Skip to main content
Please contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections for assistance with accessing these materials.

Richard D. Mudd papers 2

Identifier: GTM-090625


  • circa 1970-2002

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Biographical Sketches

Richard D. 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 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 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, Mudd sympathized with the south. He set John Wilkes Booth's leg after the Lincoln assassination fled from Ford's Theater to southern Maryland. As a result, he was given a life prison sentence for assisting Booth's escape. Although he had previously met Booth, Mudd claimed that 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 Samuel A. Mudd has been the source of debate 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.]

Scope Note

The Richard D. Mudd Papers: Part 2 comprise a small collection of materials concerning the efforts of Richard D. Mudd (1901-2002) to clear the name of his grandfather Samuel A. Mudd (1833-1882), the doctor who set John Wilkes Booth's leg after the assassin of Abraham Lincoln fled from Ford's Theater.

The Richard D. Mudd Papers: Part 2 contain one letter from President Jimmy Carter to Richard D. Mudd dated 1979 concerning the Samuel A. Mudd case and one letter from President Ronald Reagan dated 1987 about the same topic. In addition, the collection includes printed materials regarding the court case Mudd v. the Department of the Army and letters from various U.S. Senators and Congressmen pertaining to the case. The Richard D. Mudd Papers: Part 2 are stored in 1 archival box (0.5 linear feet).

The Richard D. Mudd Papers: Part 2 supplement the extensive Richard D. Mudd Papers: Part 1, a collection donated to Georgetown Special Collections in 2003. The Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections preserves a number of other collections concerning the Lincoln assassination, including the David Rankin Barbee Papers, the Margaret K. Bearden Papers, the James O. Hall Papers, and the E.H. Swaim Collection.
Richard D. Mudd papers 2

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository