Amateur Historian Caught in Boring Lincoln Hoax

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Photo: National Archives

In 1998, a Lincoln historian named Thomas Lowry hatched a plan to become famous and sell some books by altering a document in the National Archives and claiming a new discovery about our sixteenth president. But apparently he didn't want to become that famous, because the hoax he created was only interesting enough to appeal to hard-core Lincoln buffs: Lowry changed the date on a pardon Lincoln granted to a mentally disturbed soldier facing the death penalty for desertion from April 14, 1864 to April 14, 1865 — the day Lincoln was assassinated. That's it. Personally, we would have forged a really gay letter to Joshua Speed.

Stroke of Pen Altered Date, and a Tale of Lincoln, Too [NYT]