Libraries & Spaces
Did John Wilkes Booth ever attend Georgetown?
Although the Archivist has heard repeated suggestions that Booth not only attended Georgetown but founded Mask and Bauble while a student, the Archives contains nothing to confirm this. The suggestions may have arisen because there were connections between Georgetown and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In fact, of the eight people convicted in the assassination conspiracy, three were Georgetown alumni. David Herold, who attended the College from 1855-1858, was hanged for his role. He not only guided Lewis Paine to Secretary of State William Seward's house where Paine attempted to stab Seward to death, but helped the injured Booth to escape after Lincoln's shooting. Samuel Bland Arnold, who attended 1844-1845, had been part of a previous conspiracy with Herold to kidnap Lincoln and was sentenced to life imprisonment, as was Dr. Samuel Mudd, a student from 1851-1852, who set Booth's broken ankle. Arnold and Mudd were pardoned by Andrew Johnson in 1869.