Posts Tagged With: News

Calendar: March 2015

As we near the beginning of March, I thought it would be prudent to highlight some of the Lincoln assassination events that are planned for this month.  Remember that you can view these and other, smaller events that might be occurring, by visiting the Calendar section of this site.

fords-150-remembering-lincolnMarch 3rd:

Tickets go on sale for Ford’s Theatre 150th events: Now He Belongs to the Ages: A Lincoln Commemoration, Behind the Scenes Tour with Brian Anderson, and Midnight Tour with James Swanson

Though not an event itself, at 10 am on March 3rd tickets will go on sale to the general public for these three events scheduled during the Ford’s Theatre 150th program.

  • Now He Belongs to the Ages: A Lincoln Commemoration is a one time performance taking place inside Ford’s Theatre at 9 pm on April 14th.  This event will also be streamed live online.
  • A series of three, Behind the Scenes Tours with Brain Anderson are planned over April 14th and 15th.  Mr. Anderson is the author of Ford’s Theatre’s newest book, Images of America: Ford’s Theatre.  I took his backstage tour back in 2014 and it was very well done.
  • At midnight on April 15th, author of Manhunt, James Swanson, will provide his own, insightful  tour of Ford’s Theatre.

Ticket sales are already open to members of the Ford’s Theatre Society, and the events will therefore sell out quickly when sales to the general public open on March 3rd.

March 13th:

The musical, Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, starts its run at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Ford’s Theatre operates as a working theater as well as a National Historic Site.  They have several productions a year.  Their spring musical for 2015 is the show Freedom’s Song: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War.  I’m thinking this is a slightly modified version of Frank Wildhorn’s previous musical The Civil War, which I saw at Ford’s Theatre a few seasons back.  If I am correct, it is definitely a show to see.  It’s not a traditional musical with a concrete narrative but is more of a series of vignettes highlighting different groups and events that occurred during the Civil War.  The music is a wonderful mix of genres and is accompanied by voice overs of the words of famous Civil War era figures.  Trust me, when a quote from Lincoln comes on and they bring up a solidarity light from inside of the President’s box, it gives you chills.  Freedom’s Song runs until May 20th.

March 20 – 22nd:

2015 Surratt Conference logo

The Surratt Society’s 16th Annual Lincoln Assassination Conference in Clinton, MD

The Surratt Conference is the Lincoln assassination buff’s “Comic-Con”.  Held every year, the weekend conference consists of a special bus tour and welcome reception on Friday, speakers presenting on a multitude of topics on Saturday, and another special bus tour on Sunday.  This year’s conference is already close to being sold out due to space constraints.  If you haven’t already registered, call the Surratt House Museum at 301-868-1121 to check on availability.

Even if you are not able to join us for this year’s conference, I will be live tweeting the weekend event on my Twitter account (@BoothieBarn) with the hashtag #Surratt15.

March 21st:

Lincoln Symposium at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Ford’s Theatre will be hosting their own Lincoln Symposium on Saturday, March 21st.  The event is free, but requires tickets available on a first come first served basis on the day of the event.  The day consists of speakers presenting on many topics relating to Lincoln’s life and death.  Can’t make it to the Surratt Conference? Well, you’re in luck. Terry Alford, author of a highly anticipated biography of John Wilkes Booth, will be pulling double duty that day.  After presenting at the Surratt Conference in the morning, Dr. Alford will make his way to Ford’s and will be presenting at their Lincoln Symposium in the afternoon.  This promises to be a wonderful event and I only wish I could duplicate myself in order to attend both conferences at the same time.

March 23rd:

A new exhibit, Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination, opens at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

This special exhibit reunites several assassination artifacts from collections around the country.  The exhibit runs from March 23rd until May 25th and will be located on the second floor of Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership.

March 28th:

The Lincoln Group of New York presents its Commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy and New York Funeral in New York City, NY

Register by March 20th for this half day symposium put on by the The Lincoln Group of New York.  After lunch and a tour of the historic Great Hall of the Cooper Union where Lincoln presented his famous Cooper Union speech, the attendees will retire across the street at the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium at 41 Cooper Square (Third Ave. bet. 6th & 7thSt.) for a series of speeches relating to Lincoln’s life and death.  Speakers include Harold Holzer, Frank J Williams, Richard Sloan, Kate Clifford Larson, Michael Kauffman, and ME (Dave Taylor)!  Check out this agenda for more information.

Ongoing Events/Exhibits:

Undying Words: Lincoln 1858 – 1865 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL
Remembering Lincoln at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, IL
A Nation in Tears: 150 Years after Lincoln’s Death at the University of Illinois’ Rare Book and Manuscript Library in Champaign-Urbana, IL
So Costly a Sacrifice: Lincoln and Loss at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, IN
President Lincoln Is Dead: The New York Herald Reports the Assassination at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

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New Section: Calendar

2015 is going to be very busy for those interested in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. While the actual 150th anniversary of the tragedy will occur on April 14th, many groups are planning commemorative events throughout the year.


