoln200.gov and get the full schedule. There’s a lot going on.


BC: Terrific. Thank you. Regarding a couple of locations you mentioned, the Smithsonian and Ford’s Theatre, I’ve had some indirect advance looks at those exhibits and they are awesome.

 

HH: Yeah, they’re going to be great!


BC: I cannot wait to get back down there and see them when they’re open.

One thing with the Bicentennial approaching, there’s an overwhelming choice of books that will be coming out this year and next. I can’t even guess how many new books are coming out.

 

HH: We think there are going to be about 30 between the fall season that began about a month ago and the end of ‘09.

 

BC: And overall, would there be about a 1000 books that have been written over the years?

 

HH: Oh, maybe 10,000…

 

BC: Oh really! Wow!


HH: If you include pamphlets. Yeah.

 

BC: Well I’m looking to help your average student, who either wants to begin, or further their education, on the 16th President of the Unite States. Are there any books that you could recommend that are more beginner level?

 

HH: Certainly, every book I’ve ever written would be great! (Laughing)

 

BC: (Laughing) Oh good!

 

HH:  “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin was really wonderful. “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald, for people who know about history and just want a good life with Lincoln. Those are two internally wonderful books. And then for people who know more about Lincoln already, there are some among this group of new books, (such as) “Lincoln and His Admirals” by Craig Symonds, “Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief” by James McPherson. There’s a book about Frederick Douglass. There’s a new book about Lincoln and Charles Darwin. There’s a second book coming about Lincoln and Darwin. There’s a book about Lincoln and Robert Burns. So you can go from very general to very specific very easily. All the good writers are coming out with Lincoln books this year. I have four of them coming out between now and next fall. So you have to be in this market. You can’t just wait. So I decided to plunge in.

 

BC: I know the timing couldn’t be better.

 

HH: Yeah.

 

BC: I’m very anxious to get my hands on as many as possible.

 

HH: Good luck. It’s not a great economic time to be buying them all, but I guess it’s worth it because the literature is so great.

 

BC: During your career you’ve been honored with many awards and appointments, and have met and worked with famous politicians and statesmen. Would you describe one or two instances that really stood out as special for you?

 

HH: Sure. I guess I’ll address the political side, as opposed to the show business side, which I also love. I have a real weakness for that I must say. I’m a real fan.

 

I think the two are from 12-13 years ago. <The first being when> Mario Cuomo and I published our book “Lincoln on Democracy”. It had been inspired originally by a delegation of teachers from the Solidarity Union of Poland who had come to visit Governor Cuomo. They said to him that they really needed books now that their country was escaping from the constraints of the Iron Curtain and becoming free and independent. Cuomo suggested that they study Lincoln, and they said that they had no Lincoln, that the Communists and the Nazis, between the two of them, had removed all of the Lincoln. So he said he would get a book together and that’s when we wrote our book “Lincoln on Democracy”. And we got Lincoln scholars around the country to contribute and to suggest great letters and writings by Lincoln. And it was translated into Polish and Japanese and Hebrew and Indonesian and of course came out in an English language edition.

The most memorable political, diplomatic event was when Lech Walesa came from Poland to receive the first Polish language copy. That was a pretty unforgettable day. The man who had helped liberate the country and who had wanted Lincoln on the bookshelves.

 

And then I guess the other, to be completely non-partisan, was when President Bush invited Sam Waterston and me, to deliver our “Abraham Lincoln: Scene and Heard” program in the East Room of the Whitehouse. That was pretty thrilling, I must say. We had done it for the first President Bush and we were invited to do it for President Clinton as well but President Clinton was busy campaigning for Hillary. So we did it to a full auditorium but with only President Clinton on the phone.

 

BC: I think those are both really special stories.

 

HH: Oh yes.

 

BC: When we have an opportunity, I’d love to talk to you more about the Polish story.

 

HH: Oh sure. That’s now lost to the mist of memory ‘cause we didn’t record things the way we do now in those days. But anyone who wants to see the East Room thing from a couple of February’s ago, or I guess it’s more like three now, you can get them on C-Span’s website. It’s in the C-Span archives and you can buy a DVD from C-Span and see the President and us and see that whole program.

 

BC: Excellent. Are there any historical figures or events that you are personally interest in outside your field of specialty?

 

HH: Oh yeah! I read a lot about FDR and Churchill. I was actually inspired to do “President-Elect” by reading a book by a friend of mine, Jonathan Alder, on Roosevelt’s pre-presidential period and his first hundred days as President. He described how he wouldn’t cooperate with Herbert Hoover and it sort of inspired me to start looking into Lincoln again. So, I can thank FDR for Lincoln just as FDR turned to Lincoln, I turned to FDR.


BC: (Laughing)

 

HH: I used to read everything about John F. Kennedy. You know I was 11 years old when he was elected. I was enormously interested in politics because of him, and in government. And of course his death broke our hearts. And when it was over I read. I got all the picture books and the Life Magazine books and the Sorenson book and the Schlesenger book. And if I ever have time, I’d actually like to read the second wave of analysis of Kennedy.

 

BC: Do you think Kennedy’s assassination spawned what I’ll call an interest in historians to start looking back at Lincoln with fresh eyes because of their similar ending?

 

HH: You know it is…it is an interesting point I must say. I’ve never been asked that question before. It’s a really good question. It is interesting because it is almost ironic in a way, because Kennedy was very involved in planning the Civil War Centennial. When he got to be President, he found out that not much had been done to get the country ready to start celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. He got there on January 20th and the first event was supposed to be in April at Fort Sumter. And he really organized it. He fired the guy who was running it. He hired a new person. And ultimately, this person he hired had to find Lincoln’s catafalque for his coffin to rest on in the Capitol. So it came full circle.

 

But he was very interested in it. And of course, when he was killed, people published this laundry list of eerie similarities. You know, everything from the serious to the … both men were succeeded by a man named Johnson.

 

BC: Oh yes.

 

HH: Do you remember all those?

 

BC: Yes.

