The Richard D. Mudd Papers contain the extensive research files of Richard D. Mudd, whose grandfather, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, set the leg of Abraham Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth as Booth attempted to escape the scene of the crime through southern Maryland. Samuel A. Mudd went to prison for setting Booth's leg, but Richard D. Mudd decades later contended that his grandfather was simply doing his duty as a medical doctor. Although he was released from prison by President Andrew Johnson, Samuel A. Mudd was never fully cleared of assisting Booth. The case generated controversy when it occurred, and some still find it controversial today. For his part, Richard D. Mudd believed his grandfather was innocent of any complicity in the assassination, so he researched a large number of aspects of the Lincoln assassination to prove his innocence. Representing his research findings, this collection consists mostly of correspondence he compiled with historians and other researchers, newspaper clippings, and published articles. In addition, the collection includes more than 100 audio cassette tapes recording talks or interviews by Richard D. Mudd and other Lincoln assassination scholars.
Together, these materials provide detailed secondary source material about Samuel A. Mudd and the Lincoln assassination. Most of the documents date between 1950 and 1990. The folder headings designated by Richard D. Mudd have been maintained, as has his original alphabetical order. The Richard D. Mudd Papers are stored in 44 boxes (58 linear feet).
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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES - Richard Dyer Mudd (1901-2002) was born in Washington, D.C., on January 24, 1901, the son of Thomas and Mary (Hartigan) Mudd. Richard received four degrees from Georgetown University, an A.B. in 1921, an M.A. in 1922, a Ph.D. in 1925, and an M.D. in 1926. He married Rose Marie Krummack on June 20, 1928.
From 1926 to 1927, Richard D. Mudd interned at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. He served as a resident there from 1927 to 1928. Mudd had a long and distinguished career as medical director of two industrial sites. Specifically, he worked as an industrial physician for a division of General Motors between 1928 and 1966 and for Chevrolet Saginaw Foundries between 1936 and 1966. Richard D. Mudd was also a reserve officer in the army and air force until 1961. Previously, he had served in World War II and Korea, retiring as a colonel.
Devoting time to the study of the life of his family in general and his grandfather Samuel A. Mudd in particular, Richard D. Mudd authored "The Mudd Family in the United States" (1970) and "Descendants of Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd" (1982). Richard D. Mudd traveled across the United States giving lectures about Samuel A. Mudd, mostly to Civil War related groups. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter supported Richard D. Mudd's position on his grandfather's conviction, but Carter noted that the findings of guilt and the sentence of a military commission could not be set aside by a president. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan relayed his disappointment to Richard that law prevented changing convictions from the military court. Richard D. Mudd died on May 21, 2002, at the age of 101, in Saginaw, Michigan. [Source: "The American Catholic Who's Who, 1978-1979." Vol. 22. National Catholic News Service. P. 406.]
Samuel Alexander Mudd (1833-1883) was born in Charles County, Maryland. He entered Georgetown College [now University] in 1851 and left in 1852. After receiving an M.D. from Maryland University in 1856, he became a physician.
During the Civil War, Samuel A. Mudd sympathized with the south. He set John Wilkes Booth's broken leg after the Lincoln assassination. As a result, he was given a life prison sentence for assisting Booth's escape. Although he had previously met Booth at church, Mudd claimed he did not recognize him because of a fake beard. While in prison at Fort Jefferson near Key West, Florida, Mudd valiantly treated prisoners and guards during a yellow fever outbreak. His actions during that epidemic led President Andrew Johnson to pardon him in 1869.
Although he returned to live in Maryland, his conviction and its stigma remained. Samuel A. Mudd died in 1883. His descendants have attempted to overturn the conviction, arguing that their ancestor was simply carrying out his medical duty. The case of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd has been the source of controversy ever since 1865. [Sources: "The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. P. 522; Georgetown University Alumni Files; Sifakis, Stewart, "Who Was Who in the Civil War." New York: Facts On File, 1988, p. 461-462.]