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    Description

    Henry Rathbone Autograph Signature, "H. R. Rathbone / Bvt Major U.S.A.", on a slip about 2.25" x 6". A fine-looking example which bears a period identification inked underneath. Identification reads "This man was in the box at the theatre with President Lincoln the night he was assassinated". Major Rathbone was a stepson of Lincoln's friend, Senator Ira Harris of New York, and stepbrother to the senator's daughter Clara. The two young people accompanied President and Mrs. Lincoln to Ford's Theatre on the night of 14 April 1865 when other invitees had declined. A moment after the fatal shot Rathbone tried to seize Booth, who used a dagger to severely slash his arm. Nevertheless Rathbone managed to escort Mary Lincoln over to the Petersen House, where he fainted from loss of blood. Rathbone married Clara in 1867, was discharged from the army at his own request soon after, and became U.S. Consul at Hanover, Germany, in 1882. Just before Christmas 1883 he shot Clara, stabbed her to death, then stabbed himself in the chest. Convicted of murder, he spent his remaining days in a German asylum for the criminally insane, where he died in 1911. Rathbone is said to have suffered from the thought that he might have saved Lincoln's life and exhibited erratic behavior for some years. His personal tragedy was certainly a reflection, and may in some degree have been a consequence, of the public one into which he had been thrust years before. Near very fine.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,581

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