LINCOLN ASSASSINATION ARTIFACTS (where to find them)

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

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

Best. Barry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Path of bullet through John Wilkes Booth upper vertibrae

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

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

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

Cast hands by Leonard Volk

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

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

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

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

Drum and drumsticks used at Lincoln’s funeral

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

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

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

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

Contents of Lincoln's pockets at time of his assassination

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

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

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

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

Lincoln's Deathbed from the Peterson Home

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

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

Ford's Theatre circa 1860s

Ford’s Theatre circa 1860s

Derringer used to assassinate President Lincoln

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

Booth’s knife and sheath

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

John Wilkes Booth’s boot

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

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

Dr. Samuel Mudd's medical kit

Dr. Samuel Mudd’s medical kit

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

Booth’s compass found on him after his death

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

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

  • John Wilkes Booth Compass and Diary

Wanted Poster

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

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

  • Original Framed portrait of George Washington from the Presidential Box

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

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

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

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

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

Blood-stained playbill from night of the assassination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Manicles worn by Lincoln conspirators

  • Keys to the conspirators’ jail cells

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Additional assassination artifacts (tbd) 

17. Huntington Library, San Marino, California

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

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Best

Barry

outreach@awesometalks.com

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GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK and HISTORIC AREA

If you are interested in this country’s history and the Civil War holds a particular interest, then you should consider a road trip running north to south, or visa versa, between New York and Florida. Almost every town along the way was involved in the Civil War conflict in one way or another and each marks their involvement with historical markers, cemeteries, statues, museums and even battlefields.  

 

In a recent road trip from Toronto to North Carolina, I experienced many of these towns and enjoyed discovering their local Civil War stories and flavor. However, the grand daddy of them all had to be Gettysburg, the site of the largest and bloodiest battle to ever be fought on American soil in history.

 

HISTORY

On July 1-3, 1863, the three day battle was fought in Union territory between the defending Federal Union army and the Robert E. Lee’s advancing Confederate troops. Although both sides suffered tremendous losses (over 51,000 dead, wounded or missing), the Confederate army could not sustain the fight and Lee ordered his army to pull back into Virginia. 2008 marks the 145th anniversaries of the battle as well as Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address which he gave at the dedication to the Gettysburg National Cemetery on November 19, 1863.

 

LOCATION

Gettysburg is located in the southern part of Pennsylvania just a few miles north of the Maryland border. The main highway Business US 15 took me right into the center of town.

 

WHAT TO SEE

Although there are many attractions and non-Civil War related things to see and do in the Gettysburg area, I will address the ones that relate the history itself. For more information on attractions and events, go to www.gettysburg.travel .

Gettysburg National Military Park Map

Gettysburg National Military Park Map

 

HISTORY TO SEE

To truly appreciate the Gettysburg experience, you must give yourself no less than one full day. Two days is highly recommended. I will quote information from the Gettysburg National Military Park Pennsylvania brochure put out by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. It will be in italicized font. Where I add other information will be in regular type face (non-italicized).

 

SEEING THE PARK AND THE BATTLEFIELD

The fighting at Gettysburg is history. Upon these peaceful, till Pennsylvania fields, more men fell than in any other battle fought in North America before or since. Many of the Union soldiers who died here are buried in Soldiers’ National Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln delivered that poignant statement of purpose – the Gettysburg Address.

 

Much has been written and said about this, the greatest battle of the Civil War. There are also many treasured artifacts collected in museums here and across the country. But the most tangible link to those three days in July is the battlefield itself, parts of which look much as they did in 1863. Fences, hill, rocks, cannon and even the monuments provide an opportunity to ponder and try to understand what happened here.

 

You have probably come to Gettysburg by car. By following the Self-guided Auto Tour on the other side of this brochure, you can easily drive around the battlefield in two to three hours. At most of the numbered stops, exhibits and tablets describe significant action during the three days of battle.

 

The Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center and Museum contains the film “We are Met on a Great Battlefield,” the “Battle of Gettysburg” cyclorama, and the Gettysburg Museum of the American Civil War, which place the campaign and battle in the larger context of the war.

