How Newspapers Reported the Civil War
A collection of historic front pages shows how civilians experienced and read about the war
- By Jeanne Maglaty
- Smithsonian.com, January 10, 2012
Newspapers provided elaborate coverage of Lincoln’s assassination and funeral. On April 15, 1865, the Evening Express in Washington published an extra that reported his death at “half-past 7 this morning”; a black border surrounds the news columns. Ten days later, the Philadelphia Inquirer printed images of Lincoln’s casket in Independence Hall and the interior of the railroad car that transported his body.
Christoffersen said museum-goers often are surprised that the papers are 150-year-old originals. During the mid-1800s, newspapers had a high rag content, which meant they didn’t decay as much as papers with more wood content a few decades later.