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Abraham Lincoln and The Marfan Syndrome

Harold Schwartz, MD
JAMA. 1966;195(6):498-499. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100060138047.
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To the Editor:—  This week—one short year ago—The Journal brought forth from a physician a letter conceived in admiration but dedicated to the proposition that Abraham Lincoln did not have the Marfan syndrome (191:505, 1965). Now we are engaged in a scientific debate, testing whether that notion —or any notion affirmatively dedicated—can long endure (192:64, 1965).In rebuttal, somewhat overdue, I offer new evidence for the diagnosis, noted in a recent volume by Kunhardt on the death of the 16th president.1 A remarkable anatomical sketch made shortly after the assassination shows the victim's bare feet as they protruded from the end of the bed upon which he lay dying. On another page, the legend to a photograph of the size-14 shoes of the president reads, "Lincoln's feet were long and narrow with extraordinarily exaggerated big toes..." These remarks describe precisely the details in the sketch. The


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