 

HH: Same number of letters in their names. One was killed in Ford’s Theatre, the other was killed in a Lincoln car which was made by Ford. I mean it just went on and on. One had it that Kennedy had a secretary named Mrs. Lincoln and of course they were elected a hundred years apart. So I think it did spur interest and it certainly spurred interest in the assassination idea.

 

BC: I think that’s where my interest in Lincoln arose. It started with Kennedy. I was living in Virginia at the time. I was only age five at the time of his death but…

 

HH: You could have not told me that you were younger (laughing)

 

BC: (Laughing)

 

HH: We could have gone through the whole interview and I could have just fantasized that you were old.

 

BC: (Laughing) Not by much. You know, I have great respect for my elders. So I…(laughing)

 

HH: I am having a big birthday this year so it’s a touchy subject. But it’s better to have it then not have it!

 

BC: On another personal note, what do you like to do in your spare time, if you have any? Do you have hobbies or interests?

 

HH: You know I guess playing with the baby is my big interest now, when I can. I like to go to the theater. I go to one opera a year but I used to like to do that. And I love baseball so I go to a few baseball games every year. I used to watch baseball games like an idiot, just sit there and watch them. I don’t do that anymore. I do other things. But I watch baseball while I’m writing. It’s a great sport to watch when you’re writing ‘cause you don’t have to watch it all the time and if something happens you can just look up and see the instant replay.

I have been watching 10 seasons of the Yankees without paying complete attention. And as an historian, I have to bid a sad farewell to the stadium this year. But that’s about it. As you say, I don’t have much time to do much of anything. But I do get to go to the theater.

One thing I’ve given up is the movies, which I regret, because I used to love going to the movies and now it’s so easy to see them on TV.

I love to read murder mysteries, British murder mysteries basically. And my wife and I try to watch one British murder mystery every weekend. You know some kind of thing that we get from the BBC catalogue or watch on one of the mystery channels or channel 13 mysteries. You know…PBS mysteries. That’s about completes my rather boring life.

 

BC: Well the grandson is…

 

HH: That’s the key!

Now if I can just complete everything to make him like Lincoln, the Yankees, and go to the theatre, then I’ll have the perfect grandson. But he’ll be perfect even if he hates them all.

 

BC: That’s true. But it can’t hurt to try some light handed influence.

 

HH: Exactly.

 

BC: (Laughing)

 

BC:  Now I’m going to take you way back for a second, when you were a high school student.

 

HH: Right.

 

BC: What was your experience with history at the high school level? And the reason I’m asking is…is there anything you can say to today’s students who really struggle with getting an interest in history?

 

HH: You know I have to say that I’m sorry about that. And I wish I was a better example of the right way to do it. I’m really not. I got brought into it by a 5th grade teacher. She inspired me to read. But I was never a really good listener in class. I don’t think you’d call it ADD but I was pretty bad in school. I wasn’t violent but I was, you know, the class clown kind of person. I think it was probably because I was younger than everybody in school having been advanced twice which was a big mistake socially, but not otherwise. And I never really conformed to what was expected of me, either in high school or in college. Otherwise, if I had realized that this is what I wanted to do, I probably would have gone onto the academy and worked in a college. But because I was such an unpredictable nutcase I wanted to do a lot of different things. I always wanted to work in television and I got to work in public television for six years. I always wanted to be in politics. Not to be the candidate, but to work in politics. And I got to work in a United States senate campaign, in mayoral campaigns, in congressional campaigns, and in gubernatorial campaigns and worked for a governor and a mayor. So I got that out of my system. Then to be asked to work at the Metropolitan Museum, the greatest cultural institution in the country, was the icing on the cake. And that’s been 16 years…during which time the Director and the President have encouraged me to lead my double life as a scholar as well.

So I’ve always been sort of on the outside looking in. And I guess I’m not a good person to advise people on listening in school, because I didn’t listen. I found it tedious and I wanted to read my own stuff. But I don’t think the teachers are making it any easier because the textbooks are not particularly appealing. You know, using the mass media, using DVDs, using the History Channel, it’s not a bad introduction. I think the academics ought to get off the high level snobbishness about that. Anyway we can get people interested, they’ll become readers eventually…

 

BC: I agree.

 

HH: …and better citizens as well. You know you don’t have to be a historian but it’s good to know your past because that’s the way you can trust the future.

 

BC: It’s interesting to me, especially when I relate it to the History Channel, or any of these other approaches you mentioned to help reach the kids. It’s so fast paced nowadays that kids want to be entertained and I think you’re right. I think that’s a tremendous way to capture them rather then doing the staid old way of “Read your books…”

 

HH: History has great stories, and great stories are entertaining. And I think this political season has been great for history because history is being made as we speak. And I think kids know that. And I think they’re excited about it and they’re thrilled to be living through it. If you don’t know that this moment is historic, no matter who wins this election, the people will know. But it’s either going to be an African American man or the first woman on a national ticket. And these are times that really shake things up. And how did we get here? Why didn’t we get here sooner? That’s what we should want to know. And I think people do want to know more than ever.

 

BC: I did gloss over your interest in show business so if I can just back track a second I know that this is a love of yours. Did you want to share a story or two from this area of you life?

 

HH: Well you know. I really think that Lincoln is a character who needs to be brought to life and not only on the page. And that’s why I’ve been lucky enough for these last 8 or 9 years, to do a series of performances with Sam Waterston from Law & Order who I’m sure you know.

 

BC: Yes.

 

HH: I met him 20 years ago or more when he was filming Gore Vidal’s “Lincoln” in Richmond. And we became friends and he’s been just delightful wanting to do this. And we’ve done it in Illinois and Washington and Connecticut and the Metropolitan Museum and the White House and Little Rock and ah …

 

BC: So you take your show on the road?

 

HH: Yes, we take it on the road! And we’re going to do it one last time by the way. Ford’s Theatre on February 26th and then we’re going to close it down forever.

 

BC: How does one get a ticket to that?

