Adjusting the Ropes
Date July 7, 1865
Artist:Alexander Gardner, American (b. Scotland), 1821 - 1882
Publisher:Philp and Solomons, Washington, D.C., American
Dimensions Overall: 6 3/4 x 8 3/4 in. (17.1 x 22.2 cm) Overall, Frame: 24 1/8 x 26 1/8 in. (61.3 x 66.4 cm)
Medium Albumen print
Credit Line Gift of David L. Hack and Museum purchase, with funds from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., by exchange
Description The David L. Hack Civil War Photography Collection. This is a photograph of the Old Arsenal Prison. There are many guards lined up on the high wall in the background. In the center there is a wooden platform set up for an execution. This photo shows the prisoners being tied and looped with a noose. This is from _Gardner's Photographic Sketchbook of the War_ (Hack Collection No. 323).
Exhibition History"An Enduring Interest: The Photographs of Alexander Gardner," The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Va., Oct. 20, 1991 - Jan. 5, 1992.
"Civil War Photographs from the David L. Hack Collection and Civil War Redux: Pinhole Photographs by Willie Anne Wright," Alice R. and Sol B. Frank Photo Galleries, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA, February 3 - October 29, 2006; Cape Fear Museum, Wilmington, NC, February 15 - May 28, 2007; Huntington Museum of Art, Huntington, WV, July 26 - September 21, 2008.
"Shooting Lincoln: Photography and the 16th President," Chrysler Museum of Art, February 10 - July 5, 2015.
Published ReferencesBrooks Johnson, _An Enduring Interest: The Photographs of Alexander Gardner_, exh. cat., The Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Va., 1991, 128.
Object Label Alexander Gardner American, 1821−1882 Adjusting the Ropes, 1865 From the series Incidents of the War, Sic Semper Sicariis Published by Philp & Solomons, Washington, D.C. Albumen print (photograph) Atop the gallows on the far left, Mary Surratt (1823−1865) sits and awaits her noose. John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices planned Lincoln’s assassination at a boarding house owned by Surratt, but her direct involvement in the plot was difficult to prove. Just before the drop, Surratt reportedly pleaded, “Don’t let me fall.” Lewis Powell stands next to her with a white hood already over his head and the rope around his neck. In his final moments, Powell repeated to the executioners, “Mrs. Surratt is innocent. She doesn’t deserve to die with the rest of us.” Gift of David L. Hack and Museum purchase, with funds from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., by exchange 98.32.13
Object Number 98.32.13