Autopsy for a Nation: The Death of Abraham Lincoln

Autopsy for a Nation: The Death of Abraham Lincoln
April 1 - December 31, 2015

Commemorating the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, this small installation will include the autopsy and physician’s notes from the collection housed at the Fenimore Art Museum. These handwritten notes by Dr. Joseph Janvier Woodward and Dr. R. K. Stone, from which the final reports were derived, detail the physical damage done by the assassin’s bullet. The exhibit will also display other Lincoln-related items from the period of his death from the museum’s collections.

John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865, just five days after the war ended. The President died early the next morning, plunging the entire country, North and South, into deep mourning. The President’s body was carried in state aboard a funeral train that made its way from Washington, D.C. through 180 cities and seven states on its way for burial in Lincoln’s home state of Illinois. The train visited cities and towns, with local newspapers noting the scheduled stops. The coffin was then transported by horsedrawn hearse and led by solemn processions to a public building for viewing. In New York City, thousands of mourners flocked to pay tribute to the slain President.

Notes taken at Abraham Lincoln’s Autopsy by Dr. J. J. Woodward, April 15, 1865.  New York State Historical Association / Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, New York