Calling on the Vice President

Education Updates

John Wilkes Booth, the infamous assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was a busy man on the day of April 14, 1865.  Just hours before the tragedy at Ford’s Theatre, Booth made a visit to the Washington, D.C., hotel where Vice President Andrew Johnson was staying.  It is there that he left today’s spotlight document: a calling card.  Historians are still debating over Booth’s rationale for leaving this card for the vice president.

Calling Card of John Wilkes Booth John Wilkes Booth’s Calling Card, 4/14/1865. From the Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army). National Archives Identifier: 7873510

The handwritten card is signed J. Wilkes Booth, and contains the short message, “Don’t wish to disturb you.  Are you at home?”  In the original plans for April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was to be kidnapped and taken to Richmond as a means to demand resuming the prisoner exchanges between the Union and the Confederacy.  But…

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