Go deeper into the history of each park with scholarly articles and essays from Oxford University Press, freely available for the centennial year.
On 14 Apr. 1865, however, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated there during a performance by Laura Keene's company of Tom Taylor's Our American Cousin. The assassin was John Wilkes Booth, brother of Edwin Booth.
Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes BoothTerry Alford
With a single shot from a pistol small enough to conceal in his hand, John Wilkes Booth catapulted into history on the night of April 14, 1865. The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln stunned a nation that was just emerging from the chaos and calamity of the Civil War, and the president's untimely death altered the trajectory of postwar history. But to those who knew Booth, the event was even more shocking-for no one could have imagined that this fantastically gifted actor and well-liked man could commit such an atrocity.