Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dr. Julius Augustus Skilton and Maximilian's Portrait and Saddle

A fascinating new website now listed on my Maximilian page's links: Maximilian I Emperor of Mexico. It's about the American surgeon Dr. Julius Augustus Skilton and the upcoming auction of two items that have been handed down in his family: Maximilian's portrait and a Mexican saddle first given to Maximilian, then to Father Fischer (one of Maximilian's closest advisors) and then to Dr Skilton. You can see pictures and read all about the history of these items here. Dr Skilton was actually a Juarista. According to the website, after the U.S. Civil War, he "traveled on assignment for the New York Herald to Mexico. He is reported to have fled Mexico as he was sympathetic to the Juarez cause. In 1867 he returned to Mexico as Medical Officer and part of the escort of the Juarez family. He was also asked by the Mexican government [then the Republic under President Juarez] to exhume an examine the body of Maximilian before it was delivered to the Austrian Navy for its return to Austria." (For more about that horror show, see "La muerte del Emperador Maximiliano" por Dr. Szender Ede.) Later, in the 1870s, Dr. Skilton served as U.S. Consul General in Mexico. For anyone who wants to dig deeper, Dr. Skilton's papers are in the Rare and Manuscript Collections at the Carl A. Kroch Library at Cornell University and also the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

More anon.