‘Lincoln’ spurs interest in doctor

Ian Dungavell, CEO of Highgate Cemetery, looks at the grave of Dr Isachar Zacharie, which stands lopsided among other decaying tombs in Highgate Cemetery in north London. Zacharie, best known as Abraham Lincoln’s foot doctor, died in London in 1900.

He may a footnote to history, but Dr. Isachar Zacharie is having a posthumous mini-moment, thanks to the Hollywood-sparked surge of interest in the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

Zacharie was buried in London’s famed Highgate Cemetery in 1900, but he only recently was added to the cemetery guide, joining such notables as communist philosopher Karl Marx, novelist George Eliot and punk pioneer Malcolm McLaren as a likely draw for visitors.

Zacharie’s claim to fame? He was Lincoln’s foot doctor.

“Dr. Zacharie has operated on my feet with great success, and considerable addition to my comfort,” the 16th U.S. president wrote in 1862, when the nation was gripped by Civil War.

Zacharie’s connection to Lincoln has long been known to historians, but Ian Dungavell, the cemetery’s chief executive, said the cemetery’s management only learned of it recently.

He said details about Zacharie’s grave have been added to the new guide because of the current high interest in Lincoln, subject of the critically acclaimed film directed by Steven Spielberg.

“He was British, went to the U.S. as a young man, and came back after the Civil War,” Dungavell said of the doctor. “There was some sort of a dispute about payment.”