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New Exhibit: The Stormy Petrel & the Bull Moose


On Display Now: The Stormy Petrel & the Bull Moose

On October 14, 1912, a delusional saloonkeeper shot Theodore Roosevelt as he campaigned for an unprecedented third term as president. After delivering a 50-page speech with blood dripping from his wounded chest, Roosevelt was brought from Milwaukee to Chicago, where he was met by the renowned and controversial surgeon – and Northwestern professor – John Benjamin Murphy.

Our new exhibit, The Stormy Petrel & the Bull Moose: J.B. Murphy and the Attempted Assassination of Theodore Roosevelt, now on display in the Eisenberg Gallery (the hallway connecting the Ward Building and the Method Atrium), tells the story of the chance encounter between these larger-than-life figures in American history, exploring Murphy’s colorful career as well as the aftermath of Roosevelt’s shooting.

Murphy’s personal instruments are included amongst the artifacts on display. Most of these items were donated in 2021 by Chicago’s Mercy Hospital, where Murphy was surgeon-in-chief and where he gave his world-famous surgical demonstrations. This important gift supplements Galter’s existing Murphy collections, including personal papers and items donated by Murphy’s great-granddaughter, Barbara Miller, in 2010. Also on display is a Murphy button, the most famous of Murphy’s surgical innovations; this rare item was part of a 2013 gift from Julie Smith, MD.


“The Stormy Petrel & the Bull Moose: J. B. Murphy and the Attempted Assassination of Theodore Roosevelt” was curated by Katie Lattal, Head of Special Collections, and Emma Florio, Special Collections Library Assistant. Contact at:


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Updated: July 18, 2023