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William Eleroy Curtis. The Words of Abraham Lincoln. William Safire. Lincoln on Lincoln. Paul M. Nathaniel Wright Stephenson. A Friend of Mr. Stephen Harrigan. The Women In Lincoln's Life. Donald Winkler. John Hay. The Heartbreak of Aaron Burr. Collected Articles of Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass.

William H. Mark Twain's Letters — Volume 6 Mark Twain. Father Lincoln. Alan Manning. The Booker T. Washington Reader. Life Of Abraham Lincoln. John Hugh Bowers.

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White Heat. Brenda Wineapple. Eighty Years and More. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. War of Two. John Sedgwick. Honor's Voice. Douglas L. Historic Papers on the Causes of the Civil War.

Eugenia Dunlap Potts. Visits With Lincoln. Barbara A. Du Bois: Essays. Mary Lincoln: Biography of a Marriage. Ruth Painter Randall. Some Memories of a Long Life, Malvina Shanklin Harlan. Loves of Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Wife versus Widow: Clashing Perspectives on Mary Lincoln's Legacy

Philip McFarland. History of the American Abolitionism. Felix Gregory De Fontaine. The Narrative of William W. Brown, a Fugitive Slave. William Wells Brown. Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet. Bill Kauffman. Lincoln's Sense of Humor. Richard Carwardine.

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Lois Beachy Underhill. Frederick Douglass on Slavery and the Civil War. The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln. Alex Ayres. John F. Abraham Lincoln: The Freedom President. Susan Sloate. Early Life of Abraham Lincoln In the twenty-first century, C. Tripp compares [her] to psychopaths like Hitler. Tripp goes on to proclaim that the marriage of Abraham and Mary [ranks] as "one of the worst marital misfortunes in recorded history" and further suggests his wife was "[Lincoln's] cross to bear. Both his work and his legacy polarize discussions of Lincoln's private life.

Mary Lincoln as her husband's "cross to bear" is a popular refrain echoing down through the generations of Lincoln scholars, as excerpts from recent books reflect. Of Mrs. Lincoln during her White House years, scholars have written: "the grief-stricken Although Mary Todd Lincoln has generally been blamed for the problems in the marriage it should be remembered that the pressures of the presidency, in addition to Lincoln's often abstracted and withdrawn nature, contributed to the couple's marital difficulties Nonetheless, his neglect and the demands and tensions created by the war do not seem to justify Mary's irrational and hurtful outbursts, her personal extravagance and, on occasion, her unseemly selfish behavior Whatever her youthful virtues had been, by the time she became First Lady she was vain, jealous, profligate and given to heroic tantrums By , when Mary Lincoln was not tormenting her husband, she was neglecting him.

The last leg of her geographical journey to the White House foreshadowed for Mary Lincoln the bittersweet to come. Although feted along the way east from Springfield, the family was frightened by disruptions and dire fears for Lincoln's safety. The president-elect was persuaded to travel alone and in disguise during the last few miles to his destination. Mary Lincoln had been greeted by dignitaries and lavishly entertained at several stops along the way, but she not only sustained "the fatigue and continual pressure of attention" [30] during this train trip, but also the trauma of death threats to her husband.

Once they were safely ensconced in Willard's Hotel, Lincoln was preoccupied with the business of organizing a government in the face of the secession crisis. Mary Lincoln began her new career in the capital hosting diplomats and politicians, and visiting with family and friends. Harriet Lane, President James Buchanan's niece and White House hostess, arranged a meal for the Lincolns following the inauguration ceremony.

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When Buchanan departed that day, no domestic staff remained, even to take care of the dishes from the farewell meal. Finding a dressmaker resolved one major problem for the rattled first lady. She secured a famed couture seamstress, Elizabeth Keckly, in hopes that a modiste would help her build on her smashing success during her Washington social debut, and Keckly later would become a dresser and confidante for her. The Inaugural Ball was held in a large tent, dubbed the White Muslin Palace of Aladdin, where five thousand were on hand to rub shoulders with the First Couple and their entourage.

A Lincoln secretary complained that the White House was overcrowded with Todds and Edwardses Mary's visiting relatives. Mary Lincoln entered the tent in blue silk, bedecked with pearls, gold, and diamonds. Though Lincoln left at midnight, his wife and her party stayed on—dancing polkas and schottisches into the night.

Elizabeth Ellet, an influential social arbiter, commented that Mary's "exquisite toilet, and admirable ease and grace, won compliments from thousands. Lincoln surprised Washington snobs to become the belle of the ball. Gifts to presidents were common and lavish during the nineteenth century, and without legal restrictions and with few moral reservations. Thus a New York newspaper announced on February 25, , without any hint of impropriety: "A few gentlemen of this city have presented to Mr.

Lincoln an elegant carriage, made to order by Messrs. It is a full-dress coach, with maroon hammer-cloth front and handsome carved stands behind. The lining is of crimson brocatel. It is provided with steps which open with the door, and are concealed when it is closed.

It was forwarded to Washington on Saturday. Yet Mary was snubbed by Washington women. Invited to a White House reception during the last week of March, British journalist William Howard Russell found: "It was rather late before I could get to the White House and there were only two or three ladies in the drawing room when I arrived.

I was informed afterwards that the attendance was very scanty. The Washington ladies have not yet made up their minds that Mrs. Lincoln is the fashion. They miss their Southern friends, and constantly draw comparisons between them and the vulgar Yankee women and men who are now in power.


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Following the attack on Fort Sumter and Lincoln's call to arms, the first lady was drawn into an even more dangerous whirlwind. Lincoln was put at severe disadvantage when her new home became the nerve center for a divided nation.

