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Perhaps the best to be had on Lincoln's assassination... A Washington, D.C. newspaper...



Item # 658487

April 15, 1865

DAILY MORNING CHRONICLE, Washington, D.C., April 15, 1865 

* Abraham Lincoln assassination (historic 1st report)
* It is BEST to have reports from the city where it occurred


As might be imagined newspapers from Washington reporting the assassination of Abraham Lincoln are exceedingly scarce and exceedingly desirable. Although newspapers from New York & Philadelphia remain among the most sought-after because of their proximity to Washington and the stature of big city newspapers, they pale in comparison to a newspaper from the city where the assassination happened.  In our 43 years in the rare newspaper business we may have offered 4 or 5 from the nation's capital. This is one of them.
Not surprisingly the coverage of the assassination is very lengthy in this issue. But keep in mind this is a very early report when not a great amount of detail of the event was known. The front page has two accounts, the earliest at the top of the third column with heads: "MURDER of PRESIDENT LINCOLN" "Attempt To Assassinate The Secretary of State" "Manner Of Assassination" "Safety of Other Members of the Cabinet" "Description Of The Assassin" "The Police Investigation" "The Surgeons' Latest Reports". The text begins: "At half past ten o'clock last night, in the front upper left-hand private box in Ford's Theatre, while the second scene of the third act of 'Our American Cousin' was being played, a pistol was fired and Abraham Lincoln shot through the neck and lower part of the head..." with so much more. The early reports describe the assailant but he was not yet identified. Later accounts note: "...was conclusive to this point: the murderer of President Lincoln was John Wilkes Booth. His hat was found in the private box & identified by several persons..." with more. This lengthy & detailed account takes nearly 3 columns of the front page but nowhere mentions the death of the President.
But the top of the sixth column has a "Second Edition" heading with the latest information, boldly & dramatically announcing the news: "DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT" with the text being brief and beautifully written: "ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS DEAD! If tears had audible language, a shriek would go up form these States which would startle the world from its propriety. Strong men use the impressive language of women--Tears. Women bow their heads in the dust. Children sleep troubledly. Words are at this time weak and vain. Let us all, with heart and voice, say that 'This Grave Shall Have A Living Monument!' "
What follows with the remainder of the front page are reports logically pre-planned for the front page concerning the closing events of the Civil War, with "From Mobile--Capture of Selma, Alabama, Confirmed" "Lee's surrender" "Grant's Interviews With the Rebel Chief" "Appearance of the Two Generals" "Richmond" "Effects Of The Occupation of The City, Etc." and more.
As if this reporting was not sufficient, there is much on page 2 as well, with uncommonly large heads at the top of the first column announcing: "ASSASSINATION of the PRESIDENT" "Attempted Murder of Sec'ry Seward & Sons" which includes near the bottom of the column: "$10,000 Reward" reading: "A Reward of Ten Thousand Dollars will be paid to the party or parties arresting the murderer of the President, Mr. Lincoln, and the assassin of the Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, and his son."
And the top of the second column has more, headed: "Assassination of President Lincoln, Secretary Wm. H. Seward, and Assistant Secretary F.W. Seward!" There are other related reports on page 2 as well.
Page 3 is mostly taken up with ads, one of which would only be found in a Washington, D.C., newspaper and is extremely powerful in its subtlety: "Ford's New Theatre - There will be not performance at this theatre tonight."
The back page is mostly taken up with advertisements as well.
Complete in four pages and is as sold on the streets, meaning never bound nor trimmed nor held by an institution. Large folio size measuring 20 1/2 by 28 3/4 inches. As is common with such issues never bound there is some wear at the folds & fold junctures with the loss of a few words. Various small archival mends.
A SPECIAL NOTE: not only is this newspaper printed in the city where Lincoln was assassinated, but the Chronicle Building was located on 9th St. between E and F Streets, which was in the same block as Ford's Theatre!
A newspaper for the best of collections.

Category: Yankee

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