 

Note: The Visitor Center and Museum are brand new, having just opened in the spring of 2008. Admission is free to the Visitor Center and Museum only. It is broken up into a series of galleries that cover various aspects of pre-war activities, weapons, uniforms, daily life in the field, and the battle and subsequent aftermath. Each gallery is filled with a volume of artifacts, information and a series of really good AV media presentations timed to run about every five minutes or so. I particularly like the way the museum tells the story of the three day battle by running an AV presentation segment for each. As one ends, you leave that gallery to go to then next where the story is picked up again in another presentation. This process is done with the intention of moving the crowds along from ‘station to station’ and keeps the traffic flow going. Although finding your way from gallery to gallery can be confusing once in awhile it’s still a wonderful experience. Again, give yourself adequate time to go through the entire museum (several hours) and the also see the film and cyclorama program (which will be mentioned below). Artifact highlights for me included seeing Robert E. Lee’s field office furniture (such as his sleeping cot, desk, etc); the stretcher which carried the mortally wounded General Stonewall Jackson on, after his own men accidently shot him; and the display on John Brown, the abolitionist who took matters into his own hands at Harper’s Ferry. He killed several people during the event and was arrested, tried and hung. The door from his prison cell is displayed along with a hand written letter from the widow of the husband who Brown killed.

 

 The building also contains a book and museum store, a “Refreshment Saloon” food service area, licensed battlefield guides, current schedules of ranger-conducted programs, and information about visiting Eisenhower National Historic Site.

 

The film “A New Birth of Freedom” and Gettysburg Cyclorama program is a 45-minute ticketed experience designed as a starting point for visitors. The “Battle of Gettysburg” cyclorama is a sound and light show of the spectacular 377-foot painting by Paul Philippoteaux of Pickett’s Charge, completed in 1884. (Note: the Cyclorama is currently undergoing conservation but will be opened again in September, 2008)

For a fee ($55.00 at time of writing), a licensed battlefield guide will conduct a two-hour tour of the battlefield in your auto or bus (Note: I did not get an opportunity to take this tour, but from those who have, I understand that it is well worth it!).

Groups and individuals may make advance reservations for the Theater/Cyclorama experience, a tour with a licensed guide, and a visit to Eisenhower National Historic Site by calling 1-877-874-2478.

 

During summer months, park rangers give walks, talks, and programs at various locations on the battlefield to help you understand the battle and its impact on the soldiers, civilians, and the nation.

 

The best way to sense the land and Gettysburg’s past is to walk the battlefield as thousands of soldiers once did. The Cemetery Ridge Trail, about 1.5-miles long, begins at the visitor center and covers the ground defended by Union soldiers in repulsing Pickett’s Charge.

 

The National Cemetery Trail begins at the National Cemetery parking area and covers the cemetery grounds, where the Union dead from the battle are interred and Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.

 

For longer hikes, inquire about the 9.5-mile Billy Yank Trail or the 3-mile Johnny Reb Trail. Both trails are used by the Boy Scouts of America as part of their Heritage Trails Program.

 

For information about motel accommodation, restaurants, privately owned campgrounds, museums, and other facilities in the community, check at the visitors’ center with a representative of the Gettysburg Convention & Visitor Bureau. You can also write them at P.O. Box 4117, Gettysburg, PA 17325, or check www.gettysburg.travel.

 

For more information contact: Gettysburg National Military Park, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, PA 17325. Phone: 717-334-1124. Website: www.nps.gov/gett.

 

OTHER WAYS TO EXPERIENCE GETTYSBURG

 

Some of the other ways to experience Gettysburg, including other historical attractions are as follows: This information is taken, in part, from the Official 2008 Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau Attractions and Dining Guide.

 

EVENTS REMAINING IN 2008:

 

July 4-6, 2008

Annual Civil War Battle Reenactment, Gettysburg Anniversary Committee, PO Box 3482, Gettysburg; 717-338-1525, www.gettysburgreenactment.com

 

November 1-2, 2008

Autumn Gettysburg Civil War Show, Thomas Publications, Allstar Events Complex, Gettysburg; 717-642-6600, www.thomaspublications.com

 

November 19, 2008

145th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg; 717-337-6590.

 

November 22, 2008

Remembrance Day Parade and Ceremonies, Downtown Gettysburg; 717-334-6274.

 

November 24 – December 15, 2008

Candlelight Christmas Tour, Shriver House Museum, 309 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg; 717-337-2800, www.shriverhouse.org.

 

There are many other events listed in the guide. Please go to www.gettysburg.travel for more details.

 

ATTRACTIONS

 

On pages 8 to 23, there are over 50 attractions listed that would take you probably two-weeks to see them all. However, here is a very brief highlight of some of the things you can see and do while in Gettysburg relating to the history of the event.

 

American Civil War Museum

297 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg; 717-334-6245, www.gettysburgmuseum.com. History comes alive! Utilizing life-sized wax figures, the two-part guided tour features 35 dioramas, followed by a digitally enhanced Battle of Gettysburg re-creation. Presentation includes with an animated Abraham Lincoln delivering the immortal Gettysburg Address. Great orientation to the four-year conflict; a must see for all ages.