She shared her house with soldiers, as local recruits were marched into the East Room where "under the gorgeous gas chandeliers, they disposed themselves in picturesque bivouac on the brilliant patterned velvet carpet. The military advised Lincoln to evacuate his family, but Mary Lincoln stubbornly refused. This resolve appeared a good one for the first lady's public relations, but not all of her decisions had such happy outcomes. The outbreak of war was a particularly turbulent event for Mrs.

Lincoln, and many times she set herself on an unfortunate course. Mary Lincoln did not read incoming mail until it had been filtered through a censor. That protected her from exposure to the vicious hate mail flowing into the White House. And, after Lincoln assembled his massive army, with her mail being read in advance, no one could accuse Mary of carrying on clandestine correspondence with Confederate relatives—including half-brothers serving in the Confederate army and half-sisters married to Confederate loyalists.

Her decision to concentrate on domesticity after having been cut off from issues of patronage and politics within the wartime White House did not appear to be the glaring error it became in hindsight.

Applewood Books: Mary Lincoln: Wife and Widow

Mary Lincoln was not mistaken in wanting to improve the shabby, run-down residence of the president. Yes, the furnishings in the Red Room, which the Lincolns claimed for private callers, had furniture leftover from the Madison era. There were only ten matching place settings in the White House china collection. But, no, it was not a good time to restock and renovate, and perhaps she should have cut back on her elaborate plans to redecorate.

For all we know, maybe she did, Nevertheless, there were significant cost overruns to the budget she was given, and creditors came knocking—and nasty rumors about her extravagance rumbled all over town. Mary resorted to the White House shuffle, passing the buck and hiding the invoice, common during wartime. She had to stall and deceive, whatever it took, to try to prevent her husband from discovering her inability to pay her household bills. What she resorted to in order to either remedy or cover up her mistakes may have been defined as criminal.

Yet sensibilities about such matters differed in the nineteenth century. For example, the salaries for Lincoln's secretaries were sent for payment to another department, a simple and practical solution to budgetary shortfall. The first lady may indeed have committed errors in judgment at best, and crimes at worst—with lots of shame and sin in between. But unlike mistakes made by Lincoln's generals, those faults did not cost lives. The indictments many historians have leveled against her seem decidedly overkill. But many of the charges are leveled by employing the distorted lens of hindsight.

For example, when a scholar laments Mary's shopping spree "in the months leading up to Lincoln's assassination," he and in the most egregious cases, it has been a he is being unfair to his subject—as the language betrays. Mary had no inkling that Abraham would soon die by an assassin's bullet when she indulged her passion for finery.

Still, her serial and multiple glove purchases were nothing short of mania. There are suggestions that, early in her White House career, Mary Lincoln might have had parsimonious tendencies. Some of the earliest press reports of the new first lady described her as a woman "of the West" and portrayed Mrs. Lincoln as incapable of measuring up to society among the eastern aristocracy.

Since she had been born into one of the first families of Lexington, Kentucky, and had received an extensive education with over a decade more formal schooling than her husband—and more than many elected official of the day , Mrs. Lincoln was naturally offended by such parochialism. She was fluent in French and attuned to European politics and philosophy, so these kinds of reservations were likely exasperating to someone with her sense of privilege and entitlement. Perhaps because she was so particular about her appearance, Mary Todd became an accomplished seamstress, the only one among her nine sisters to learn fine sewing.

One gown, I remember, was a lovely lavender brocade which she had made herself. It is worthy the possession of a duchess, and indeed the very companions of this superb sewing machine have actually been finished and sent to the English Duchess of Sutherland, and the Russian Duchess of Constantine. Lincoln took with her when she left the White House. Being under scrutiny as a fashion symbol, the first lady's popularity was as precarious as a roller-coaster ride—sometimes up and often down, with change in the blink of an eye.

Her fastidious attention to matters of dress at first impressed and recommended her to the press. But soon, like so many first ladies, the bloom faded quickly under the spotlight, and her appearance attracted unwanted attention. It must be remembered that Mary Lincoln began her Washington career trying to counter her image as a country bumpkin.

For the first time in her adult life, she was given an extensive line of credit by emporiums from Boston to Philadelphia to Washington itself. Merchants were at her beck and call, currying favor. She became increasingly isolated within her new community, even though many of her troubles, and especially social feuds, she may have brought on herself. Increasingly on the outside looking in—even within her own household—she became more and more adrift, but still placed the highest value on her husband's good opinion. He once confided at a White House reception where Mary's penchant for floral headdress and plunging necklines was on display, that "my wife is as handsome as when she was a girl, and I, a poor nobody then, fell in love with her; and what is more, have never fallen out.

That loss was followed by announcements of the demise of a parade of Todd Confederate relatives—including the death of Ben Helm, which caused Lincoln to break down with grief. Through these books, scholars, interpreters, students, and non-academics alike can see the thoughts and beliefs of Americans who came before us.

Biography of the Signers V8: Vol. The Book of Roses. Renowned American historian and leading horticulturalist Francis Parkman , briefly a Professor of Horticulture at Renowned American historian and leading horticulturalist Francis Parkman , briefly a Professor of Horticulture at Harvard University and President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, wrote The Book of Roses specifically for American rose enthusiasts. The book contains information on the Evans's Pedestrious Tour. The reflections of a nineteenth-century, New Hampshire lawyer who left his home to walk to The reflections of a nineteenth-century, New Hampshire lawyer who left his home to walk to Michigan in the dead of winter may seem nothing more than a bizarre chapter in a catalog of crazy stunts.

Instead, Estwick Evans's Pedestrious Tour House and Home. In a warm, engaging tone, Mary Carter's House and Home provides hints on all In a warm, engaging tone, Mary Carter's House and Home provides hints on all aspects of household management including choosing a home and moving into it, engaging and discharging servents, children's place and rights within a home, and other The Jews and the Mosaic Law.