The Contents of Abraham Lincoln's Pockets from the Night of His Assassination at Ford's Theatre (2:21 minutes)
Speakers: Clark Evans
When Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865, he was carrying two pairs of spectacles and a lens polisher, a pocketknife, a watch fob, a linen handkerchief, a brown leather wallet containing a five-dollar Confederate note, and nine newspaper clippings, including several favorable to the president and his policies. Given to his son Robert Todd upon Lincoln's death, these everyday items, which through association with tragedy had become like relics, were kept in the Lincoln family for more than seventy years. Because it is quite unusual for the Library to keep personal artifacts among its holdings, they were not put on display until 1976 when then Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin thought their exposure would humanize a man who had become "mythologically engulfed."