Disinterring Booth

Just a quick picture post tonight. I had never heard of this newspaper or seen this macabre engraving of Booth’s disinterment before and felt the need to share it.

Booths body

Here’s a newspaper account regarding the condition Booth’s body was in during his disinterment:
Booth's Remains article

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22 thoughts on “Disinterring Booth

  1. Pretty gruesome but interesting print, Dave! I’ve done a bit of research on this paper and it was published by none other than Frank Leslie! The Day’s Doings was more or less on the same par as the notorious National Police Gazette, although Leslie thought to ignore the fact that he was the publisher of this rather racy, illustrated newspaper which somewhat sported criminal doings, lewd women, bar room brawls, murders and other tawdry subjects more in keeping with the saloon bar room rather than the family parlor!

    Here’s a good link on Leslie’s notorious rag:


  2. News articles back then weren’t exactly models of accuracy but I found it interesting that it mentioned a cut open boot on Booth’s apparent broken leg. Wouldn’t the boot that was cut be the one left at Dr. Mudd’s, now on display at Ford’s Theatre? The shoe was probably added to replace the missing boot. Perhaps a presumption by the writer, since the remaining boot could have rotted or been torn during the exhumation giving the impression it had been slit.

    • Yes it looks like the author of the article realized the reason Booth had two different shoes was due to his broken leg, but didn’t think it through beyond that. Good catch, Wes.

  3. Never seen this before. Thanks for posting.

  4. Richard Sloan

    “The Day’s Doings” is a tremendous find! Congrats! What a great cover picture! Where is this paper? Who owns it? How did you come by it? How’about some background, Dave?!

  5. I guess Mr. Wally was wrong when he reminisced, “The body of Booth was brought back to the city and was placed by the cellar of the Capital prison, mentioned above, pending an autopsy. The autopsy was delayed until the condition of the body took such a proceeding out of the question, and then a man was hired for $10 to take it out and sink it in the Potomac River.”

    • Didn’t the government perpetrate that rumor? There’s that engraving from Harper’s or Frank Leslie’s where they have the two men in a boat sibling Booth’s body. Weren’t some soldiers ordered to go out and sink some rocks in a bag to make it look like that’s what they did with Booth’s body?

  6. Rich Smyth

    John looks like he is ready for a Day of the Dead celebration. And the guy holding his legs looks like he is from Our Gang thou you are too young to know them Dave.

    • Love your analogy, Rich! Yes it does look like a “Day of the Dead celebration with JWB as the star! HA! And yes, that could be “Spanky McFarland” holding Booth’s legs…….
      Oh for the good old days of “Our Gang Comedies!” Although nothing comic here – HA!

    • Hey, they made a Little Rascals movie in the 1990’s. I know who they are.

      And yes, Booth is definitely ready for the Dia de Los Muertos. I wonder if his skull is made out of sugar…

  7. Herb Swingle

    Too bad that “they”weren’t up with the” times”so that they could have performed an autopsy on Booth’s brain!

    • Sounds like there was nothing left rolling around in that skull to autopsy, Herb. Even so, I believe they looked at Charles Guiteau’s brain after he was executed for killing Garfield and found nothing abnormal about it. And that guy definitely was crazy!

  8. Eleanor Ford

    I really wonder if it was really Booth.

  9. Pingback: John Surratt in The Days’ Doings | BoothieBarn

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