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How a Photo Reveals an Early Encounter Between Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth

Apr 13, 2015

It was 150 years ago this week, on April 14, 1865, mere days after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, that President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. The act put an end to the life of one of history's most revered men.

As shown in the exclusive clip above, a photograph from the time provides evidence for a claim that circulated in the days following the crime: that Booth was actually within firing range of the president during Lincoln's second inauguration, about a month before the assassination actually took place.

That proof of a near-miss is just one of the ways that photographs have illuminated Lincoln's story. In the HBO documentary Living With Lincoln, from which this exclusive clip is taken, Peter Kunhardt explores his family's history collecting Lincoln artifacts and photographs like this one—a hobby, obsession and calling that has come down through the generations for a century and a half. The Kunhardt family's collection has contributed to the ways the world remembers Lincoln—their pictures include the portraits used to design the penny and the five-dollar bill—and also links the 16th President to, oddly enough, LIFE Magazine and the children's book Pat the Bunny.

Living With Lincoln premieres on HBO on April 13.

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