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    Description

    Boston Corbett, the Man Who Killed John Wilkes Booth, Cabinet Photograph and Autograph Letter Signed. The original image, a head and shoulders pose, was taken in May 1865 and shows Corbett in his uniform jacket (its sergeant stripes barely visible on the arms), but without cap or other military accoutrements. This cabinet-sized print, larger and clearer than the original cartes de visite, is on a mount marked at foot "M.B. Brady, Washington, D.C." In the letter, one page, 5" x 8", Corbett writes from Camden, N.J., 13 July 1878, to a "Dear Lady", stating in part, "I thought it hardly right for me to be honored in writing an autograph, in my present condition in life. But as I have just answered a similar request, I could not reasonably deny yours." Corbett's reluctance seems disingenuous, since he had never been publicity shy and even tried to capitalize on his fame by lecturing, until word spread that his "lectures" devolved into religious rants.

    Corbett belonged to the 16th New York Cavalry, the unit that finally cornered Lincoln's assassin on a Virginia farm. Since no orders preventing it had been given, Corbett was never disciplined for shooting Booth, and he shared equally with his fellow troopers in the federal reward money. Declared insane after brandishing a gun in the Kansas state legislative chamber where he was a doorkeeper, he soon escaped from his asylum -- and from history as well, since he was never heard of again. A small October 1887 newspaper clipping glued at the foot of this photo, on recto, reports on his insanity. The photograph is fine. The letter is irregularly toned from having been overlaid with other papers; fine.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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