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“O moody, tearful night!”: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

From Comedy to Tragedy

On the evening of Friday, April 14, 1865, President and Mrs. Lincoln went to the theater.  Both Lincolns enjoyed the theater and attended often.  That evening they went to see the comedy "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre on 10th Street not far from the White House.  They sat in the presidential box with their guests, Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancé Clara Harris.  At approximately 10:15, shortly after the beginning of the third act as the audience roared with laughter at a particularly funny line, John Wilkes Booth slipped into the presidential box and shot the President in the back of the head.  Lincoln was mortally wounded and died at 7:22 the next morning, Saturday, April 15, 1865.

The Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection holds a wide variety of materials related to Lincoln's assassination. By clicking on the images above, you can examine some of them and learn more about the events of April 14 and 15, 1865.