 

HH:  I think they’re going to be easily available and free!

So people just have to check in with Ford’s Theatre because it’s not part of their regular theater program. They’re doing a series of Lincoln events. So I think it’s going to be exciting. And I think it’s going to be accessible. I hope we fill it up. And I’m sure he will. You know…I don’t think I’m the attraction!

 

BC: Well for me you would be the attraction…

 

HH: And now I’m starting to do some of these with Richard Dreyfuss, which is a whole different story. Sam Waterston is like meeting a Shakespearean actor. But Richard Dreyfuss is more like meeting me, because he sort of is, I’m not going to say a Mini Me, because I’m his Mini Me! He and I grew up in the same area and if he had not left for California with is dad when he was about 10 he and I, and my wife, would have all gone to the same high school in the same year.

 

So we’ve become close. I did go to see a movie recently. I got to see “W” with him in it and it was a lot of fun.

And he’s done Lincoln now. So it’s a whole different kind of Lincoln, but it’s great fun.

 

BC: I bet it’s interesting to get the two dichotomies of …

 

HH: I know! (laughing)

 

BC: At this point, you’ve given me well over half an hour of a wonderful interview which I thought we might do in 20 minutes so…

 

HH: Well, I know. I talk too much. I’m sorry (laughing)

 

BC: Not at all. I could probably go on for an hour, but that’s…

 

HH: Well, if anybody who is not completely exhausted and wants more information, I do have a website. And I correspond with people on the website. There are also my book things and appearances and pictures. It’s Harold Holzer.com. And I hope people visit me there and I’d love to talk to them.

 

BC: Absolutely. I’ll post it at the bottom of this blog and add a link on the blog as well.

So, for the last question, what does Harold Holzer have planned over the next 2 to 3 years?

 

HH: I’m glad you asked!

 

BC: (Laughing)

 

HH: Probably not a good idea for marketing purposes!

 

BC: (Laughing)

 

HH: I’ll need a special marketer to have so many other things going on so soon. But I am the co-editor of a catalogue that’s coming out for the Library of Congress exhibition. It’s called “In Lincoln’s Hand”. It’s going to be a beautiful collection of absolutely gorgeous scans of some of Lincoln’s greatest letters and speeches from his childhood to his death. Never reproduced so beautifully and each one is going to be accompanied with a commentary by a distinguished observer. We have all four ex-Presidents, Sam Waterston, Steven Spielberg, Liam Neeson. Great writers like Tony Morrison and Adam Gopnik and E.L. Doctorow and, I know I’m forgetting people, but we’ve really got a wonderful list of people. So that’s one project.

 

Then I’ve got a book coming out from the Library of America called “Lincoln Anthology” which is a collection of great literature about Lincoln over the last 150 years. Ranging from William Cullen Briant on though Whitman and Sandburg, up to Gore Vidal and ending with Barack Obama’s speech in Springfield when he announced his candidacy for President. So that’s a big project.

 

And then I’m the guest curator and historian at an exhibition at the New York Historical Society next fall called “Lincoln and New York”. Yes there is a New York story and we’re going to tell it. And I’m sure we’re gonna make every effort to take complete credit for Lincoln ‘cause that’s what New Yorkers do.

 

BC: (Laughing)

 

HH: And I think that’s enough for awhile.

 

BC: Do you have a favorite Lincoln quote?

 

HH: A favorite Lincoln quote! You know, I’ve become so immersed in the period between the election and the inauguration that my new favorite quote is a very unserious one. When Lincoln got really angry and the people were expecting him to talk too soon, about too much, and to sooth and beg the South to let him be President, even though he felt he’d legitimately won the election, he said “I will not be a sucked egg, all shell and no insides!” That’s my new favorite quote.

 

BC: (Laughing)

 

HH: None of us wants a president who’s a sucked egg! We want them whole. And hopefully that’s what we’ll have with our new president as well.

 

BC: This has been a wonderful interview and I want to thank you Mr. Holzer for joining me today and sharing your thoughts with my readers. As mentioned earlier, you have a new book out “Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860 -1861”. And you folks out there need to look it up and read more from this great scholar.

 

HH: Barry, thank you very much.

 

BC: You’re very welcome. Thank you.

 

 

END

 

 

EPILOGUE:

Since the interview, the country has elected its next President of the United States in Barack Obama. As Mr. Holzer indicated in this interview, it’s an historic time. It’s living history. Watch it closely. Live it now, and in a few years, remember that you were here to experience it.

 

To close, I have to say that I truly enjoyed this conversation with Mr. Holzer. For me, there is nothing like talking to an expert about something you love. So many holes in one’s education get filled in, resulting in a more complete picture.

 

This interview was recorded live and has been edited (to take out all the ums, ahs and ‘poorly asked questions’ that I stumbled through). If time permits, I’ll post the audio file of the interview so you can hear Mr. Holzer’s words and ‘charm’. He really is a nice man!

 

Mr. Holzer’s generosity cannot be appreciated enough by me. Thank you again.

 

Below is the information I promised earlier.

 

Harold Holzer’s website is: www.haroldholzer.com.

 

Mr. Holzer’s Gettysburg appearances from November 16 – 19 are listed below.

 

  • Nov 16 • Opening Night Speaker for The Lincoln Forum, Gettysburg, PA (speaking on Lincoln: President-Elect)
  • Nov 17 • Lincoln Forum Book Signing at the Holiday Inn Gettysburg, 516 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg, PA
  • Nov 18 • Lincoln Forum Book Signing at the Gettysburg Visitor Center, 87 Taneytown Road, Gettysburg, PA
  • Nov 19 • Lincoln Forum “Lincoln Commemorative Coin” unveiling at the Gettysburg Cemetery, 87 Taneytown Road, Gettysburg, PA.

