The New York Herald
INFORMATION CIRCULAR 12
(Interim, revised 1972)
THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
REFERENCE DEPARTMENT - SERIAL DIVISION
THE NEW YORK HERALD (Click to see image of the newspaper page.)
April 15, 1865
The New York Herald of Saturday, April 15, 1865, carried a
good account of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln;
for this reason it has been reprinted many times.
President Lincoln was shot at 9:30 p.m., Friday, April 14,
1865, while seated in a box at Ford's Theater. About the same
time Secretary of State Seward, one of his sons, and a servant
were knifed by an assassin who invaded their home. Lincoln was
removed to a house across the street from the theater where he
died at 7:22 a.m. Saturday morning.
News of the attacks reached the New York Herald by telegraph
in time to make the first edition. Several other editions were
issued during the day, reporting later developments, Lincoln's death,
and the inauguration of Vice President Andrew Johnson as President.
The several original editions, six columns wide and printed on
rag paper, can be distinguished by variations in the arrangement of
textual material and captions, especially on page 1. Four editions
have been identified; they are categorized by the time of the latest
news bulletin contained, as follows:
2:00 a.m. Regular edition. 8 pages. A one sentence "Two
o'clock a.m." bulletin appears just above the caption "Press
Dispatches" in the third column and "The State Capital"
appears near the top of the fourth column of the first page.
3:00 a.m. Special edition. 8 pages. The first, second, and
third columns on page one are the same as the 2:00 a.m. edition.
In the fourth column the caption, "The State Capital," has
been replaced by "The Latest News" and contains a sub-heading
"Secretary Stanton to General Dix, War Department, Washington,
April 15--3:00 a.m." "The State Capital" has been moved to the
10:00 a.m. Special edition. 4 pages, the inside ones being
identical to pages 4, 5, and 8 of the 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m.
editions and so numbered. The fifth column of the first page
is headed "Postscript...Death of the President." This is the
first edition with heavy column lines, which are limited to a
portion of the fifth column.
2:00 p.m. Inauguration edition. 8 pages, pages 2 through 7
being the same as the 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. editions. All
columns on the first page have heavy lines; captions in the
fifth column under "Postscript" same as 10:00 a.m. Special
Edition with the addition of a reward notice. The caption
"The Rebels" has slipped from the fifth column to the six
column, displacing other items. The eighth page has been
significantly changed by the addition of a bold-faced caption
"Extra" in the second column and "Inauguration of...Johnson"
in the fourth column. Inexplicably the date "Friday, April
14, 1865," appears in the running head on page eight of this
A 10:00 a.m. "Reward Edition" and 3:30 p.m. "Special Edition"
have also been reported.
Most of the issues of the New York Herald for April 15, 1865,
now treasured as originals are in fact reprints of little or no value.
They are usually printed on wood pulp paper rather dark in color and
of poor quality. Few are facsimiles of an original edition and nearly
all are reprints with extensive rearrangement of text. Most have
heavy column lines and consist of two or four unnumbered pages.
Some of the reprints have a portrait of President Lincoln, without
beard, on the front page; many include large advertisements on the
inside pages for such items as Kitchell's Liniment, Smith's Buchu
Lythia Pills, Dr. Archambault's Paris Vital Sparks, or Grain-0 Coffee.
A few of the reprints include text reproduced from the 2:00 a.m.
Regular Edition, but most purport to be an 8:10 a.m. "Mourning
Edition," the existence of the original of which has never been proved.