In an effort to provide a resource for those who may be looking to attend a Lincoln assassination remembrance this year, I have created a custom Google calendar of events.

Some events are multi-month exhibits at various museums, while others are single day speeches or activities. While most events are centered around the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area, this calendar is not confined to that region. Clicking on any event will give you more information about it.  In addition, all of the information contained in this calendar has been translated into a list located on the side of this blog, allowing you to see upcoming events at a glance while reading any page here on BoothieBarn.  The code translating the calendar into list form isn’t perfect however, resulting in small errors and no clickable hyperlinks for more information.  If you want to learn more about an upcoming event, view the calendar below or on its own Calendar page, and the hyperlinks should function properly.

This calendar is a work in progress with new events being continually added.  If you know of an upcoming Lincoln assassination event or exhibit, please comment on the Calendar page and let us know about it so that it can be included.

A future post will highlight some of the really big events planned for this year (The Surratt Society Conference, Ford’s Theatre’s Lincoln Tribute, Charles County’s Lincoln 150, Caroline County’s Capture of John Wilkes Booth, and the Junius Brutus Booth Society’s first ever Tudor Hall and Booth Family Symposium), but until then you can check out the events for yourself in the new Calendar section!

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Assassination Maps Update

DC, MD, VA Assassination map thumb

I just wanted to publish a quick post highlighting a big update to the Maps section of BoothieBarn.  First, I have added about 30 more sites to the D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia map, bringing the total up to over 120 sites on this map alone.  Maps for other regions of the U.S. are planned, but, since most of the action occurred in the Maryland area, I have been focusing on adding to and improving that map first.  To that end, I have gone through and added a new aspect to the map which should make it even easier to locate and visit these sites, especially “on the go”.

We know, from studying an event that occurred 150 years ago, that landscapes have changed.  In many instances, places that were once isolated farms and open land are now housing developments or busy highways.  Old roads are lost to new roads and bypasses.  Due to this, it is important to mark historic sites with something more long term than a street address, which could change (or disappear) in a few short years.  Recording latitude and longitude coordinates based on the Global Positioning System (GPS) is, therefore, the best way to mark sites on an ever changing landscape.  Regardless of what transformation occurs on the site itself, the GPS coordinates will always mark what was once there.

With this in mind, I have gone through and added the GPS coordinates for every site marked on my map.  This is not only for posterity’s sake, but also serves to improve the functionality of the map itself.  Practically every “smart” cell phone built today has the capability of providing driving directions.  Now, with the GPS coordinates included in the description for every Lincoln assassination site, all you have to do is click the place you want to visit on my map, copy the GPS coordinates, and direct your phone or GPS device to give you directions there.

Assassination maps GPS coordinates example

For places like cemeteries, the GPS coordinates are even more helpful, as they direct you almost exactly to the grave you are looking for.  No more wandering around a huge cemetery hopelessly looking for that one grave.  My coordinates will put you right at it.  As I visit more graves in more cemeteries (using a wonderful book by Jim Garrett and Rich Smyth as my guide), I’ll be updating the map with even more grave GPSes.

Grave coordinates example

Me Surratt Grave Jan 2015

So, if you’re planning a trip to the area or, better yet, planning to drive John Wilkes Booth’s escape route on your own, be sure to check out my D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia Lincoln assassination map for all the GPS coordinates you’ll need.

Click here to view the updated Maps section of BoothieBarn, now with GPS coordinates!

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Mapping the Assassination

I came out to Washington, D.C. for the very first time in 2009.  It was the summer between my junior and senior year of college and the trip was an early graduation gift from my parents.  My father and I had a great time exploring the many wonderful sites before returning back home to Illinois.

Two Illinois natives visiting an old friend.

Two Illinois natives visiting an old friend.

It was a whirlwind visit as we tried to do all the touristy things D.C. has to offer.  We visited the Lincoln Memorial, Ford’s Theatre, the Air and Space Museum, the American History Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Library of Congress, the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR Memorial and the Newseum.  We paid our respects at the World War II, Korean, and Vietnam Memorials, as well as visited Arlington National Cemetery and the Marine Corps War Memorial.  We also went up into the Washington Monument, and viewed both the House of Representatives and the Senate in session.  It was a blast.

Admittedly though, my favorite part of the trip was the one day in which my father and I rented a car from Union Station and drove the escape route of John Wilkes Booth.  I had been learning about the assassination for years and I couldn’t wait to visit some of the places I had read so much about.  My father always appreciated Lincoln, so much so that he volunteered not once, but four times to chaperone groups of rowdy eighth graders on their annual class trip to Springfield, IL.  Though Dad doesn’t have the same interest in Lincoln’s assassination as I do, he definitely appreciates the importance of it.

