Lying Where Abraham Lincoln Died

by Chris Murray on April 15, 2015

img003Chris Murray lying where President Lincoln died. Photo by Matthew Murray, 1959. Copyright © Govinda Gallery Archive. All Rights Reserved.

Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death by assassination. In 1959, my father and I visited the former boarding house where President Lincoln lay mortally wounded after being taken there after he was shot at Ford’s Theatre. The house where Lincoln died was a much quieter place in the 1950s than it is now. When I walked in to the Petersen House with my father, Matthew Murray, there was only one guard sitting on a chair in the right corner of the room. He was sleeping. My father, who was a bit of a character, told me to climb over the little railing and lie on the bed in the room where Lincoln died and he would take a picture. I did as my father told me and the result is this photograph, taken with an original Brownie camera, that I saved since that time and which has never been seen before. If you look closely you can see I was wearing earmuffs. My family is from New York City and my parents and I were visiting my older brother Tom who was at Georgetown University and my sister Rita who was attending Trinity College in Washington.
Picture 1Julius Ulke took this photograph shortly after the President’s body was removed from the Petersen House, 1865. Note the same wallpaper as in the photo from 1959.

“Now he belongs to the ages”-Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, 1865.

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