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Lincoln Assassination Extremely Rare Iowa Broadsheet Extra
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EXTRA / PRESIDENT LINCOLN ASSASSINATED / HE IS DEAD / SEWARD ASSASSINATED.”  This vivid early account of the assassination of President Lincoln includes Booth’s name as the suspected assassin and an account of the attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward, incorrectly reporting his death.

[LINCOLN ASSASSINATION]. The Daily Ottumwa Courier, Broadsheet Extra. Saturday morning, April 15, 1865. Ottumwa, IA: James W. Norris. 2 p., 11 x 16 in. The assassination notice in column 2 of first page. The balance of the paper includes several columns of local advertisements, and the verso is filled with ads and notices that were likely already set in type for the regular daily issue.

Inventory #26980       Price: $2,600


Chicago, April 15th. President Lincoln was shot through the head last night at Ford’s Theater and died this morning. The assissin is supposed to be J Wilks Booth, the actor. About the same time a desperado called at Sec’y Seward’s pretending to be a messenger from his physician, being refused admittance, he attacked Fred Seward[,]son of the Secretary, knocking him down, then passing on to the Secy’s rooms when cutting down two male attendants he cut Mr. Seward’s throat. The wound was not at last accounts considered fatal.” (p1/c2)

Letters found in Booth’s trunk show that this assassination was contemplated before the 4th of March, but fell through from some cause. The wildest excitement prevails at Washington. Vice President’s house and residences of different Secretaries are closely guarded.” (p1/c2)

Further despatches complete will be found in the Courier this evening.” (p1/c2)

Historical Background
Coming only days after the news of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, the news of the first assassination of an American president—struck the people of the nation with particular force. News spread quickly by telegraph, often with inaccurate details. On Sunday, April 16, churches throughout the North were filled, and clergymen tried to make religious sense of the tragedy.

Newspapers reassured the public that the nation was safe, that Johnson had been inaugurated as president, and that all resources were devoted to finding John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. Readers also learned that, contrary to early reports, Secretary of State William H. Seward, had not died, though he was severely wounded. This broadsheet brings the immediacy of these transformational events to life.

Editor James W. Norris wrote the following in an editorial that appeared in the regular Daily Ottumwa Courier later on April 15 and the Weekly Ottumwa Courier on April 20:

“The Terrible News of to-day!
“We received at 11:30 this morning a special dispatch announcing the assassination of President Lincoln, and the attempt to assassinate Secretary Seward. At first so startling, appaling and terrible was the news, that we were inclined to think it a mean attempt of somebody to perpetrate a melancholy hoax upon the public; but in a few minutes thereafter a dispatch came through the regular channels, with the signature of the Secretary of War, and we could and can see no reason to doubt its reliability.

“We have no heart to day to comment upon this most awful intelligence, which has startled and covered with mourning the nation. We can scarcely realize that Abraham Lincoln, the Second Father of his Country, the brave, sagacious, and honest patriot, who has held so firmly, and directed so wisely and successfully the helm of State during these four years of civil war, and who has so far escapade the assassin’s dagger which his malignant enemies have so eagerly desired to plant in his bosom, is indeed DEAD. If it is indeed so, and we can see no ground to hope that it is otherwise, calamitous as it is to the Republic, and may be attended with consequences painful to contemplate, we must not so forget that, great and wise and popular as was Abraham Lincoln, the American People are greater, wiser, and more powerful than even the noblest of our Presidents, and that under the guidance of a Supreme Intelligence, who has never forsaken them under the severest dispensations, they will be carried safely through the present affliction, grievous as it is to be borne.” (The Weekly Ottumwa Courier (IA), April 20, 1865, 2:1)

The Ottumwa Courier (IA) (1857-1960) was a weekly newspaper established by James W. Norris (1815-1882) in 1857, as a continuation of the Des Moines Courier, begun in Ottumwa in 1848. Norris published the Weekly Ottumwa Courier, until 1865, when he also began publishing the Daily Evening Courier, but soon changed the title to the Ottumwa Daily Courier.

Condition: Two areas of loss, professionally restored. Creases. Pencil notations in left margin of page 1.

Framed with archival materials in a double-sided frame. Frame size: 17 x 22.75 inches

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