In planning for our day trip, I spent hours tracking down the various locations we wanted to go and printing off directions on how to get there.  It was a difficult process.  I often had to consult many different websites just to figure out where exactly a certain place was.  It took awhile, but in the end, I managed to work up an itinerary.

Our condensed tour was great, except for one hitch.  On our way to the Mudd house I had planned for us to stop and visit the grave of Edman Spangler.  Dad and I pulled up at St. Peter’s Cemetery and spent about an hour looking at every single grave in the place to no avail.  We were almost late for the last tour of the day at the Mudd house due to our searching.  When we told the people at the Mudd house of our difficulty they informed us of our mistake.  “Spangler,” they said, “is buried in the Old St. Peter’s Cemetery.” Dad and I had spent an hour trampling through the wrong cemetery.

This completely understandable mistake has always stuck with me.  It makes me laugh to think of the time Dad and I wasted reading every grave in the new St. Peter’s Cemetery (which, by the way, is down the road from the old cemetery).  It shows how helpful and important it can be to have a guide.

Since moving to Maryland I have been lucky to have the guidance of many knowledgeable individuals.  As time has gone on, I’ve slowly become a guide myself and I am able to point out places relating to the assassination of Lincoln around D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.  Some time ago I started a project of recording the locations of various assassination places using a mapping app called Rego.  At first it was just for my own reference as I pinpointed places I had visited or places that I wanted to visit.  This summer I drove a circuitous route to Illinois and back so I could visit a few of those places on my list.

In August, I decided to make my map widely available.  I converted my Rego map into a custom Google map complete with a color coded key.  Without fanfare or announcement, the new page on BoothieBarn appeared called Lincoln Assassination Maps.

Maps Header Menu Maps Pages Menu

About a month after I created the page, I received a wonderful email from a man who took his grandson along the escape route and used my map to help them plot their course.  I emailed him back expressing how ecstatic I was that someone had not only found the map but used it as I had hoped.  Since then I’ve been slowly adding more places to the map expanding far beyond the escape route.  Using aerial views and my own knowledge, I’ve tried to pinpoint places as specifically as I can, even putting markers directly on top of where graves are in a cemetery in some cases.  Currently, the only map on the Lincoln Assassination Maps page is one that covers D.C., Maryland, and the Northern Neck of Virginia.  Though it already contains about 100 sites, it, by no means, is complete.  Future maps will highlight places in other regions such as the Midwest, the South, the Northeast, and even an International map.

With a subject as vast as the assassination of Lincoln, a guide is much needed commodity.  I hope that these maps will serve as beneficial guides for those of you who want to explore the plethora of assassination related sites.

Click HERE to check out the BoothieBarn Lincoln Assassination Maps page!

DC, MD, VA Assassination map thumb

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Winner of John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day

It’s been one week since the contest ended for a free copy of Art Loux‘s masterful book, John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day.  The contest was a terrific success with over 80 comments being posted by people expressing what facet of the assassination story interested them the most.  I want to thank each and every person who commented and joined in on the conversations.  It was all great fun.

Art Loux's JWB DBD

To select a winner, all of the eligible comments were assigned a sequential number based on when they were posted.  Then an online random number generator was used to select the winning comment.  I’m pleased to announce the winner of the free copy of John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day is…

Herb Swingle!

Herb posted the following comment(s) about what he finds interesting in the Lincoln assassination story:

Booth, “jumped the gun” and took it upon himself to extinguish the flame of what America needed at that time of History!

What makes me, “Sit up and take interest”, is how easy Booth was able to do what he thought he could get away with!

I feel that John Surratt enjoyed Sarah Slater’s companionship while in Canada also.

Thank you so much for commenting, Herb, and congratulations on winning.  Your free book should be arriving in a couple of days.

To everyone else out there, please make sure you purchase your own copy of this wonderful book.  As I stated in the original contest page, this book is the perfect book for everyone with an interest in the Lincoln assassination.  It will easily prove to be one of the most consulted and respected texts on the subject of John Wilkes Booth and his deed.  Please take the time to purchase your own copy from an online retailer of books like Amazon or support the gateway to the Lincoln assassination story, the Surratt House Museum, by ordering your copy from them.  See the ordering information below for details.

Your purchase of John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day will not only provide you with unmatched scholarship into John Wilkes’ life and movements, but it will also support the legacy of the late Art Loux.  It is one of the cruelest fates that Art is not here with us today to appreciate the acclaim he so justly deserves.  JWB: DBD was Art’s life’s work and through it, his generosity and passion live on.  If you have not already, please take a moment to read my short remembrances of this great man.

