JOSEPH H. HAZELTON - MANUSCRIPT SIGNED - HFSID 84446
Sale Price $2,380.00
JOSEPH H. HAZELTON. Typed Manuscript signed: "Joseph H. Hazleton", 1p, 8½x11 buff paper. Photograph of Hazleton, b/w, 1x1¾, printed at upper left. Headed: "The/Assassination of President Lincoln/By Joseph H. Hazleton (An eye witness)". In part: "On the 14th day of April, a little school boy, with his school books in a strap thrown carelessly across his shoulder, romped down Tenth Street in Washington, D.C., and as he approached old Ford's Theatre there stood in front a tall, stately man, swarthy of complexion, raven black curly hair, a drooping moustache, and a wondrous kind eye. That man was John Wilkes Booth...The little school boy was myself...He beckoned me over to him, lifted my cap from my head, ran his fingers through my hair and said: 'Well, little man, are you going to be an actor some day?' I replied: 'I don't know, Mr. Booth, perhaps.' Little did I dream at the time that I would spend fifty years of my life in the theatrical profession. Booth took from his pocket a little folder, which contained the coin of the day commonly known as 'shin plasters' of the denominations of five, ten, twenty-five and fifty cents. Handing me a ten cent plaster, he pulled my hat playfully over my eyes, patted me on the shoulders and bade me run buy myself something...Well, I went around the Theatre that night, as was my custom...It was a gala night, the play was 'Our American Cousin' and Laura Keene was the star. Almost everyone knew that the President would be there...The house was packed, the gold lace of the Army and Navy predominating. The President and his party came late, the second act was on, and as Mr. Lincoln entered the audience rose en masse and cheered, Mr. Lincoln came down to the front of the box...bowed his acknowledgments and took his seat and the play went on. The third act was on and I was standing directly opposite the President's box, looking up at him...to see how he was enjoying the play. I happened to turn my head toward the main entrance and saw Wilkes-Booth enter. He stopped a moment to say a word to Mr. Buckingham, the door-keeper, then started upstairs to the Dress Circle. As he passed along the side aisle toward the President's box, I noticed the change in his dress. When he spoke to me in the afternoon he was dressed in the height of fashion...now he was wearing heavy riding boots, spurs, a blue flannel shirt and an army slouch hat. I wondered...what he was doing there on such a gala night dressed in such a garb. I did not have long to wait, there was a flash, a report and President Lincoln has been assassinated. There are not words in the English language to describe the awful hush which fell over the house...no one seemed to take the initiative, until Laura Keene, rushing down to the footlights, cried, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, the President has been shot!' then all was pandemonium. When Booth fired the shot he dropped the weapon, a single barrelled (sic) affair, called a derringer, and drawing a Bowie knife ran to the edge of the box. Major Rathbone tried to stop him, and received an ugly wound on his arm. Booth leaped over the rail of the box to the stage, but his spur caught in the American flag which draped the box and he fell to the stage...to my dying day I shall never forget the look of anguish and despair on that man's face, as he half dragged himself to the center. Then brandishing the knife above his head and with a maniac stare, cried out, 'Sic Semper Tyrannis'. He managed to get to the stage door where his horse was being held, mounted and rode rapidly away...But let's leave Booth and return to the theatre. They carefully lifted the President and carried him across the street to the home of Mr. Peterson, one of our merchants. The building is now being used as the Olroyd Lincoln Museum...." At the end of the manuscript, Hazelton describes being under the window of the home and hearing first-hand that the President had died. This document is an excerpt taken from an article published in the February 1927 issue of "Good Housekeeping" magazine. The multi-page article, written by Campbell MacCulloch, was entitled: "This Man Saw Lincoln Shot". Joseph Hazelton, a former program boy at Ford's Theatre in Washington, who was just 12 years old when he witnessed the assassination of Lincoln, gave this eyewitness account at the age of 73. After serving as a page in the U.S. Senate and working as a railroad clerk, Hazelton had become an actor. Ironically, his choice of a profession was the direct result of the two men with whom he crossed paths on April 14, 1865 - John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln. On the day that Hazelton told his story to MacCullough, Robert Todd Lincoln, the last surviving son of the martyred President, was being laid to rest in a quiet New England community. Fine condition.
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