Seaside resident GREG HOPE brought in a special treat for history buffs: four pages of the SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 1865 NEW YORK HERALD. That’s the day President ABRAHAM LINCOLN died, which is about a month before the Civil War ended. A portion of the front page is shown in a photo by Alex Pajunas.
Greg’s mother, RUTH (UTZINGER) HOPE of Albany, grew up in Astoria. So did her father, who was a bank president. She found the newspaper in her mother’s hope chest, but wasn’t sure if her mother or father had saved it from their parents.
“It was kind of torn up,” Greg recalled, so his mother took it to the Portland Art Museum about 30 years ago, to a conservator who pieced the pages together. They were then sealed in plastic to preserve them, and put in a glass case so both sides of the paper are visible.
What’s intriguing is that this particular front page is one of the most famous, and copied, of all the Lincoln assassination newspapers, according to one website (http://tinyurl.com/rare1865), where you can read little snippets of the paper.
“It’s very interesting to see what they’re writing about the assassination,” Greg noted, “and the hunt for (John Wilkes) Booth, and what President (Ulysses S.) Grant was doing.”
So many copies of that date’s Herald front page were put out as broadsides — used as souvenirs to mark the historical event — it’s often hard to discern them from the genuine article. But there are a few “tells,” and Greg’s newspaper looks an awful lot like the real deal. But, just to be sure, he’s gotten in touch with the Antiques Roadshow to see if they can help verify its authenticity.
“I just had it in a closet for a number of years,” Greg told the Ear. “It needs to be seen by people.”
— Elleda Wilson