 

 —————————————————————–

 Other posted interviews to date:

“An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

“An Awesometalk With” Robert Krauss, 509th Composite Group Historian

(posted on December 16, 2008) 

—————————————————————–

 

Best

Barry

 

outreach@awesometalks.com

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THE LINCOLN CONSPIRATORS EXECUTION PHOTOS

November 6, 2008: Barry Cauchon.
The date was July 7, 1865. Alexander Gardner and his assistant Timothy O’Sullivan took a series of ten photographs using both a large format camera with collodion glass-plate negatives and a stereo camera (used to make 3D stereoscope pictures). This series of photographs are considered on of the first examples of photojournalism ever recorded.
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THE TEN GARDNER PHOTOS TAKEN OF THE LINCOLN CONSPIRATORS EXECUTIONS
 
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1. The Empty Scaffold – (large format) Reporters, soldiers and witnesses gather around the scaffold in 100 degree heat awaiting the execution party to arrive.
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2. Arrival on Scaffold  – (large format) The execution party, the prisoners and their guards, their ministers, etc. have arrived and gathered on the scaffold platform. The chief executioner was Captain Christian Rath. Three of the four conspirators have been seated. Only David Herold still remains standing.
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3. Reading the Death Warrant– (large format) General Hartranft reads the Order of Execution to the prisoners and assembled crowd.
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4. The Ministers Pray – (stereoscope) The execution party now listens to the ministers praying for the souls of the condemned. Reverend Abram Dunn Gillette is kneeling beside Lewis Powell.
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5. Adjusting the Ropes– (large format) The four conspirators are now standing (Mrs. Surratt is supported by two soldiers) and is being bound. A hood has already been placed over Lewis Powell’s head by Lafayette Baker’s detective John H. Roberts. The nooses are being fitted around the necks of David Herold and George Atzerodt.
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6. The Drop – (stereoscope) Gardner’s camera captures the moment just after the drop.
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All is Done (1) – (large format) The bodies remain hanging for about 25 minutes before being cut down.
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8. All is Done (2) – (stereoscope) The bodies remain hanging for about 25 minutes before being cut down.
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9. The Pine Boxes – (large format) The pine boxes are stacked around the temporary graves dug next to the scaffold.
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10. Rooftop View of Old Arsenal Yard and scaffold  – (large format). The bodies of the conspirators still hang from the scaffold.
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Best
Barry
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WHAT IS THE LAST KNOWN PICTURE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN ALIVE?

 

October 27, 2008: Barry Cauchon

Which of these pictures do you believe is the last one ever taken of Abraham Lincoln while he was alive?

   

Recently I’ve received quite a number of inquiries from students wanting to know the true answer to that question. The volume of inquiries makes me believe that a wonderful teacher somewhere has given an assignment to his/her class on this subject. If so, it’s a good exercise because there is so much conflicting information on this topic that I wanted to be sure myself before commenting.

So the first thing I did when faced with this ‘puzzle’ was to investigate the subject from all angles. First I took what I knew about the subject and mixed that with what I could find in books, on the Internet, from the personal opinions from peers and finally, comments from the experts.

I try very hard to only publish information that is verifiably true in an attempt to keep the historical record straight. With the advent of the Internet and self-publishing, it is astonishing to see how much information is posted as fact, when in fact, it is incorrect. The Internet has become a huge game of ‘BROKEN TELEPHONE LINE’ on which factual information quickly becomes outdated, twisted, misquoted, misunderstood and worst of all, reported as the God’s honest truth.

Case in point is the question the students have asked. During Mr. Lincoln’s political career, he participated in many photo sessions as well as sittings for life paintings and even two life masks. The three photos presented at the start of this article are the ones most claimed by sources to be the last photo taken of the President. A quick search on Google helps to prove this point. I found these claims on websites, in books and even in auctions for pictures being sold on ebay. There can only be ‘one last photo’ of Mr. Lincoln taken while he was alive. I say ‘alive’ because there is one authenticated photo in existence of the slain President in his coffin in NYC but that is a different story entirely.

To start with, let me clarify why there is so much confusion over this issue. Basically, the pictures above were taken at two different photo sessions in 1865. One was an impromptu session with photographer Henry F. Warren on the south balcony of the White House on March 6, 1865, just two days after Lincoln’s 2nd inauguration. In that session, Mr. Warren took three pictures of the President.

The other was a formal portrait sitting with photographer Alexander Gardner. At that session, Gardner took a total of five photographs. The date of this session is where the confusion exists. Originally, most Lincoln scholars accepted a date of Monday, April 10, 1865 as the day the sitting took place. Several books published in the 1960s by well-respected Lincoln authors agreed with this date. April 10 meant that these photos were taken just days before Lincoln’s assassination on Friday, April 14. 

But a few years ago, new evidence was found by Mr. Harold Holzer, an eminent Lincoln scholar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The evidence indicated that the date of April 10 was not correct and was more likely Sunday, February 05, 1865 instead. This being the case, the Warren photo suddenly became the last known one of Lincoln alive and to this day, it is still considered so.

I have corresponded with Mr. Holzer on numerous occasions and so I wrote to him to ask about this information. He wrote me a nice email in response and included some specifics about the circumstances surrounding his discovery.

“Barry
Happy to respond. Meserve, Lorant, and Ostendorf all long accepted the date of April 10 for the final Gardner studio poses. Then, years ago, I was researching Lincoln paintings from life and came across the diary of Matthew Wilson, who based his portrait in part on photos he commissioned–at Gardner’s. His canvas bore an unmistakable resemblance to one of the photos in that long-accepted “last” sitting–and according to the artist’s diary, the sitting took place on Feb. 5. Ostendorf and others quickly accepted–maybe appropriated is a better word–the story and adopted the new date. So that’s how Warren became the last photos. Since they were taken outdoors, however, some point out that Gardner’s remain the final studio poses. Hope this helps — Harold”
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Before continuing, I want to thank Mr. Holzer for his generousity in sending me this information. I know he has just released a new book and has begun an extensive schedule of touring dates and speaking engagements. Please see the end of this article for more on Mr. Holzer’s book and his personal appearance schedule.