Again, I want to thank everyone who commented and took part in the contest.  It was wildly successful and so I may do another one in the future.  In the meantime, go out and purchase your own copy of John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux.  I promise you won’t regret it.

John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day is available from the Surratt House gift shop for $50 (+6% Maryland tax if ordering from within the state).  The cost for shipping is $3.  Life members and/or volunteers of the Surratt Society receive a 15% discount.  Place your credit card order by calling the museum at (301) 868-1121, or send a check payable to Surratt House Gift Shop to 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, MD 20735.  While you’re at it, take the time to peruse some of the other wonderful books they have for sale by clicking here.
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John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux

John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by the late Art Loux is a truly remarkable gift to the historical community.  As a history of the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, it is unmatched in its scope and detail.  It represents Mr. Loux’s life’s work with his decades of in-depth research cataloging the movements of John Wilkes Booth.  The book was released on August 20th, almost eight months since Mr. Loux’s passing.

Art Loux's JWB DBD

There are always new books being written about the various aspects of Lincoln’s assassination. There are the big name authors like Kauffman, Steers, and Swanson who give wonderfully detailed accounts of the whole assassination story.  There are biographers like Ownsbey, Larson, and Titone who explore the lives of specific conspirators and their families. And, as always, the true drama of the Lincoln assassination is the perfect muse for pieces of historical fiction like “Wild” Bill Richter’s new, well researched and footnoted, novel.

At the same time, however, there are many poorly researched and poorly written books out there that saturate the topic with misinformation and supposition costumed up as fact. Authors of these volumes usually delude themselves into truly believing their own views regardless of the mountains of evidence against them.  Some even go as far as to spam every nook and cranny of the internet attempting to portray their views as fact.

This is why books like John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day are so important.  In an age of historical sensationalism misconstrued as fact, Mr. Loux’s book provides a model for how to conduct and present one’s research. John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day is devoted solely to the education, not manipulation, of its readers.  Each chapter provides an excellent narrative of the important events in that period of John Wilkes Booth’s life followed by a detailed record of his daily movements and activities.  It is the perfect book for everyone with an interest in the Lincoln assassination.  The casual reader will love to follow the 26 year journey of John Wilkes Booth to see what led him into Ford’s Theatre on April 14th, 1865.  The researcher will love pouring over the daily record and the thousands of fascinating footnotes.

Every chapter, even every page, provides new insight into the man who would later kill the 16th President.  For example, did you know that John Wilkes Booth once had to extinguish a fellow actress on stage when her dress caught on fire?

John Wilkes Booth extinguishes a fellow actress

John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day is filled with fascinating stories like this that have never been published anywhere else.   You can purchase your copy from online retailers like Amazon, or you might consider supporting the Surratt House Museum (the gateway to the assassination story) by purchasing your copy from them.

I sincerely believe that this book should be read by everyone interested in the Lincoln assassination. Due to this belief, I have purchased an extra copy of the book to give away here on the blog.  If you would like to win one free copy of Art Loux’s masterpiece John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post describing what aspect of the Lincoln assassination interests you the most.  In one week’s time, on September 21st, I will pick one of the commenters at random to receive a free copy of this indispensable book. The contest is now over. You may continue to comment, but any new comments will not be entered into any drawing.  Thank you all for participating.

Though Art is no longer with us, he has left behind an inspiring legacy of scholarship and generosity. So get commenting below for your chance to win a free copy of John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day courtesy of

Contest Rules: To win a copy of John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day you must write one (1) comment on this post explaining what aspect of the Lincoln assassination interests you the most. A valid email address must be attached to the comment in order to win. Multiple comments from the same person will be counted as one entry.  Contest will end on September 21st, 2014 at 20:00 PST.  The winner will be notified via email.  If no response is received within three (3) days, a new winner will be chosen.  In the event that the winner chooses to forfeit the prize, another winner will be selected.  Winners agree to have their name and comment used in a future post. Click here for the announcement of the winner of this contest.
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John Wilkes Booth in the Woods: Part 8

John Wilkes Booth in the Woods

Part 8 of my series “John Wilkes Booth in the Woods” is now complete and available for viewing.

In this part I discuss Booth’s comfort and the ways he could have passed the hours of waiting.

To watch the video, you can either click on the image above and scroll down, click HERE to watch the video on YouTube, or play the embedded video below.

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John Wilkes Booth in the Woods: Part 7

John Wilkes Booth in the Woods

Part 7 of my series “John Wilkes Booth in the Woods” is now complete and available for viewing. In this part, I practice walking with a crutch and experience my second night sleeping in the woods.

To watch the video, you can either click on the image above and scroll down, click HERE to watch the video on YouTube, or play the embedded video below.

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