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Source: Philadelphia Medical Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: letter to the editor
Document title: “The Opinion of an Expert Who Examined Czolgosz”
Author(s): Putnam, James W.
Date of publication: 19 October 1901
Volume number: 8
Issue number: 16
Pagination: 650-51

Putnam, James W. “The Opinion of an Expert Who Examined Czolgosz.” Philadelphia Medical Journal 19 Oct. 1901 v8n16: pp. 650-51.
full text
Leon Czolgosz (trial); Leon Czolgosz.
Named persons
Floyd S. Crego; Leon Czolgosz; Joseph Fowler; Emma Goldman; Arthur W. Hurd; Carlos F. MacDonald [misspelled below]; James W. Putnam.
“By James W. Putnam, M. D., of Buffalo, N. Y.” (p. 650).

The document below is one of six letters to the editor appearing in this issue of the journal, all of which are grouped under the collective heading “A Symposium on the Czolgosz Case.”


The Opinion of an Expert Who Examined Czolgosz

To the Editor of the Philadelphia Medical Journal:
     The trial of Czolgosz is over and the jury has returned a verdict of guilty in the first degree. To those familiar with the crime and the assassin, no other verdict was expected. The trial was unusual in this respect that no possible defence was found. The prisoner was represented by able counsel chosen for the purpose by the Erie County Bar Association. They engaged, by the advice of the Bar Association, the services of Dr. C. F. McDonald, former President of the New York State Lunacy [650][651] Commission, and Dr. Arthur W. Hurd, President of the Buffalo State Hospital for the Insane. The people engaged the services of Dr. Joseph Fowler, Police Surgeon, Dr. Floyd S. Crego and Dr. James W. Putnam as experts. These five physicians examined Czolgosz at different times, separately and together, and he talked with them, giving his early history and life.
     Briefly stated, Czolgosz is a young man 28 years old. Former history of good health, steady habits, not given to drink and a moderate smoker. He has been educated in the Public Schools, being in attendance at a school until he was 15 years old. He has worked in a wire works, been a blacksmith’s helper and worked on a farm; altogether his life has been an industrious one. He states that his work was fully up to the average of his fellow workmen, that he never lost a day from ill health, and that his average earning capacity was from $1.50 to $1.75 per day. He had saved about $400 in the last six years. He voted when he was 21 years old. At that time, having read anarchistic papers and attended meetings of anarchists, he became converted to their principles. He left the Roman Catholic Church in which he had been brought up and gave his reason for doing so, “I did not believe any longer in the things the priests told me.” He said he did not believe in government, nor in law, nor in lawyers, nor in God, nor in marriage. He believed that every man should take care of himself and have no rulers. He said this was not his idea but was the idea he heard in the anarchist meetings. He said he killed the President because it was his duty. He said, “I am glad I done it.” When he was offered counsel he refused it, stating he knew he was guilty, that he had no chance, and that he did not believe in law or lawyers. When arraigned in court he entered the plea of guilty, which, of course, was not allowed. During the trial he sat quietly and listened to the testimony. The case of the people was presented, being simply the testimony of eye-witnesses of the crime, the medical testimony of the surgeons who attended the President and the testimony of the post-mortem examiner. The question of the prisoner’s mental condition was not touched upon by any witness. The witnesses summoned to examine the prisoner for the defence did not appear upon the witness stand, therefore the experts summoned by the people did not present any testimony. The prisoner at no time even shammed insanity. He did not, it is true, discuss the crime with his attorneys, but he did discuss it with others. His digestion and his sleep were normal. He was true to his fellow anarchists in that he refused to incriminate any of them, referring only to Emma Goldman and her lectures.
     In conversation and appearance he is more intelligent than the average Polish laborer. Physically he presents the following conditions: Pulse 82; temperature 98½º; tongue, clean; skin, clear; patellar reflexes, normal; pupillary reflexes, normal; heart, normal.



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