In 1999, Thomas Lowry published a book suggesting that hours before Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, he gave a presidential pardon to a mentally handicapped Army private. Lowry found the pardon in the National Archives and his book revealed the compassionate side of the 16th president.
On Monday it was revealed that Lowry snuck a pen into the archives and doctored the document, changing the date from April 14, 1864 to April 14, 1865. He did this because he wanted to gain notoriety as a prominent Lincoln expert.
Read the coverage of this scandal in The New York Times. Here is a taste:
David S. Ferriero, the national archivist, said Dr. Lowry confessed this month to the alteration. Because the statute of limitations has lapsed, he will not be criminally prosecuted, but will be barred from National Archives facilities.
“He indicated that he snuck a pen in — a Pelikan pen — and he marked the document and changed the date for the simple reason of getting some notoriety,” said Mitchell Yockelson, an investigator for the National Archives.
Dr. Lowry insisted in an interview Monday that the alteration was not his doing.
“It’s against my code of ethics,” he said. “I got leaned on for two hours with a mixture of pressure and false promises. While they weren’t driving splinters under my fingernails, they said I wouldn’t hear from them again.”
But Paul Brachfeld, the inspector general of the National Archives and Records Administration, said Dr. Lowry had “confessed to having erased the ‘4’ and changing it to a ‘5’ ”and said he had “even defined the kind of pen he used.”
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