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    Description

    A Piece of the Splint Made by Dr. Samuel Mudd for John Wilkes Booth about 2" x 1.5", made of thin wood reinforced with fabric. John Wilkes Booth appeared at Dr. Mudd's house in Maryland before dawn on 15 April 1865, seeking aid for his swollen left leg, which he said was injured when his horse tripped and threw him against a rock. Booth proved to have snapped his fibula a short distance above the ankle. Since it was not a weight-bearing bone and the break was clean, Mudd simply applied a splint -- made with wood taken from his wife's bandbox - and had his gardener make a pair of crutches for the injured man.

    Accompanied by a George S. Worcester Autograph Letter Signed, one page, 8" x 10", Boston [Mass.], 11 April 1885, presenting Capt. S.C. Wright with this "portion of the splint mentioned by me as being taken from Booth's leg after his death. . . . [T]he cloth attached to part of the splint shows a discoloration caused by Booth's blood." The splint fragment itself, exhibiting obvious wear and stains, is affixed to a small inked note that says it was "applied by the rebel Dr. Mudd" and attributes Booth's injury to his leap from the president's box at Ford's Theatre (it is impossible to determine if one or both versions are true; an initial leap injury may have been aggravated by a fall while mounted on his horse). Together with a small photo of the assassin; all of the items are mounted to a larger paperboard - the letter evincing some glue stains -- and are contained in an antique wood frame. Worcester, a Major with the 3rd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, was involved in the initial search for John Wilkes Booth but was not one of the party who captured him at Garrett's farm. The addressee may have been Samuel C. Wright of the 29th Massachusetts, who received a Medal of Honor for Antietam.

    Provenance
    : Brian Riba Auctions, July 1991, lot 14.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,413

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