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The death of Lincoln, observed from afar

150 years ago today, Abraham Lincoln was shot by assassin John Wilkes Booth while attending the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. He would pass away during the morning of April 15, 1865. Within weeks, this event would be memorialized in print by journalists, artists, poets, and historians.

One of the more unique Lincoln-related items in Special Collections is a description of the assassination by a Japanese novelist, Kanagaki Robun, in 1879. His novel “Grandoshiden yanmato bunshō” was based on the life of Ulysses S. Grant, the Union General turned President who visited Japan during a post-presidential world tour in 1879. This woodcut image from the novel depicts Lincoln’s assassination, though incorrectly (perhaps owing more to the story of Julius Caesar?).

assassination image


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