If you know the name John T. Ford at all, it's probably because he was the owner of Ford's New Theater, "which acquired such unenviable notoriety as the scene of the assassination of President Lincoln," as one of his obituaries pointed out.
John Ford's life was much bigger than that one night in April 150 years ago.
John T. Ford's obituaries are proper eulogies: they praise him in most everything he did. And it's clear from how broad his reach was that he was a great businessman. But would we ever know his name if a young actor had not shot the President in one of his many theaters? Would photographs of him and lithographs of his house ever been saved at the Library of Congress?
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