The wonderful folks at Ford’s Theatre have brought attention to a long held case of mistaken identity and I was honored to help them.
The two Clara Harrises. On left, the verified image. On right, the likely misidentified image. Left: Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum, Lincoln Memorial University. Right: National Archives and Records Administration.
The most common photo of Clara Harris is not—we believe—the correct Clara Harris.
Harris, the daughter of U.S. Senator Ira Harris of New York, is most known for attending the April 14, 1865, performance of Our American Cousin with her fiancé, Major Henry Rathbone, President Abraham Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. When preparing for our recently-released book about the history of Ford’s Theatre, we found a few different images of Harris. We ultimately chose the one you see here. Not only is it the most common image of Clara Harris in a Google search but, more importantly, it’s labeled in the National Archives online catalog as being of Harris. If it’s labeled that way in that…
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