Tuesday, January 25, 2011

He Used A Pelikan Pen

The New York Times just published an article about a Virginia psychiatrist who altered the date of a pardon Abraham Lincoln granted to a Union soldier for desertion. The change make it seem that this was one of the last acts of the President's life.

What caught my eye was the attention to detail in the alleged confession:

“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.

So if you're going to alter historical records, keep in mind that the official pen seems to be a Pelikan. Had to be a fountain pen, but which one? I'm thinking something weighty, like the Souveran M800 in Blue o' Blue.

I'm sure the company is honored.


  1. Do you think the New York Times might be pulling an early April Fool joke? I expect that someone somewhere might have made a mistake in thinking that a Pelikan fountain pen was used in 1865. The first Pelikan fountain pen was produced in 1929. Prior to that the company basically made ink.

  2. Lol, the guy who altered the document used a Pelikan pen to do the deed, not Lincoln. :) Though I'm sure he would have enjoyed these pens.

  3. Thanks for shaking the dust out of my head, Diane. I must have been reading the Times article with my grandmother's old eyeglasses.

  4. You gotta wonder about the state of scholarship if a date change on a document affecting one non-historical person'll turn you into a player. Or, maybe the state of interrogation. Doesn't the psych deny the allegations, claiming he was bullied into confessing? You're right, Diane, what would a forger's pen of choice be? Jack/Y-town

  5. The picture above shows the year he changes, and you can just see how new and fresh the 5 is next to the other three numbers.

    What pen makers were around then that are still around today?

    As for pen of choice to forge something, I'd probably try the Pilot Falcon II, good semi-flex nib. :)

  6. Ha, the attention to detail in the confession is pretty funny! Otherwise, though, how sad. As a historian, it makes my blood boil. It also kinda makes my Pelikan feel dirty (not that I ever soiled MY Pelikan with such a deed!).