See the Handwritten Notes on Abraham Lincoln’s Autopsy
Though the who, what, when, and where of the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln are well established—on the evening of April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot the 16th president once in the head during a performance of Our American Cousin at Washington’s Ford’s Theatre—what happened in the aftermath is less well known.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s untimely death, the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York is showcasing a brand-new exhibition, “Autopsy for a Nation: The Death of Abraham Lincoln,” which includes the handwritten autopsy and physicians' notes penned by Dr. Joseph Janvier Woodward and Dr. Robert King Stone, the two Army surgeons who performed the president’s autopsy. The notes give a fascinatingly detailed (if at times gruesome) accounting of the bullet’s trajectory and the damage it caused, even if you have no idea what words like “ecchymosed” and/or “opticorum” mean. (See for yourself below.)