Abraham Lincoln: Belonging to the Ages and Echoing in History

Lincoln_Memorial

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination on April 14, 1865.

It was 150 years ago today that President Abraham Lincoln was shot to death by John Wilkes Booth, and to mark the anniversary, the Associated Press dusted off its original report of the assassination.

On the night Abraham Lincoln was shot, April 14, 1865, Associated Press correspondent Lawrence Gobright scrambled to report from the White House.

On the night Abraham Lincoln was shot, April 14, 1865, Associated Press correspondent Lawrence Gobright scrambled to report from the White House.

To say the least, it was not in keeping with the news-writing conventions of today. The first mention of the shooting itself came in the second paragraph — after a description of what a crowd-pleaser the play was at Ford’s Theatre.

A copy of a 1865 lithographic print by Currier & Ives provided by the U.S. Library of Congress shows John Wilkes Booth shooting U.S. President Abraham Lincoln as he sits in the presidential box at Ford's Theatre in Washington April 14, 1865.

A copy of a 1865 lithographic print by Currier & Ives provided by the U.S. Library of Congress shows John Wilkes Booth shooting U.S. President Abraham Lincoln as he sits in the presidential box at Ford’s Theatre in Washington April 14, 1865.

The conclusion that “all hope was lost” didn’t appear until the ninth paragraph.

The New York Times — then The New-York Times — got to the point a little faster … but even then only after an attendance report:

This evening at about 9:30 P.M., at Ford’s Theatre, the President, while sitting in his private box with Mrs. Lincoln, Mrs. Harris, and Major Rathburn, was shot by an assassin, who suddenly entered the box and approached behind the President.

Awful Event: President Lincoln is Shot by an Assassin. On this day 150 years ago.

Awful Event: President Lincoln is Shot by an Assassin. On this day 150 years ago.

A procession for President Abraham Lincoln's funeral on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington on April 19, 1865.

A procession for President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington on April 19, 1865.

On the Web:

Read the Associated Press account

Read the New York Time account

Stealing Lincoln’s Body: Two Photos of Lincoln’s Funeral Procession Found

12 April 1861: The American Civil War Begins

10 interesting facts about Abraham Lincoln’s assassination

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