Below is a description of the two photo sessions from an article written by James J. Nance for the February 2008 issue of Kentucky Monthly Magazine entitled “Lincoln’s Last Portrait”. Nance credits references from the book “Lincoln in Photographs” by Lloyd Ostendorf and Charles Hamilton, and describes both the Warren and Gardner sessions.

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UPDATE: March 10, 2009: The Henry F. Warren section of this article, which was based on the Ostendorf and Hamilton photographs may not be 100% correct. I have inserted notes in red where differences of opinions between Lincoln experts vary. Also, a new Warren photo has just become public which may show the President in front of the White House. Although this article does not cover that photograph, I have included it, and a close up, to help put it in context with the rest of the article.

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Since the Warren photo is considered the last known one of Lincoln alive, I’ll cover that one first. Then I’ll cover the Gardner session which took place about one month earlier. As well, I have included the information on the Mathew Wilson painting that helped to verify the real date of the Gardner sessions.

THE HENRY F. WARREN PHOTO SESSION (March 06, 1865) 
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“The final Lincoln photographs were taken during his inauguration in early March 1865.  In addition to a number of photographs of candid crowd scenes containing the president taken on March 4th, there were three notable photographs taken by Henry F. Warren on March 6th on the balcony of the White House. President Lincoln granted Mr. Warren’s request for a brief  impromptu photo session on the White House balcony. Lincoln carried a chair out himself.  Perhaps Lincoln believed that some photographic record of his inaugural was in order and Mr. Warren was at the right place at the right time.  The first photo was a standing shot, which is noted in Warren’s papers, although the negative and print have never been seen. The remaining two were quick photographs of the chest and head of a seated Lincoln.  Both of these photographs, O-112 and O-113, the last taken of Lincoln when alive, show him looking haunted and even more emaciated and haggard than during his last portrait O-116 from the session a month before on February 5th. Much of his visible exhaustion was surely due to the hectic activities surrounding his inaugural.  However his more advanced weight loss and deteriorating physical condition is evident. The war was still not over and the final details must have weighed heavily on Lincoln. Although these two Warren photos were posed, they could hardly be called a formal portrait. They are fascinating because of their spontaneity and how well they reveal the tension of the moment. They are also very sad images and are not the way most people wish to remember Abraham Lincoln”. 
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UPDATE: March 10, 2009: The debate about the Warren photo session concerns how many photos were actually taken that day. The story above claims three. Other’s claim two or even one (the one shown above). I have only ever seen just the one original myself. However there is a ‘second’ one, which is a retouched version of same photograph. If both of these photos are from the same original, then the story about two or three photos taken that day may be incorrect. As is often the case in history, conflicting information can often make it difficult to verify the ‘real story’. Regardless of the version you choose to believe, the Warren photo shown above is still considered the last known photo of Lincoln taken while he was alive.
The new photograph made public this week by the current owner Keya Morgan was taken by Henry Warren on March 6, 1865 (the same day as the Lincoln photo above). It is a shot of the White House but when zoomed in on, a tall man with beard appears. When measured in scale against the height of known structures in the picture, the figure is about 6′-4″, the same height as Lincoln. Experts are excited over the find but ‘cautiously optomistic’ about it actually being Lincoln in the photo. If this photo does contain an image of Abraham Lincoln, and it was taken AFTER the photo above, then this would become the LAST KNOWN PHOTO OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN ALIVE.
 
 

 

Recently discovered and published Warren photo taken on March 6, 1865. The image shows the White House. However when closely inspected, an image of a tall bearded man can be seen. Experts are 'cautiously optomistic' about the possibility that this is Abraham Lincoln.

Recently discovered Warren photo taken on March 6, 1865. The image shows the White House. However when closely inspected, an image of a tall bearded man can be seen to the left of the white gate pedestals. Experts are 'cautiously optomistic' about the possibility that this is Abraham Lincoln. Reed Saxon/AP

The photograph was in a family photo album belonging to Ulysses S. Grant VI, the great-great grandson of President Grant. On the back of the photo is Henry F. Warren’s seal and a government tax stamp. A written inscription reads “Lincoln in front of the White House”.

 

 

fgdf

The close up reveals a tall bearded man purported to be Abraham Lincoln. Experts are 'cautiously optomistic' about its validity. If this is Abraham Lincoln, it could be the last image taken of him while alive. Courtesy of Associated Press.

 

 
 
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(continuation of article from October 27, 2008)

I received an email from another Lincoln expert, Professor Ronald Rietveld, Emeritus Professor of History at California State University in Fullerton, California. Professor Rietveld is well known in Lincoln circles as the person who, at age 14, discovered the only known photograph of Abraham Lincoln in death. With regards to the Warren photo, I was surprised to learn that Professor Rietveld owns an original copy. Here is his response to my inquiry about the Warren and Gardner photos.

“Hi Barry:

Your impression that the last known photograph of Lincoln in life was taken by Henry F. Warren on Monday, March 6, 1865–is correct! Indeed, it was taken late afternoon on the south balcony of the White House. And I possess an original copy of that photo which was given to me by Bert Sheldon, a secret service agent at the Franklin D. Roosevelt White House. I think I was about 17 when he gave it to me in Washington, D.C. The other two photos which you attached were taken at Alexander Gardner’s Gallery in Washington, DC on Sunday, February 5, 1865. The last formal pose which Gardner took was a close up. However, the glass plate cracked, and after a single print was made, the glass negative broke completely and Gardner threw the broken pieces away. I do not know when they began giving the date of April 10, 1865 for Gardner’s photos. But the Kunhardts in Twenty Days [1965] missdate the photograph on pages 10-11 of their book. However, the very last photograph taken of the president, as I think you are aware, is the single print of the dead president lying in state in New York City Hall, April 24, 1865, which I discovered in the Nicolay-Hay Papers at the Illinois State Historical Library, Springfield, Illinois on July 20, 1952 at 14.

I hope this is of some help. — Ron Rietveld”.

