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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  May 27, 2015 11:10pm-11:36pm EDT

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shot. i'm the curator of collections here at the museum, and we're in our new lincoln exit, president lincoln is dead. this exhibit has a really tight focus on seven editions of the new york herald, published in the 18 hours immediately following lincoln's assassination, so it is the minute by minute story of the news as it happened as people were getting it in this country about the assassination of lincoln. >> one of the ways we helped people understand sort of not just time, but place, is through this great map we have on the floor in the center of the gallery because we are almost here in this billing at the epicenter of thing. i mean, ford's theater is certainly the true spot of most
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significance for the day, but this is on the site of the national hotel, which is the hotel where booth stayed the night before he committed this horrible crime so you can sort of take a look on the floor of this room after you read through the newspapers and place yourself in all spots being referenced from the national hotel to ford's theater, to peterson's house which is where lincoln was taken after he was shot, right across the street from ford's theater, the spot where he ultimately died to the telegraph offices and newspaper row where the ap office and the new york office were to the white house so you can place yourself among all these significant spots a part of the story. the first edition is the 2:00 a.m. edition, more or less the regular edition, the morning
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paper at the time, and it covers essentially it's the breaking news, the flash moment of the president's been shot. interestingly enough, it uses the word "assassination" already in that paper because at the time, that word meant a surprise violent attack on someone. it did not necessarily mean something that resulted in death. it's come to mean that over the years, but that's interesting. while you see the word assassination, it just reports the shooting, as well as some other tidbits of information. it reports that the secretary of state was attacked as well. this gives you the first blush of what went on that evening. the second edition is a 3:00 a.m. edition. it's just an hour later. you can see how swiftly the new york herald is working to get information to people. the second edition the main
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thing that is reveals is identifying booth as the assassin. the next edition is a 4:45 a.m. edition, the first to announce the death of the president, and this comes out 90 minutes after the death, so that is really fast. like we know the telegraph wires are on fire between washington and new york to get that kind of information out and around and to get it into the newspaper. one of the exciting things for us, and for, you know lincoln's scholars everywhere is this was an edition previously unrecorded to modern historics. it is a paper we've had in the collection for a long time, but just uncovered its significance in the course of research that
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led to us creating this exhibit. it was long thought there were six editions, and historians and scholars believed that for decades. we were unable to unearth this from our collection and bring it for the public and also for researchers and historians. it's great. the next edition is a 10:00 a.m. edition, and it is interesting for a couple runs. first, it's the first one to have what are called the morning borders. you can see on it that the lines between the different columns of text are wider than they are in all the prior editions. that is a function of the printing done specifically to signify the country was in mourning for a reason.
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m-o-u-r-n-i-n-g, not a.m. this is the first to reveal that was there was a plot, a conspiracy. this was not just a whim on the part of john wilkes booth that evening, but that he had made plans and was why cahoots with others to pull off this assassination. the fifth one, another 10:00 a.m. edition. they are referred to by the last date line of last time stamped piece of information in it. this is a the same time stamped edition, but this is the 10:00 a.m. reward edition including information about the reward being offered for the capture of booth and conspirators and at this point in time it's offered at $10,000 -- a significant amount of money no doubt at this point in time, but moving through the man hunt in the area
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of the following days, that reward offer increases to $100,000. this next one is in the afternoon at 2:00 p.m., and it is interesting from one standpoint because this 1is the point in time where the breaking news moves to the back page of the newspaper, so the front page, they left it the same, and then they started loading their news on to the back page so the way print happens at that point in time is that every letter is being laid one by one. it's not lines by type, but it is every single letter laid into the chase, what they call the big form that holds all printing materials, so at a certain point, the page is full, just full. they can't jam more news on
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there. there's nothing insignificant left on the front page to scrap, pull off, so that they can shove text on, nothing. they dplipflipped, moved and breaking news is happening on the back page. you don't see the big banner that says "the new york herald," but a small back page notify notification that's the herald. oddly enough, this is the one they have not managed to change the date. it says the 14th on the back page. it is the 15th they are doing all of this information, but they just had not gotten that tidbit changed but the big news that is revealed to us in the 2:00 p.m. edition is that the vice president has been sworn in as the president so the country has a new president, the country, as a whole, has a new president, and it is lincoln's successor who moves up. there has been a peaceful
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transfer of power. that's what we depend on in this country. there was not a wrestling for power with the south, nothing. it was the simple transfer of power peacefully to the next in line. there's still one more edition that the paper publishes after this, in this particular -- on this day, right? it's a 3: 30 edition and it announces information about funeral preparations as you imagine, although that's still happening swiftly, but the most striking thing it reports is that booth has been captured, which, in fact is not true because booth is not captured for another is 1 1 -- 11 days on the run, and successfully evading authorities for a good bit of time. it has false reports as well, as we've seen along the way. you know false report that secretary state seward was
