Abraham Lincoln’s Last Medical Kit

05 Sep

Dr. Robert K. Stone’s personally-owned and -used black leather medical case, measuring 5 x 2.5 x 1, hand-engraved on the top plate of the front clasp. “R. K. S., M. D.,” with an ornate swirl effect elegantly engraved on the lower portion. The interior is lined with soft purple velvet and the case still contains a syringe and various medical instruments and attachments. Includes an astounding period handwritten and signed original statement of provenance from Dr. Stone himself. In full: “For Thomas, this case was used for my last visit to Prest Lincoln. Please have it, your father, Robert King Stone.”

Robert King Stone, an accomplished doctor and professor of medicine considered ‘the dean of the Washington medical community,’ was President Abraham Lincoln’s physician of choice who tended to his entire family, frequently visiting them because of Mary Todd Lincoln’s frequent migraine headaches and other various illnesses; Stone continued to look after her even after the assassination of her husband, President Lincoln. Dr. Stone also cared for their sons, Tad and Willie Lincoln, during their bouts with typhoid in early 1862; unfortunately, Willie was unable to recover and passed away. Still, Lincoln trusted Dr. Stone and recommended the doctor’s suggestions for wartime field treatments to Surgeon General William A. Hammond. When President Lincoln was shot at Ford’s Theatre on the evening of April 14, 1865, he was first attended to by Dr. Charles Leale, a member of the audience seated just forty feet away from the president’s box. After determining that President Lincoln might not survive a carriage ride back to the White House, Dr. Leale ordered that he be moved across 10th Street to the Petersen House. Robert King Stone arrived at Petersen’s boarding house shortly thereafter, and Dr. Leale ceded control of the situation to him after showing Dr. Stone the wound and describing his initial treatment, which Dr. Stone approved of. As it became apparent that the president’s wound was mortal, Dr. Stone was then tasked with telling Robert Todd Lincoln of his father’s fatal condition. This medical case, which Dr. Stone describes firsthand as being used for his last visit to President Lincoln, is a noteworthy artifact from a seminal moment in American history—worthy of inclusion in an advanced presidential collection.

Bidding for the Auction opens Sep 11, 2014 & ends Sep 17, 2014

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Posted by on September 5, 2014 in Abraham Lincoln


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