 

THE ALEXANDER GARDNER PHOTO SESSION (February 05, 1865)

“On a cold bleak Sunday morning on February 5th, 1865 Abraham Lincoln, accompanied by his young son Tad, paid a short visit to the Washington DC photography studio of Alexander Gardner. The Gardner photograph session on February 5th took slightly over an hour from the president’s demanding schedule and consisted of five poses. The first showed a serious looking Tad leaning on a table, beside his amused seated father. All the other poses showed Lincoln sitting in a comfortable Queen Anne style padded chair with minor variations. Of the seated poses, the first had Lincoln with his hands on his legs, the second with his hands grasping the chair arms, and the third with his hands together in his lap holding a pencil and his reading glasses. The third pose, known today to Lincoln scholars as O-116, is the most revered of all Lincoln photos… “  

February 5, 1865 - Alexander Gardner photo of Tad and Abraham Lincoln (exposure #1)


February 5, 1865 - Alexander Gardner photo of Abraham Lincoln (exposure #3)

February 5, 1865 - Alexander Gardner photo of Abraham Lincoln (exposure #3) #O-116

In an article written by Linda Merrill called Abraham Lincoln, February 5, 1865 on http://picturingamerica.neh.gov a great description of the Gardner/Lincoln session is presented.

“Gardner’s surprisingly candid photographs have proven more enduring, even though they were not originally intended to stand alone as works of art. This half-length portrait of Lincoln (above) is one of the finest from that February studio session. The president sits comfortably in a sturdy chair, his left elbow resting on its arm, his right on his own slightly elevated knee. There is nothing in this photograph to indicate Lincoln’s exalted position: we might just as well be looking at a humble country doctor. His clothing appears plain (though not unfashionable) and his loosely knotted bowtie has been left slightly askew. By this point in his public life, the president had sat for dozens of photographs, and he would have been mindful of the need to hold perfectly still during the several minutes it took to make an exposure. In this print, Lincoln’s eyes look steadily toward the camera but his hands fiddle impatiently with his eyeglasses and pencil as if to remind the photographer that he had more important things to do. What draws and holds our attention is Lincoln’s expression, which the poet Walt Whitman described as “a deep latent sadness.” At the time this picture was taken, Lincoln had weathered the worst of the war and almost succeeded in his fight to preserve the Union, yet he was painfully aware how much that cause had cost the nation. Lincoln appears much older than his fifty-five years, and Gardner did nothing to flatter the president’s haggard, careworn features. The photographer may even have exaggerated them, for the turn of Lincoln’s head leaves one side of his face slightly in shadow, making his right eye and cheek appear hollow and cadaverous.

Before this session ended, Gardner asked the president for one last pose. He moved his camera closer and took a photograph of Lincoln’s head, shoulders, and chest.  Mysteriously the glass plate negative cracked. Gardner carefully took it to his dark room and was able to make one print, with an ominous crack across Lincoln’s face, before it broke completely and was discarded. This print, known as O-118, still exists to this day. Over the years many people have associated this crack with a symbolic foretelling of the assassin’s bullet that awaited Lincoln 10 weeks later”.

February 5, 1865 – Alexander Gardner photo of Abraham Lincoln (exposure #5) #O-118. This would have been the last known photo of Lincoln had Matthew Henry Wilson’s diary not confirmed that the Gardner photo session took place in February rather than on April 10 as had been previously believed.

MATTHEW HENRY WILSON, PORTRAIT PAINTING 

The final painting of Lincoln from life was produced by American portraitist Matthew Henry Wilson. Lincoln, accompanied by his son Tad and the artist, visited Gardner’s studio on February 5, 1865. Wilson had been commissioned by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles for a sum of $85.00 to paint the president’s portrait. Lincoln would later like the result and joke “that it was horridly like the original.”

But at the time of the session, Lincoln could spare so little time to pose, so the artist needed recent photographs to work from. The pictures served their purpose, but the resulting painting—a traditional, formal, bust-length portrait in an oval format—is not particularly distinguished and hardly remembered today.

  
 
After Lincoln’s assassination, a Boston publishing firm exploited the nation’s grief by producing prints of the portrait Matthew Wilson had based on Gardner’s photographs. Gardner’s own publisher countered a few days later by offering photographs from the February studio session. They were advertised as the products of “Mr. Lincoln’s last sitting.” That unsupported (and until recently, unquestioned) claim gave rise to the tradition that Gardner’s portraits had been taken just four days before Lincoln’s death, investing them with a special aura of martyrdom. We now know that these were not in fact the last portraits of Abraham Lincoln. Even though Gardner’s picture does not belong to the president’s final days, it records his weary and worried countenance during the last long weeks of the war, when the surrender at Appomattox was still some months away. 
END
I want to thank James J. Nance for the wonderful article posted here. Mr. Nance is also a talented artist and has produced a digital colorized version of O-116 which he sells online. I loved it so much, I bought one myself.
To view the piece, please see Mr. Nance’s website at:
http://www.abrahamlincolnartgallery.com/artistbio.htm
If you want to read about Harold Holzer’s new book “Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861” and review his very active speaking schedule, please link to:

http://www.haroldholzer.com/hh_1_home.html

For Professor Ronald Rietveld’s website, please link to:

http://faculty.fullerton.edu/rrietveld/

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:

 

“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 

 

  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

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sdfsd

Tall man by gate pedestal thought to be Abraham Lincoln. If true, this could be the last known photograph of Lincoln taken while alive.

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TWO ARTICLES WORTH READING AND COMMENTING ON

October 18, 2008: Barry Cauchon

I’d like to recommend two articles that I think you would enjoy reading. At the same time, I’d like your comments and feedback on them. Tell me what you think and let’s get a dialogue started. I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

The first goes by the title of “The Fame of Major General Lew Wallace” and the second is “Hangman Christian Rath: Incompetence, Complicity or Just Common Practice”.

The Fame of Major General Lew Wallace tells the story of a Civil War general who, in historical retrospect, was involved in some of the most memorable events of his time.