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assassinated. that was not true but he was injured. you see that throughout. this last one has that. many of the reports in the newspapers come from the ap, the associated press, which we still have today, and it was established in 1846, conglomerate of five newspapers pooling resources, the herald being one of them to get as much information from around the country as they pozbly can at any point in time rising to importance during the civil war and you can see it's right at the, you know, apex of its early significance here, and so a reporter named edd edd edd edd lorence is doing the reporting, so the reports coming from him, into the ap and to the herald: also, you see stan ten, the secretary of war
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giving his dispatches given in the paper as well. he would go to the war telegraph office and give information coming from the government and newspapers would report that as well. i don't know precisely what people's reaction was not being there, awebut certainly, there's reports in subszequent editions of dispair. there was a beloved figure, leader in parts of this country, and so there was certainly a bit of worry and mayhem, and when, in fact, he was not killed, but injured. there was a question whether this was attack on the nation
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from an act of terrorism, was it a foreign attack? was it some greater plot that was going to result in murder of ere other individuals in the government? it was unclear, especially just coming off the civil war what this moment. certainly there was a hunger among the citizenry to get as much information as they could and the paper was working to supply that. you will see things are similar from edition to edition. in the far left column, pretty much each paper you see, the column starts with the word important followed by a series of text very much the same or changes slightly over the course of the edition and then new information gets loaded in. column by column, bit by bit things feel they can sacrifice,
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or they not new information about their scraps and new text is loaded in. it's a very physical process, and we think of this now is you know, yeah, the characters, put them in one by one, we type that way, but that's not what's happening here. you can see spots where there's a column that starts with a big for this era headline. you never see a banner headline either, which is fascinating, nothing across five columns saying, lincoln is dead, which, of course, you know, a hundred years laterings you see with president kennedy, right? you know those are just banner headlines all over and you got to almost look inside to get more detail but that's not what is happening here. technology is not at that spot to have headlines run across multiple could line ups. in the 2:00 p.m. edition there's also reports of that the
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herald took from other newspapers, so they've relied heavily on the ap other sources of information, and official dispatches from stanten the secretary of war. those are heavily relied on and moving through the day, we look at other sources look to i think there were reports from the evening post and a daily newspapers that are also reported beyond this getting reports of the crime scene, this is interesting information that comes out of the of the crop kl and then we get the notes from the doctor who was at the bedside at the time of the death, which the herald gets from the evening star the washington star. that is another interesting thing happening, that there
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is -- not in a malicious way at all, maybe not overly collaborative, but certainly, it was with permission or, you know special report from the chronicle, the star, so there's a level of collaboration enough so that the information is giving out because that is seen as the most critical thing, and in the final edition, we also get some reports of not just mourning, which we know is going on, but people celebrating. while the civil war was over, there was deviciveness within the nation and not just among the conspiracies, there was booth. the other two were perfectly happy to see the end of lincoln and there were reports of arrests of people celebrateing the death and there were reports that -- like all happy here from you know louisiana,
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and that sort of thing. those are interesting little elements that we don't see with the newspaper as the primary source, you got more than you get in broad strokes a history book, or that sort of thing which is really nice to be able to let people read for themselves. there were certainly other newspapers reporting publishing and certainly doing additional additions, doing exfromex extras extras, but the herald seems to have held the high water mark for that kind of activity partly because they had the fastest presses, the most up to date. they had a huge number of pressmen, more than any other newspaper that we reported. they had many resources at their fingertips to be able to make that happen. the new york herald is the most
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widely replicated maybe not reproduced, but replicated newspaper, recording lincoln's death, so there are editions made as commemorative pieces in the years following coming out sold at the time not to fake anybody out. i mean they are sold just as that. everybody at the time who buys it knows what they are buying, it's a come pielation from the new york news on this day. none of them, you know, specifically replicates front pages seen in the exit, but they utilize that news and the type -- and the, you know information of that era to serve as commemorative pieces. like if you go to the gift shop here at the museum and bought a copy of the constitution it
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would look old-timy, but you are aware you're not buying a copy of the constitution, but in the interveneingeing 140, 130 years, people have come to believe as they are passed down within families that what they have is an actual new york herald reporting the news of lincoln's assassination, and in most instances, that's not the case. one of the ways we can fell the difference between the replicas and actual papers is even in the sort of the 15 years after the death, paper changed a lot, and these papers that are part of the exhibit are the originals, printed on paper with a very high cotton content and low wood pulp content, but as we progress in the 1890s and there's morepenny press, hotly contested newspapers, and
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the news industry is hotly contested, and everyone tries to save money as much as they can, they move in the direction of using paper with a high wood pulp content and low cotton content, and that high wood content makes a paper age rapidly. the papers from the 1880s are in absolute the worst condition we find in our collection as a whole, and the museum's collection dates from the 1490s to present day, and so the 1880s are the worst of it, the mark in time where the wood content is high, old as dirt, and they are beginning to crumble and yellow, and they are brittle, and, you know, they are -- sometimes really complicated, really hard to salvage. the papers here still have that nice high con ton content, they look good. they do not age in the same way the acid content is lower.
