By Jean H. Baker
A privileged daughter of the proud clan that founded Lexington, Kentucky, Mary Todd (1818-1882) was raised in a world of frontier violence. Subjected to her first abandonment at age six when her mother died, Mary later fled a hostile stepmother for Springfield, where she met and, after a stormy romance, married the raw Illinois attorney, Abraham Lincoln. For twenty-five years the Lincolns forged opposing temperaments into a tolerant, loving marriage. Mary was at her husband's side on the night of his assassination, and never recovered from that greatest in a series of grievous abandonments. The desperate measures she took to win the acknowledgment she sought all her life led finally to the shock of a public insanity hearing instigated by her eldest son. In this elegant biography, Jean Baker uses previously untapped letters and documents to portray a woman whose will carried her across the recognized boundaries of female behavior.