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History Department to host special presentation of Abraham Lincoln Papers

September 26, 2012 : Liberty University News Service

Dr. Daniel Stowell, director of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln

Liberty University’s History Department will host Dr. Daniel Stowell for a special presentation of the Abraham Lincoln Papers Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m., in the Towns Alumni Hall. Stowell is the director of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a group that searches for papers written by or about Abraham Lincoln.

Stowell will present the eyewitness account and medical/autopsy report of Dr. Charles Leale, a 23-year-old surgeon who was the first responder at Ford’s Theatre when President Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865. Leale remained with the president until he died the next morning. His medical report was written just hours after Lincoln’s death. (View the press release.)

Until this summer when the papers were discovered, no one besides Leale had seen the report since April 1865.

The presentation is titled “'O Doctor, do what you can for him!': Charles Leale's Eyewitness Report of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln,” citing the words Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, spoke to Leale when he got to the booth where the president had been shot.

“What is remarkable about this newly discovered report is its immediacy and poignancy. You can sense the helplessness Leale and the other doctors felt that night, but it does not have the sentimentality or added layers of later accounts. It is truly a first draft of history,” Stowell said.

This special presentation will be the unofficial kick-off to the 16th annual 2012 Civil War Seminar that begins Friday at Liberty.