Mary Todd Lincoln's "Old Clothes Scandal" in 1867

Belle Montgomery

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44022
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The Pittsburgh Daily Commercial October 7, 1867
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JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
What a putrid attack on the widow of a President- a murdered President. We see these, snark and libel directed towards her. There's so much misinformation in these, you just do not know where to begin, you know? Bullying a woman who wore her husband's brains one night at Ford's was reprehensible. They did it anyway.

She was quite poor, nothing to do with spending habits. Congress was slow in providing a pension to the widow ( who was supporting the President's son, one of only two left out of four children ) of our murdered President, so she tried to sell her clothing. That was an act of desperation, not publicity seeking. In fact, no one sought the public eye less than widow Mary Todd Lincoln. Why would she, with this dreck aimed at her since Day 1. And Lincoln did not die wealthy, one of a dozen erroneous statements.

Stanton was a toolbag. Her dislike of him was very mutual although shows good taste. Remember Lincoln's death bed? The wife who just had her husband shot in the head while they spoke together, holding hands for Heaven's sake, was thrown out of the room. By Stanton, because she was upset- having been inches from her husband when he was shot and was now watching him die.

Someone said at the time Mary Todd Lincoln died that night, too.
 

GS

Retired User
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Defamation of character by the media is nothing new. What I would like to see in a thread: the impact of the antebellum media in its distribution of gossip, slander, speculations and general embellishments, dividing the nation, influencing and effecting political decisions which brought on the Civil War.
 

Belle Montgomery

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Location
44022
What a putrid attack on the widow of a President- a murdered President. We see these, snark and libel directed towards her. There's so much misinformation in these, you just do not know where to begin, you know? Bullying a woman who wore her husband's brains one night at Ford's was reprehensible. They did it anyway.

She was quite poor, nothing to do with spending habits. Congress was slow in providing a pension to the widow ( who was supporting the President's son, one of only two left out of four children ) of our murdered President, so she tried to sell her clothing. That was an act of desperation, not publicity seeking. In fact, no one sought the public eye less than widow Mary Todd Lincoln. Why would she, with this dreck aimed at her since Day 1. And Lincoln did not die wealthy, one of a dozen erroneous statements.

Stanton was a toolbag. Her dislike of him was very mutual although shows good taste. Remember Lincoln's death bed? The wife who just had her husband shot in the head while they spoke together, holding hands for Heaven's sake, was thrown out of the room. By Stanton, because she was upset- having been inches from her husband when he was shot and was now watching him die.

Someone said at the time Mary Todd Lincoln died that night, too.
I agree. I could just imagine what the media would do to her today given they're on with the technology now 24 hours a day!
 

Belle Montgomery

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Location
44022
Defamation of character by the media is nothing new. What I would like to see in a thread: the impact of the antebellum media in its distribution of gossip, slander, speculations and general embellishments, dividing the nation, influencing and effecting political decisions which brought on the Civil War.
The media never cared for reporting the news accurately...embellishing stories sells more of the media thus more advertising dollars. Nothing has changed, people are just as vulnerable to believing lies, especially when it suits their narrative. Edited.
 

RochesterBill

Corporal
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
No one would argue that Mary was not a somewhat difficult woman to deal with. Then again, if she had been a bit more pleasant, Julia and Ulyss would probably have gone ahead and attended the play that night. But Julia in particular simply couldn't stand her, a position which put her solidly in the majority.

None of which justifies the treatment she received in the press. (A simpler time when they didn't have "media"). As pointed out above, she was the widow of a beloved and martyred President to whom the country quite literally owes it's existence. Without having to resort to hyperbole, he was one of the greatest men in the history of Western civilization.

Out of simple respect for the man, if nothing else (common decency for example) Mary should have been treated with the kind of respect that her husband, who loved her unconditionally, would have wanted.

As for the press, nothing has changed, has it? Slander, lies and gossip sell, whether it's newspapers or clicks.
 

Anna Elizabeth Henry

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Feb 15, 2015
Location
New York, New York
Defamation of character by the media is nothing new. What I would like to see in a thread: the impact of the antebellum media in its distribution of gossip, slander, speculations and general embellishments, dividing the nation, influencing and effecting political decisions which brought on the Civil War.

The same media both North & South also shaped how generations of people in both regions felt about it's aftermath and subsequent reconstruction. The Glorious Cause in the South was like a religion to the war torn region. The media somehow turned their loss into this great nostalgic struggle for everything suffered and lost during the war.

I recently watched a PBS show, I believe it was American Masters about Margaret Mitchell. Seems she didn't learn till she was 10 years old that the South actually lost the war owing to how all the old veterans and survivors spoke of it. This also gives insight as to why she wrote Gone With the Wind with such a Lost Cause feel to it.
 

