Lincoln Catafalque     JFKcoffinCatafalque
Funeral services were held in the East Room of the White House
for President Lincoln on April 19, 1865 & President Kennedy on November 24, 1963.
All of the windows, mirrors and chandeliers were draped in black silk.


"...I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered.
There I met with a sickening surprise.
Before me was a catafalque,
on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments.
Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards;
and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse,
whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully.
'Who is dead in the White House?'
I demanded of one of the soldiers.
'The President,' was his answer;
'he was killed by an assassin.'
Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd,
which woke me from my dream.
I slept no more that night;
and although it was only a dream,
I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."
~ Lincoln 3 days before his assassination

A few months ago (June 2006) a reader told me that a DVD copy of Jackie Kennedy's 1962 White House Tour was available for purchase through the Kennedy Library, at which time I immediately ordered one. See JACKIE'S TOUR & JFK'S FUNERAL

Jackie WH Tour Jackie WH Page

Upon watching it I noticed that many times Jackie mentioned Abraham Lincoln.

Firstly she described how his wife, Mary, upon his death, was left destitute and sold much of the furniture she had bought when she redecorated the White House in 1861. Now much of this furniture has been retrieved and is once again in the White House.

Secondly Jackie showed us the East Room of the White House - depicted as well in a painting - where Lincoln and his wife, before the start of the Civil War, held a grand reception showing off the newly decorated room - including the carpet the First Lady was so proud of (and which Lincoln was angry at her for spending so much money on). This is the place of Lincoln's funeral, where the biggest crowd in history had paraded past his flag-draped coffin.

Thirdly Jackie showed us the window (from the outside of the White House) of the room (near the pillars of the front poritico) where Lincoln at one time attended a seance (at the behest of his wife).

Fourthly Jackie showed various portraits of Lincoln focusing on how much he had aged since becoming president. Her comment was "This is what the presidency did to Lincoln". She drew attention to his "arched eyebrow".

Lincoln Cameos

Fifthly Jackie showed the staircase up to the second floor (where Lincoln had his office and which is now family quarters) upon which never-ending visitors to Lincoln used to come and go.

Sixthly Jackie showed us the Lincoln bedroom containing nothing but the furniture Mrs Lincoln had purchased - including the huge bed. Also there is Lincoln's dressing table and mirror.

Seventhly Jackie showed us the room next to Lincoln's office which will be used in the future as a waiting room for visitors to President Kennedy, but which for now was a storage room for artifacts. She pointed out, on the wall, a snippet of wallpaper taken from the room where Lincoln had died - "across the street from Ford's Theatre".

It isn't surprising that Jackie Kennedy mentioned Abraham Lincoln quite a few times during her White House tour because Lincoln was a hero of hers. President Kennedy had inspired in her an interest in American history, one of his favourite subjects, and she had done much reading on Lincoln and the Civil War.

That is how she came to be inspired - upon her own husband's assassination - to model his funeral after Lincoln's.

Most people know that JFK's funeral was modelled after Lincoln's funeral but I doubt that many people know that Lincoln's funeral was actually modelled after his very own dream, one that had disturbed him to such an extent that he couldn't get it out of his mind.

Three days before he was assassinated, Lincoln told his wife and some friends about his dream.

Just as Lincoln had a premonition of his assassination (expressed three days before it happened), JFK had a premonition of his assassination (expressed three hours before it happened). JFK's premonition was inspired by a full page hate-ad against him, placed by the John Birch Society in the Dallas Morning News on November 22, 1963:

"...He handed it to Jackie saying, 'We're heading into nut country today'. O'Donnell took the paper to a window and reread it. The President prowled the floor. Abrubtly he paused in front of his wife. 'You know, last night would have been a hell of a night to assassinate a President', he murmured. He said it casually, and she took it lightly; it was his way of shaking off the ad... 'I mean it,' he said now, building the daydream. 'There was the rain, and the night, and we were all getting jostled. Suppose a man had a pistol in a briefcase.' He gestured vividly, pointing his rigid index finger at the wall and jerking his thumb twice to show the action of the hammer. 'Then he could have dropped the gun and the briefcase--' in pantomime he dropped them and whirled in a tense crouch-- 'and melted away in the crowd.' Lyndon Johnson came in immediately after this 007 caper... Jacqueline Kennedy examined the still uncertain sky. She hoped it would darken. It would be ridiculous to spend all that time getting ready and then ruin everything in a forty-five-minute ride in an open car. 'Oh, I want the bubbletop,' she said wistfully." See JFK & JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY

The photos above and below are taken from books I own. Immediately following are Lincoln's and Kennedy's funeral processions on their way to the U.S. Capitol as they march up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., on April 19, 1865 and November 24, 1963 respectively.


Lincoln Cry

John-John's Salute


UPDATE: As reinforcement to my belief that Lincoln's dream was a harbinger of not only his own assassination but also of Kennedy's 100 years in the future, I've added passages from Lamon's book that follow directly from his description of LINCOLN'S MIRROR-IMAGE OMEN ~ Jackie Jura


from the book "Recollections of Abraham Lincoln"

compiled from notes and papers of Ward Hill Lamon
published by his daughter in 1895 and expanded in 1911
Chapter VII, pages 114-118

...But the most startling incident in the life of Mr. Lincoln was a dream he had only a few days before his assassination. To him it was a thing of deadly import, and certainly no vision was ever fashioned more exactly like a dread reality. Coupled with other dreams, with the mirror-scene and with other incidents, there was something about it so amazingly real, so true to the actual tragedy which occurred soon after, that more than mortal strength and wisdom would have been required to let it pass without a shudder or a pang. After worrying over it for some days, Mr. Lincoln seemed no longer able to keep the secret. I give it as nearly in his own words as I can, from notes which I made immediately after its recital. There were only two or three other persons present. The President was in a melancholy, meditative mood, and had been silent for some time. Mrs. Lincoln, who was present, rallied him on his solemn visage and want of spirit. This seemed to arouse him, and without seeming to notice her sally he said, in slow and measured tones...

