Coffin that passes through lanes and streets,
Through day and night with the great cloud darkening the land,
With the pomp of the inloop’d flags with the cities draped in black,
. . . .
With all the mournful voices of the dirges pour’d around the coffin,
The dim-lit churches and the shuddering organs–where amid these you journey,
With the tolling tolling bells’ perpetual clang,
Here, coffin that slowly passes,
I give you my sprig of lilac.
— “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” Walt Whitman
Less than a week after his April 14, 1865 murder by assassin John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s body lay in state under the Capitol Rotunda on the 20th for thousands upon thousands of mourners to pay their respects. The day prior, the Lincoln funeral procession had begun in earnest when the hearse bearing him travelled along Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol. On the 21st, his body began the long slow journey by train from Washington to Springfield, Illinois, with stops for funeral processions through cities including Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City and others before arriving at its final destination, Springfield, Illinois. The three stereo cards below show the president’s casket in elaborate open-air hearses that passed through the main streets of the cities; buildings draped in mourning bunting; and crowds lined up to see the procession.
The three images above are one fourth of a dozen stereographs of President Lincoln’s funeral procession on his journey homeward to Springfield, his final resting place. The pictures capturing these solemn moments are part of the recently-acquired Robin G. Stanford Collection consisting of 540 rare and historic Civil War stereographs. The culmination of 40 years collecting, Mrs. Stanford’s pictures help fill “critical gaps in our Southern stereographs and in images by local photographers in both North and South. The Stanford Collection can provide scenes with slaves in 1860 South Carolina, views in Louisiana and Texas, rare coverage of naval and land battles, small Pennsylvania battlefront towns and much more,” according to Helena Zinkham, chief of the Prints and Photographs Division.
- View all currently available Civil War era stereographs from the Robin G. Stanford Collection in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, which include stereographs taken by James M. Osborn and Frederick E. Durbec, who operated a photography business in Charleston, South Carolina. The two men recorded scenes in the early 1860s in their locale, including slaves living and working at Rockville Plantation; Fort Sumter after bombardment; Fort Moultrie; and the Charleston Battery.
- With Malice Toward None: The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Exhibition commemorated the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of the nation’s revered sixteenth president in 2009. The special presentation Lincoln’s Long Journey Home maps the route and traces the events day-by-day along the twelve-day journey.
- The Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress online collection consists of some 20,000 items from the 1850s through Lincoln’s presidential years, 1860-65. Readers will find incoming and outgoing correspondence and enclosures, drafts of speeches, and notes as well as printed material within the collection.
- See the March 31 news release “Library of Congress Acquires Rare Civil War Stereographs” for more information on the recently acquired Robin G. Stanford Collection.