[LINCOLN -- ASSASSINATION]. War Department, Washington, April 20, 1865. "$100,000 Reward! The Murderer of our late beloved President, Abraham Lincoln, Is Still at Large. $50,000 Reward Will be paid by the Department for his apprehension, in addition to any reward offered by Municipal Authorities or State Executives. $25,000 Reward Will be paid for the apprehension of John H. Surrat, one of Booth's Accomplices. $25,000 Reward will be paid for the apprehension of David C. Harold [sic], another of Booth's Accomplice...Let the stain of innocent blood be removed from the land by the arrest and punishment of the murderers. All good citizens are exhorted to aid public justice on this occasion...[signed in type:] Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War. [Washington, D.C.] 20 April 1865."
Folio, 610 x 322mm. Very faint off-setting from folding, archival tape mount at top verso, some loss at central fold (affecting text "IS" and "AT"), some clean separation along fold, otherwise a very good copy of this extremely fragile broadside. Kunhardt & Kunhardt, Twenty Days, p.106; The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America, ed. J. Rhodehamel and T. F. Schwartz, 1993, p.68-69.
THE WAR DEPARTMENT REWARD POSTER FOR JOHN WILKES BOOTH AND HIS ACCOMPLICES, ISSUED FIVE DAYS AFTER THE ASSASSINATION OF THE PRESIDENT.
A fine copy of the second printing, second issue from a new setting of type (with expanded note on Herold "naturally quick and active, slightly closes his eyes when looking at a person", and same description of Booth as the first printing, "slender build, high forehead, black hair, black eyes, and wears a heavy black moustache") of possibly the most famous reward broadside in American history. At the time it was printed and circulated--in the wake of Lincoln's assassination--only John Wilkes Booth, David C. Herold and John H. Surratt had been identified as parties to the assassination conspiracy. (The roles of Lewis Powell, George A. Atzerodt and other conspirators only came to light later.) Booth and Herold had escaped into Maryland, and then to Virginia, where, six days after this poster was issued, they were surrounded by Union soldiers in a Virginia tobacco barn. Booth refused to give himself up and was fatally shot. Herold was captured and subsequently tried, convicted and executed with the other conspirators on 6 June 1865. John Surratt escaped to Europe and was only extradited to the U.S. for trial in 1867.
The broadside is known in two separate printings, which are readily distinguished (for a full description of each printing and issue see Christie's 10 December 1999 sale, lot 135).
Some copies of the second printing of the broadside feature attached carte-de-visite photographs (the copy at the Huntington has cartes of Booth and Herold, but not Surratt) while the Calvin Bullock copy (sold here in 1985, now in the FORBES Magazine Collection), has all three cartes. Most of the extant copies did not have photographs attached (and in some cases these may have been affixed at a later date).
Provenance: Goodspeed's Books, Boston, in 1963, as attested in a 1963 letter with the poster, detailing the purchase of the present copy.