"About ten days ago," said he, "I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. It was light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers. 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin. 'Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."

"That is horrid!" said Mrs. Lincoln. "I wish you had not told it. I am glad I don't believe in dreams, or I should be in terror from this time forth."

"Well," responded Mr. Lincoln, thoughtfully, "it is only a dream, Mary. Let us say no more about it, and try to forget it."

This dream was so horrible, so real, and so in keeping with other dreams and threatening presentiments of his, that Mr. Lincoln was profoundly disturbed by it. During its recital he was grave, gloomy, and at times visibly pale, but perfectly calm. He spoke slowly, with measured accents and deep feeling. In conversations with me he referred to it afterward, closing once with this quotation from "Hamlet": "To sleep; perchance to dream! ay, there's the rub!" with a strong accent on the last three words.

Once the President alluded to this terrible dream with show of playful humor. "Hill," said he, "your apprehension of harm to me from some hidden enemy is downright foolishness. For a long time you have been trying to keep somebody -- the Lord knows who - from killing me. Don't you see how it will turn out? In this dream it was not me, but some other fellow, that was killed. It seems that this ghostly assassin tried his hand on some one else.... As long as this imaginary assassin continues to exercise himself on others I  can stand it." He then became serious and said: "Well, let it go. I think the Lord in His own good time and way will work this out all right. God knows what is best." Those words he spoke with a sigh, and rather in a tone of soliloquy, as if hardly noting my presence. [end quoting from Recollections of Lincoln by Lamon]

President Lincoln's Funeral (Mr. Lincoln died on Saturday, April 15, 1865. On Tuesday, April 18, President Lincoln lay in state in the East Room on an eleven-foot high catafalque designed by Commissioner of Public Building Benjamin French. Mourners lined up outside White House, waiting for the 9:30 A.M. opening of the White House gate....The mirrors in the room were covered...and the frames swathed in black crepe. Black cloth also covered the walnut, lead-lined coffin -- which was only two inches longer than the 6-4 President. A silver plate on the lid read: "ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 16TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, BORN FEBRUARY 12, 1809, DIED APRIL 15, 1865." On each side of the coffin were four silver handles and four shamrocks formed by silver tacks. The coffin itself sat on a platform covered in black cloth. Flowers from the White House grounds and greenhouse encircled the coffin and perfumed the air. Two dozen ranking Union officers formed an honor guard.... For eight hours, the public passed by the coffin. Only then were special groups of visitors allowed to pay their respects. After mourners departed about 7:30 P.M., carpenters built platforms all around the East Room for guests invited to the funeral. The noise nearly drove Mary Todd Lincoln crazy -- indeed, it so disturbed her that at her request it was not dismantled until after she moved out of the White House in May. The funeral itself was held shortly after noon on Wednesday, April 19, 1865. About 600 guests entered the same way the public had the day before - through the crepe-covered South Portico and the Green Room and into the candle-lit East Room....

Lincoln's funeral
FuneralTrain FuneralRouteMap LincolnGraveTomb
LincolnCatafalqueWH CapitolLincolFuneral LincolnFuneralParade
Doctor who loved Lincoln arrived first to help
PetersonHouseOutside PetersonHouseInside
Lincoln assassinated 148 years ago, age 56
FordTheater BoothShootLincoln BoothRunLincoln
April 14, 1865-2013

JBKCarolineJohnJohn East Rooom, the White House, Washington, DC, November 24, 1963: Jackie, her two children and Bobby attend the private lying-in-state. A private mass was said, and the casket opened for Jackie to place three notes inside, from her and the children, and a scrimshaw and cuff links. Jackie took a lock of her husband's hair.

In Lincoln's footsteps: It was Jackie who took control of the funeral. Despite the ordeal she had been through, she maintained her poise throughout the coming days. With her heightened sense of occasion, she was clearly determined that the crafting of the John F. Kennedy legacy would begin at once, with the eyes of the world focused on Washington. Jackie's first decision was that the funeral should echo that of Abraham Lincoln, who had also fallen to an assassin's bullet, ninety-eight years before. The East Room of the White House was prepared to look as it had when Lincoln's body had lain there, with black crepe over the chandeliers and doorways. Lincoln's original catafalque was found, and Kennedy's casket placed upon it. On Saturday, after a private mass for the family, statesmen came to view the catafalque. The family and media at first assumed that Kennedy would be buried in his home state, at Brookline, Massachusetts, where he had been born. But Jackie thought otherwise. She decided on Arlington Cemetary, the cemetary for veterans from America's armed forces, and visited select the site for the grave. Only one other US president was buried here, William Howard Taft.

JFK Grave Flame DEDICATED TO PRESIDENT KENNEDY ("Our President is lying up there cold beneath his flame")

THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS (delivered by President Lincoln on November 19, 1863 almost 100 years to the day before President Kennedy's assassination on November 22, 1963..."We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.")


Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~