Lincoln’s Death, New Nation: April 1865 to 1877

Lincoln on the Mountaintop

Who accompanied the president and first lady to Ford’s Theatre?

Major Henry Rathbone and Miss Clara H. Harris were the first, and only, persons to accept the president’s invitation. Lincoln had asked as many as four different couples, and all had—for one reason or another—declined. Finally there was a party of four, and the presidential carriage took them to the theatre.

Lincoln was an earnest theatre lover, and he was eager to see the production of Our American Cousin. Ford’s Theatre was well accustomed to having the president and first lady in attendance: the “presidential” box was ready for the Lincoln couple. There was even the special chair that Lincoln had become accustomed to over the previous four years.


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