Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln, 1818–82, wife of Abraham Lincoln, b. Lexington, Ky. Of a good Kentucky family, she was living with her sister, daughter-in-law of Gov. Ninian Edwards of Illinois, in Springfield, Ill., when she met and married (1842) Lincoln. Although they were very different in temperament and upbringing, their marriage was an affectionate one. The harsh portrayal of Mary Lincoln by William H. Herndon is certainly exaggerated. Of the four sons she bore (Robert Todd, Edward Baker, William Wallace, and Thomas or "Tad" ), only Robert Todd lived to manhood. The death of Willie in 1862 was a great sorrow to both Abraham and Mary Lincoln, and Tad's death in 1871 seems to have unsettled her mind (already affected by seeing her husband murdered at her side). She was adjudged insane (1875), but the decision was reversed a year later.

See her letters, ed. by J. G. Turner and L. L. Turner (1972); biographies by R. P. Randall (1953), C. Sandburg (new ed. 1972), I. Ross (1973), and C. Clinton (2009).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Mary Todd Lincoln: Selected full-text books and articles

The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln By Mark E. Neely Jr.; R. Gerald McMurtry Southern Illinois University Press, 1993
The Trials of Mrs. Lincoln By Samuel A. Schreiner Jr University of Nebraska Press, 2005
Mary Lincoln: Biography of a Marriage By Ruth Painter Randall Little, Brown and Company, 1953
Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House By Elizabeth Keckley University of North Carolina Press, 2011
Librarian's tip: This book is by a dressmaker to and friend of Mary Todd Lincoln, and includes many details about Mary Todd Lincoln.
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Julia Butler Newberry and Mary Todd Lincoln: Two "Merry" Widows By Schroeter, Joan G Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol. 95, No. 3, Autumn 2002
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