Then, as if that was not enough, he wrote three novels, one of which became a classic and is known world wide to this day. Find out which novel Lew Wallace wrote and what events he was prominently involved in by reading “The Fame of Major General Lew Wallace“.

 

  In the article, “Hangman Christian Rath: Incompetence, Complicity or Just Common Practice” the hangman responsible for executing four of the Lincoln conspirators is put on trial for botching some of the hangings. Did Rath mishandle the hangings which resulted in at least two of the conspirators needlessly suffering after the trap door was sprung? Did he purposely and maliciously conspire to inflict as much additional pain as possible on the guilty for their heinous crimes? Or was it just the way hangings were carried out and therefore, resulted in nothing out of the ordinary for that day and age? Find out by reading “Hangman Christian Rath: Incompetence, Complicity or Just Common Practice“.

Please read both articles and let me know what you think of them. I’d love to hear your comments.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:

 

“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 

 

  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

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DID YOU KNOW (Part 14) ABRAHAM LINCOLN

1. Did you know … that Abraham Lincoln was ripped, buff and a very muscular stud muffin! It’s true. Considering his height and posture, one would think this was not the case. However, based on observations by Gideon Welles, the Secretary of the Navy, who spent the last hours with the mortally injured President at the Peterson House …

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy

“The giant sufferer lay extended diagonally across the bed, which was not long enough for him. He had been stripped of his clothes. His large arms, which were occasionally exposed, were of a size which one would scarce have expected from his spare appearance….”.

2. Did you know … that Robert Lincoln, who died in 1926, was not buried with Abraham Lincoln, his mother, and three brothers. Instead he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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To see the entire series, click here “SUMMARY OF THE “DID YOU KNOW” ABRAHAM LINCOLN SERIES (Parts 1-15)”         

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If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by three Lincoln experts:

 

“An Awesometalk With” ROGER NORTON, Webmaster of the ‘Abraham Lincoln Research Site’ (posted on December 30, 2008)

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“An Awesometalk With” DR. THOMAS SCHWARTZ, Illinois State Historian (posted on December 08, 2008)

 

“An Awesometalk With” HAROLD HOLZER, Lincoln Scholar (posted on November 10, 2008)

 

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BLAZE YOUR OWN TRAIL IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS

September 12, 2008: Barry Cauchon

About one month ago I received an invitation to attend a one-day, special event on Saturday, September 13 in Springfield, Illinois. It is called “Blaze Your Own Trail in Illinois – Blogger Meet Up”. The event is sponsored by the Illinois Bureau of Tourism and has been organized by Edelman Digital out of Chicago.

Well, today is the day I fly down to Chicago and then drive the additional 3-1/2 hours south to Springfield. It’s my first trip to Springfield so I am really pumped about it.

Bart Simpson. A resident of Springfield, ???

Bart Simpson. A resident of Springfield, ???

Most people think of Bart Simpson when they hear about Springfield. And although the show has a running gag about what state Springfield is actually in, I can assure you that I’m headed to Springfield, ILLINOIS, the Land of Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln lived in Springfield for many years, marrying and raising his family, practicing law, serving in the Illinois House of Representatives and eventually, running his campaign for President of the United States. So for me, this is the place to be right now.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois

The event has been nicely organized with the morning being dedicated with a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM). I am really looking forward to spending some time here.

As some of you may know, I am a Senior Project Manager in the business of planning and building exhibits for museums, corporate environments and touring events. I spend a great amount of time in museums, 90% of them usually under construction when I am involved. So it is always a pleasure for me to just enjoy the artifacts and content of the finished exhibits without worrying about the showcases, the climate control systems, the audio visual and multimedia presentations, the graphics, the artifact mounts, the shipping and installation, etc.

There is an incredible infrastructure that goes into building a museum and I absolutely love the process. What you finally see as a visitor to one of these places, probably took several years to plan and execute. Be proud of the museums in your towns or cities. They are works of love and the people who bring them to you really know their stuff.

OK, enough preaching about how wonderful history and museums are (BUT THEY ARE!!!!). Let me get back to my trip to Springfield.

Thomas Schwartz during construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Thomas Schwartz during construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Mr. Thomas Schwartz, the Illinois State Historian, will be giving opening remarks at the ALPLM. I have had the opportunity to correspond with Mr. Schwartz recently and look forward to meeting him and discussing some topics of personal interest to me. Look for some of these discussions in later postings here. Stay tuned.

Anyway, after our visit to the museum, we will have a brief trolley tour of downtown Springfield and then a hosted lunch. Awesome!

The afternoon offers several optional tours. Of course since this is my first time in Springfield, I want to do them all!

Option 1 will allow us to visit Lincoln’s Home and the Lincoln Herndon Law Office.

Option 2 will cover the Illinois State Museum and the Dana-Thomas house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright).

In both options, a visit to the old State Capitol will be possible if time permits.

Option 3 will be a Lincoln History Walk.

“Oh my, oh my, what shall I do, what shall I do!”

Since this is my first time to Springfield, I want to soak up all that I can about Abraham Lincoln and his early history here. So Options 1 and 3 are calling out to me. But I hate to miss out on the visit to the State Museum and the Dana-Thomas House. The old State Capitol building is a must along with my own side trip to Oak Ridge Cemetery to visit Lincoln’s Tomb.

That’s a full day for sure. After dinner, it is probably an early night for me as I’ve got to get on the road by 3:00am Sunday morning to get back to Chicago’s O’Hare airport to catch my morning flight back home. It’s a whirlwind tour but I’m ready to rock.

Upon my return, I will write a full report on this exciting trip. Who knows what other things will happen while I’m there. I look forward to the visit and to meeting all the attendees and our hosts.

Have a great weekend and enjoy history!

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:

 

“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 

 

  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

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HAROLD HOLZER COMMENTS ON ‘LINCOLN IN DEATH’ PHOTOS

August 21, 2008 – Barry Cauchon:

Hi all: My blog has had a flurry of activity recently concerning several articles that I had posted on questionable Lincoln Photos in Death.

