A Maryland man says he's discovered lost photos of President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession in New York City in 1865.
The Washington Post reports that Paul Taylor, a retired federal government accountant, found the photos believed to show Lincoln's catafalque moving past Grace Episcopal Church on Broadway on an Archives Flickr photo-sharing website.
“I was just struck by the scene,” Taylor told the newspaper. “That is not your normal scene in front of church. There’s just people everywhere: the streets, the sidewalks, the roof. They’re in the trees. This is not your normal Sunday.”
The series of photos by famed Civil War photographer Mathew Brady show a crowd waiting for, and then apparently to be paying homage before, a horse-drawn hearse. The photos were taken April 24 or 25, 1865, just days after Lincoln's assassination, The Post reported.
The photos appear to have been taken from an upper window of Brady's studio, which was across the street from the church. Taylor said he matched the church in the photographs to Grace Episcopal and e-mailed his findings to the Archives on March 3.
“I’m looking at it, and that was it,” he told The Post. “I had it.”
Experts at the Archives told the newspaper that while Taylor's theory sounds good, there may be other explanations and there is no way to prove it decisively.
“It’s a big deal,” said Richard Sloan, an expert on the Lincoln funeral ceremonies. “What makes it even a bigger deal is to be able to study the people. Even though you can’t see faces that well, just studying the people tells a story.”
A half-million people lined the procession route in New York, which was part of a two-week funeral tour that included stops in over a dozen major cities.