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the acid in the wood makes them age aggressively, and that is the case with the newspaper today. it's very acidic, and it has the capacity to age rapidly. you let the papers hang around for a couple months and they are already yellowing and it's the same with those, the whiter papers in the 18 80s. six of the seven editions here in the exhibit are from the museum's permanent collection. we were fortunate enough during the course of our research and being in touch with various psychological psychological scholars to run across an edition we did not have in the collection. it was a known edition long viewed by psychologicalscholars and known of the record, but we did not have one in the records. that was the 3:30 edition. we are able to end the exhibit just as they ended the print loan that day thanks to the loan from a collector named dean
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melon of the 3:30 edition. through the course of the seven editions, you know, that cover this 18 hour period of the shooting, it carrying you through those hours so you understand, you know the key strokes of history, which we fully comprehend today, but with much more nuance detail along the way so that there was a trip not theater, the shooting, the death, a new president was installed, and funeral preparations were in order. one of the things i hope people comprehend moving through the exhibit is that they get that understanding of how people got news, minute by minute updates almost. you can progress through the exhibit to understand how this was unfolding for a confused and scared nation many of whom
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coming off a jubilant victory, some coming away from crushing defeat to how they got this information on the assassination, and how it was conveyed to them, understood, and in addition we want people to understand the significance of the speed of news at this moment in time you know news moves fast nowadays, you know and so quick lyly between twitter and electronic media. this was a moemt in time where everything had sort of come together, the completion of the telegraph, squadron of reporters available because they are just coming off the war, the capacity of the new york herald to move so swiftly with the number of pressmen they had, and at the speed of their presses to be
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able to push this news out this rapidly and for it to then come to the people in that way. so those are among the things we want people to take away from the exhibit. we give them a chance also to track a little stock of where they are in this city to consider these things happened right here in this town, almost right here in the neighborhood, which is also really exciting for us. our exhibit opened february 13th of this year, right before president's day, and that will run through the early part of next january, january 10th of 2016. there's a good while to see it and to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time all seven editions of the her herald have been together since printed 150 years ago, and, of
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course, the centennial anniversary of the assassination of lincoln is the reason for the timing of this exhibit. lincoln always fascinates people to this day, but this year in particular is important because we mark the 150th anniversary of his assassination, the first president in our history to be assassinated, and it's a really important mark in time. watch this and other american ariantyifact programs any time at our american history tv in prime time continues this week with programs from our real america series. taking viewers through the 20th century with arian kooifl films first the film "true glory" on events in europe from the d-day invasion to the surrender of nazi germany and then the baltimore plan on race and poverty in baltimore. after that, former president
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johnson speaks about the vietnam war and u.s. policy in the region. and later, the 19 70 nasa film on apollo 13 profiles the crew's dangerous journey home following an oxygen tank explosion. that's friday here on c-span3. here are some featured programs this weekend. on c-span, saturday starting at noon politicians, white house officials, and business leaders offer advice and encouragement to the class of 2015, including former president bush and the chair of dreamworks animation and 9:15 p.m., staff members reflect on the presidency of george h.w. bush and at noon, mu commencement speeches from
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condoleezza rice and michael nutter. on saturday morning,booktv is in new york with book expo american beginning at 10:00 and live call-in segments with publishers and authors throughout the day. sunday evening at 9:00 on "after words," we look at the case that considered the constitutionality of proposition 8 the law that resended the right of same-sex couples to marry in california. on c-span3 7:00 eastern conversation with white house historian william seal on first ladies who had the most impact on the executive mansion. sunday afternoon before 2:00 life and death of the 20th president, jameis garfield serving two decades as a congressman from ohio assassinated 200 days into his term as president. get the complete schedule at c- hf-


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