The Schoolhouse Museum’s Civil War exhibit displays actual Playbill from night of Lincoln’s Assassination.The most significant event to occur in April during the Civil War period was the assassination of President Lincoln. Though it occurred five days after the war ended at Appomattox, Lincoln’s assassination will always be associated with the Civil War.
On the day of his assassination Lincoln awoke cheerful and happy. So much so that the new Secretary of the Treasury, upon seeing him remarked “I never saw Mr. Lincoln so cheerful and happy”. In fact Lincoln himself told people how happy he was. Upon hearing this, the First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln voiced concern, believing that saying such things was bad luck – but Lincoln paid her no heed!
Mrs. Lincoln had been offered tickets that evening to a play at Grover’s Theater. But since this would be the farewell performance by the popular actress Laura Keene would be in Washington appearing in a Benefit performance of “Our American Cousin”, either she or the President changed their plans. The decision having been made, at about 11:00 AM, the President sent a messenger to Ford’s Theater to reserve the State Box.
The rest as they say, is history.
To see the actual Playbill from that fateful night, as well as the rest of the items on display in the museum’s “Civil War in NJ” collection, visit the Ridgewood Historical Society’s Schoolhouse Museum, on East Glen Avenue. The museum is open Thursdays and Saturday 1-3pm and Sundays 2-4pm. Please visit www.ridgewoodhistoricalsociety.org. for more information