 

American Stories Historic Walking Tours & Programs. By appointment; 717-624-8154.

 

Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides. Private guides tested and licensed by the National Park Service. Tours provided in the comfort of your own vehicle; 877-874-2478.

 

Battlefield Driving Tours. CD & Cassette self guided tours. Various locations; 717-337-1217.

 

David Wills House. Museum about President Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. The David Wills House is the home where President Lincoln spent the evening (Nov 18, 1863) the night before he delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19; 717-334-1124. www.mainstreetgettysburg.org.

 

Fields of Freedom at Gateway Theater. “Through discovered diaries, the 30-minute film immerses you in the lives of two soldiers preparing for the onslaught and unimaginably heroic charge, the ferocity of the battle and the anguish of its aftermath; 717-334-5577. www.gatewaygettysburg.com.

 

General Lee’s Headquarters. Historic Civil War Museum is housed in the Gettysburg headquarters of Confederate General Robert E. Lee where he and his staff planned the Battle of Gettysburg; 717-334-3141. www.civilwarheadquarters.com.

 

Gettysbike Tours. Guided bike tours by a National Park Service Licensed guide or rent a bike for your own touring; 717-752-7752. www.gettysbike.com.

 

Gettysburg Battlefield Bus Tours. Licensed bus tours open year round. 717-334-6296. www.gettysburgbattlefieldtours.com.

 

Gettysburg Diorama at Artillery Ridge Campground. This is a 35-minute narrated program using a 3-D miniature diorama of the entire battlefield. The presentation is uses narration, light and sound effects to tell the story of the three-day battle; 717-334-6408. www.artilleryridge.com

 

Gettysburg Expedition Guide by TravelBrains. The Guide includes a computer CD-ROM, a driving tour (tape or CD) and a 56-page full-color guidebook filled with detailed maps, photographs and trivia. Available online and at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. 888-458-6475. www.travelbrains.com.

 

Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center (previously mentioned above). 866-889-1243. www.gettysburgfoundation.org.

 

Gettysburg National Military Park & Ranger Tours. Offers a full range of summer ranger programs, battlefield walks, evening campfire programs, special events, living history groups and band concerts related to the Battle of Gettysburg and President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Available mid-June through mid-August. 717-334-1124. www.nps.gov/gett.

 

Guided Historic Walking Tours. Tours providing quality interpretation and education that gives a better understanding of what life was like for the civilians in a town caught between the battle lines before, during and after the Battle of Gettysburg. 717-339-6161. www.mainstreetgettysburg.org.

 

Historic Battlefield Bus Tours. 717-334-8000.

 

Historic Church Walking Tours. 717-337-0733. www.historicchurchwalkingtours.org.

 

Jennie Wade House Museum. 717-334-4100. www.gettysburgbattlefieldtours.com

 

Lincoln Train Museum. Toy train museum featuring over 1000 trains and dioramas illustrating the railroad’s role during the Civil War. Also features the Presidential Train with President Lincoln as he travels to Gettysburg to dedicate the National Cemetery. 717-334-5678. www.gettysburgbattlefieldtours.com.

 

National Riding Stables at Artillery Ridge Campground. Two-hour guided horseback tours of Gettysburg National Military Park. 866-932-2674. www.artilleryridge.com.

 

The Rupp House. Features exhibits about the Rupp family, who lived in town during the Battle of Gettysburg. 717-334-7292. www.friendsofgettysburg.org. Admission free.

 

Shriver House Museum. Museum highlighting the Confederate occupation of Gettysburg through the story of George and Hettie Shriver who were residents during the Battle of Gettysburg. 717-337-2800. www.shriverhouse.org.

 

Soldier’s National Museum. 717-334-4890. www.gettysburgbattlefieldtours.com.

 

U.S. Christian Commission Museum. Visit the birthplace of Jennie Wade, and hear the story of brave civilians that helped soldiers during the war. 717-339-0339. www.usccgettysburg.org.

 

Underground Railroad Tours of Adams County. By appointment. Tours include a visit to two National Park Service’s Network to Freedom sites, the Yellow Hill Cemetery and the historic Menallen Friends Meetinghouse in Quaker Valley, where free Blacks and Quakers collaborated to help others find freedom. 717-528-8553. http://www.gettysburghistories.com.

 

There are also several ‘ghost and haunted Gettysburg’ tours available in town.

 

NOTE: I have done my best to accurately list correctly the names, phone numbers and website addresses here. If a mistake is found, please let me know and I will fix it ASAP.


Thanks and I hope you get a chance to go to Gettysburg one day soon.

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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