I was honored to be contacted by Mr. Harold Holzer, the Senior Vice President, External Affairs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Mr. Holzer is an historian and author, considered to be one of the leading Lincoln scholars in the world and he graciously offered to comment on the photos I have been debating here.

 1. THE BACHELDER PHOTO:

Unauthenticated photo of Lincoln after death, April 16,1865
Unauthenticated photo of Lincoln after death, reported to be taken in the White House on April 16,1865 by  John B. Bachelder.

The full article was posted on July 24, 2008 under the title “Lincoln Photos – Real, Fake or ‘Who Knows’!”https://awesometalks.wordpress.com/2008/07/24/lincoln-photos-real-fake-or-who-knows/

For those of you who are not familiar with this disputed photo, the controversial image was apparently taken by John B. Bachelder at the White House on April 16, 1865, the day after Lincoln died. Bachelder, who would become well known for his photographic and research documentation of Gettysburg in later years, never publicly commented about this photo. And there there is no evidence that this photo was actually taken by Mr. Bachelder. But some believe this to be real and others do not. 
John B. Bachelder and wife 1890

John B. Bachelder and wife 1890

RESOLVE: Mr. Harold Holzer indicated that this image appeared in Charles Hamilton and Lloyd Ostendorf’s book “Lincoln in Photographs: An Album of Every Known Pose”, 1st edition, released in 1963. A reprint came out in the late 1980s. The image turns out to not be a photograph at all but rather an engraving, which was to be used as a model for a later print. As well, the beard in the ‘engraving’ is too full as Lincoln wore a shorter beard during that spring. This is indicated in the last known existing photo of Abraham Lincoln taken prior to his assassination. It was taken by photographer Henry F. Warren on the south balcony of the White House on March 6, 1865. As you can see, Lincoln sports more of a goatee rather than a full beard.

Last known photo of Lincoln taken March 6, 1865 by Henry Warren

Last known photo of Abraham Lincoln taken by Henry Warren on March 6, 1865

CONCLUSION:The Bachelder engraving (even if based on a real photo) does not support the existing photographic evidence and therefore cannot be considered as a genuine Lincoln photograph.

2. MR. P’s PHOTOGRAPH
This is the first time we are publishing this photograph here. We were going to wait until September 3, 2008 however the review by Mr. Holzer allows us to post it now.
Metal plate photo in hinged frame

Mr. P's photo in hinged frame

Close up of the picture

Close up of the face

Close up of beard

Close up of beard

Close up of hands

Close up of hands

RESOLVE: Mr. Holzer reviewed these images on Tuesday, August 19 and expressed the following observations:
  • The beard is too full (as previously mentioned above)

  • “Why would Secretary of War Stanton have allowed a photographer to make this intrusive shot when he confiscated the picture of Lincoln all dressed up and lying in state in NY City hall?”

  • The arms and chest are too narrow. When the doctors removed Lincoln’s shirt after he was shot, they notice his chest and arms were very muscular. He was ‘ripped’. The body in these photos is not.

  • Is this a Daguerreotype? “Unlikely, as it would be just way out of fashion by 1865 and too hard to take in a room with no lighting.”

All of these were valid points, but the best was still to come!

  • The photo is not a new image. Mr. Holzer pointed out that he had seen it before in Charles Hamilton and Lloyd Ostendorf’s 1963 book, “Lincoln in Photographs: An Album of Every Known Pose”, 1st edition, on page 294. Mr. Holzer stated, “It seems to me they are one and the same shot with the alleged deathbed photo Lloyd Ostendorf and Charles Hamilton published as a spurious image in their 1963 “Lincoln in Photographs,” p 294.  I don’t disagree with their conclusions—the beard is simply wrong.  Lincoln may have had a sort of full beard for his February 1865 life mask, but as the March inaugural photos and the Henry Warren photos show the next day (not to mention the known photo of Lincoln in his coffin), his beard had been considerably trimmed down by the spring of that year”.  

  • END

After conversing with Mr. Holzer on several points for clarification, I was able to find the same photo (although reversed) in another book call “Twenty Days” by Dorthy Meserve Kunhardt & Philip Kunhardt, Jr., Harper & Rowe Publishers, NY, 1965 (see photo and link below). It looks like the exact same photo!

Identical photo (in reverse) from book "Twenty Days" by Dorthy Meserve Kunhardt and Philip Kunhardt, Jr.

Identical photo (in reverse) from book "Twenty Days" by Dorthy Meserve Kunhardt

CONCLUSION: The image is unlikely that of Mr. Lincoln based on the information presented here. But it does raise several questions about who it really is and the origin of the image itself.

QUESTIONS: Some of the questions raised are as follows:

  • Assuming that Mr. P. has an original Daguerreotype or tintype of this image, how did it end up in several books in the 1960s? Mr. P. found the photograph in a desk that his grandmother left to him when she died. This was about 25 years ago. The printed images have been in the public eye for at least 45 years!
  • Does Mr. P. have the original or is it a copy?
  • Was there more than one image made of the body at the time the photograph was shot?
  • Who is the man? Could it be one of Mr. P’s relatives? Mr. Holzer believes that the photo could be from the 1840s or 50s.
  • Where did Charles Hamilton and Lloyd Ostendorf get the original photo for their book?
  • What is the history of the picture?

FOLLOW UP: Mr. P is not disappointed that his photo was not Mr. Lincoln. He is actually thrilled that he owns a genuine ‘fake’ now. And it has given him a new area of research to investigate. History can be exciting, even if it isn’t on the ‘main stage’. Keep hunting Mr. P!

THANK YOU: Finally, I want to personally thank Mr. Harold Holzer for his time and efforts in helping me assist Mr. P  in this project. As well, I’d like to also thank Kevin O. Johnson, Ph.D in Dallas, Christy and Tins (pardijoe) for offering their comments, direction and assistance in solving the puzzle as well. Many many many thanks to all of you.

Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

—————————————————————–

  

If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:

 

“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 

 

  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008) 

 

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