Do your great-great-great-grandparents remember where they were on the evening of April 14, 1865? Though this may not be a question most of us ask ourselves, it is one that might be answered by exploring the digital archives of the Remembering Lincoln project. The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln left a mark not only on the fabric of American history but on the memories of those who lived during this historic event. Much like the narratives that now define the tragedies like the John F. Kennedy’s assassination and September 11th, oral histories are integral to understanding the history of the Civil War, Antebellum America, and Abraham Lincoln’s legacy.
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, Ford’s Theatre has been collecting and publishing archival materials pertaining to this historic event. Newspaper articles and personal letters from 1865–66 are juxtaposed with later historical narratives to present a complex resource for exploring the memory of Lincoln’s assassination. The project began in October 2013 with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Ford’s Theatre worked with a variety of institutions, researchers, educators, and scholars to put together the digital archive. In addition to digitizing and publishing a searchable archive of materials related to Lincoln’s death, the Remembering Lincoln project provides resources for educators to teach with the materials.