Va. Family Donates Relic to Ford's TheatreBreaking News
But last week, the National Park Service got hold of the real thing. A carved-back, cane-seat parlor chair that was in the presidential box the night Lincoln was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth -- perhaps the one Mary Todd Lincoln was sitting in -- was donated to the government by a Virginia family that had kept the artifact for 140 years.
"This is a fabulous thing we've been given. We're very excited about it," said Gloria Swift, the Park Service's curator for Ford's Theatre.
After the assassination darkened the theater in 1865, the government bought the structure on 10th Street NW and turned it into a three-story office building. One of the workers dismantling the theater claimed that his boss had told him to take anything he wanted out of the presidential box. He removed the parlor chair and gave it to the Virginia family, where it was handed down for generations, Swift said.
The family, which Swift said has asked to remain anonymous, tried to sell the chair to the Park Service in the 1950s, when the theater box was being reconditioned as a historic site. But the agency didn't have the cash to buy it and made a replica instead, Swift said.
The current matriarch of the family told the Park Service recently that ownership of the chair was weighing on her.
"All her friends told her she is crazy, that she should sell it on eBay," Swift said. "But she said that giving it to us felt like the right thing to do."
comments powered by Disqus
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- Mary Beard, herself a bestselling author, wonders why more women historians aren't
- Princeton U. historian Imani Perry claims mistreatment in parking ticket arrest
- Retired historian George Dennison remains on the payroll at the U. of Montana while faculty are cut
- The Atlantic profiles exciting ways to teach history
- LDS Church has gone from 0 to 4 historians specializing in women’s history