Don’t Shoot!: The Journey of Booth’s Deringer Pistol

From the Ford’s Theatre Blog. David McKenzie has written a nice piece regarding a familiar face to BoothieBarn, Edwin B. Pitts, Chief Clerk of the Judge Advocate General’s Office. You can see another picture of Mr. Pitts and learn more about his custodianship over Booth’s artifacts here: https://boothiebarn.com/2012/11/25/edwin-pitts-chief-clerk-of-the-judge-advocate-generals-office/

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Edwin B. Pitts, Chief Clerk of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, points the deringer pistol John Wilkes Booth used to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs, LC-DIG-hec-23179. Edwin B. Pitts, Chief Clerk of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, points the deringer pistol John Wilkes Booth used to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs, LC-DIG-hec-23179.

Numerous lithographs, engravings and other depictions of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln came out soon after the event (not to mention in the 149 years since). But the limits of technology of the time meant that no photographs exist of John Wilkes Booth committing the act.  (If it happened today, we most likely would  have lots of images, from different angles and instances, taken on various portable devices and shared on social media.) The photograph here may be the only one showing someone pointing the actual deringer pistol that Booth used—not something to be recommended from the standpoint of either proper museum collections management or, arguably, good taste.

After Booth fired the fatal shot from…

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Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Shoot!: The Journey of Booth’s Deringer Pistol

  1. SarahJencks

    Thanks, Dave!

    Sarah Jencks Director of Education Programming Ford’s Theatre | Where Lincoln’s Legacy Lives

  2. Laurie Verge accidentally posted this comment under a different post, so I thought I’d duplicate it here:

    “Thanks for posting the article on the JAG employee handling the gun decades ago. One of us Boothies did just that this past week. Terry Alford, author of Fortune’s Fool (which I hope will set the assassination field on its ear when released this year), was being interviewed for a film project this past week and was allowed to don his white gloves and hold the pistol while it was out of its display case.”

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