Sketches of Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination
The Library of Congress has a large collection of graphic arts created over the course of two centuries. They depict famous locations and subjects. There are a large number dedicated to capturing the assassination and aftermath of President Lincoln. Below are an assortment, with descriptions.
The text below this work says, “President Lincoln’s Last Reception, Respectfully Dedicated to the People of the United States.”
The next work focuses on John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, who is being tempted by Satan to commit his crime. You’ll see in the picture that Satan is speaking into Booth’s ear, pointing one hand at Booth’s gun, and that other at Lincoln, sitting unknowingly on the right side.
This next work theorizes on who else was behind Lincoln’s assassination. The Knights of the Golden Circle was a secret society – part of it’s hope was to create a separate confederation of slave states. It is thought that John Wilkes Booth was a member of this secret society, and that they were conspirators in Lincoln’s assassination.
Several artists depicted the actual assassination of Lincoln. Each of the images below has a slightly different perspective, but all show Booth coming from behind Lincoln and leaving no one else around him with an opportunity to stop the crime. Just after the shot went off, Booth jumped from the balcony on to the stage and escaped, for ten days, until captured and killed.
Lincoln did not die until the following morning, April 15, 1865. In that time, people close to Lincoln, including his son Tad, as well as the Surgeon General, Secretary Sumner, and more. Below are several depictions of Lincoln on his deathbed, at 453 Tenth Street, home of William Petersen.
The next work depicts an angel and Lady Justice next to the bullet that killed Lincoln, sitting under a microscope. Both seem to be condemning the bullet. At the top of the picture, the text says, “Death is not death; tis but the ennoblement of mortal man.”
On the way to Lincoln’s final resting place in Springfield, Illinois, there were many funerals, and thousands gathered to see his body as it traveled. Below are different depictions of the journey.
Following his assassination, many created works of art that showed Lincoln as a martyr, and placed him next to George Washington, the father of the United States. One work shows Lincoln at the reconciliation of North and South and the end of the Civil War.
Finally, an image of Abraham Lincoln, that below his name reads, “The Martyr President”. This work was completed in 1865, following Lincoln’s death.