RochesterBill

Corporal
Joined
Oct 11, 2016
She was pilloried in newspapers both north and south. She made no effort at "spin" and was not recognized for the volunteer work she did in hospitals or for her generosity.

I would only add that the amount of money Jackie Kennedy spent redecorating the White House -in constant dollars - utterly dwarfs every dime that Mary Lincoln spent, but Jackie is revered and Mary is reviled.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
Defamation of character by the media is nothing new. What I would like to see in a thread: the impact of the antebellum media in its distribution of gossip, slander, speculations and general embellishments, dividing the nation, influencing and effecting political decisions which brought on the Civil War.


That's brilliant, Gladys. Never thought of that, how the hate spread, or one way. There sure are scurrilous articles, editorials and really, general rants. You read such inflammatory stuff across the board it's no wonder law suits over it sound common ( Twain would do it on purpose albeit not over North/South , loved stirring pots. )
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
She was pilloried in newspapers both north and south. She made no effort at "spin" and was not recognized for the volunteer work she did in hospitals or for her generosity.


She sure did- and asked not to be named. Some visits were covered by the press, when the President went with her but solid reporters respected her wishes. Some obviously liked her quite a bit. It took a lot not to be mentioned- like the goodwill of the press at the time. Easy enough to source that she was there- accounts by wounded get into it.

The same media both North & South also shaped how generations of people in both regions felt about it's aftermath and subsequent reconstruction. The Glorious Cause in the South was like a religion to the war torn region. The media somehow turned their loss into this great nostalgic struggle for everything suffered and lost during the war.

I recently watched a PBS show, I believe it was American Masters about Margaret Mitchell. Seems she didn't learn till she was 10 years old that the South actually lost the war owing to how all the old veterans and survivors spoke of it. This also gives insight as to why she wrote Gone With the Wind with such a Lost Cause feel to it.


Well it sure helped keep us separated and continued attitudes towards an entire race of citizens. Pat Young's clippings are revealing, if upsetting to read.

It's all so complicated because the South was so ravaged, easy enough to keep folks mad. Unhelpful leaders like Brownlow sure added to the mess as did say, the fight for pensions. Heck, no one pointed out Union men had an awful time, too ( don't get me started on nurses ). Sounds like some was deliberate, you know? It worked, mostly. We're still mad at each other. Somewhere, we lost a wonderful chance to heal this country.
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
I agree. I could just imagine what the media would do to her today given they're on with the technology now 24 hours a day!


Oh, today she'd have alien babies from Venus and be accused of cooking crack in the White House stables, be sure. Technology makes everyone a gift of misinformation, used to be just the gossip rags. You know the ones " Elvis and John Lennon alive and living in New Zealand together ". Now anyone can create an outrageous format. Well, at least we know there's a massive well of untapped creativity out there.


No one would argue that Mary was not a somewhat difficult woman to deal with. Then again, if she had been a bit more pleasant, Julia and Ulyss would probably have gone ahead and attended the play that night. But Julia in particular simply couldn't stand her, a position which put her solidly in the majority.

None of which justifies the treatment she received in the press. (A simpler time when they didn't have "media"). As pointed out above, she was the widow of a beloved and martyred President to whom the country quite literally owes it's existence. Without having to resort to hyperbole, he was one of the greatest men in the history of Western civilization.

Out of simple respect for the man, if nothing else (common decency for example) Mary should have been treated with the kind of respect that her husband, who loved her unconditionally, would have wanted.

As for the press, nothing has changed, has it? Slander, lies and gossip sell, whether it's newspapers or clicks.


This. Thank you! The most awful thing about that night at Ford's is that she didn't want to go- had had a migraine and felt terrible. Because Grant cancelled, Lincoln felt it unfair neither would make an appearance ( it had been announced, have the clippings ) so they went- Mary pulling it together despite being unwell.
 

Belle Montgomery

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Location
44022
Oh, today she'd have alien babies from Venus and be accused of cooking crack in the White House stables, be sure. Technology makes everyone a gift of misinformation, used to be just the gossip rags. You know the ones " Elvis and John Lennon alive and living in New Zealand together ". Now anyone can create an outrageous format. Well, at least we know there's a massive well of untapped creativity out there.





This. Thank you! The most awful thing about that night at Ford's is that she didn't want to go- had had a migraine and felt terrible. Because Grant cancelled, Lincoln felt it unfair neither would make an appearance ( it had been announced, have the clippings ) so they went- Mary pulling it together despite being unwell.
So... if the media wanted to spin it, especially today, they could actually blame Dent's disdain for Mary is the real reason Lincoln was there to be assassinated! How undiplomatic of her for a General's wife! :whistling:
 

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Location
Central Pennsylvania
So... if the media wanted to spin it, especially today, they could actually blame Dent's disdain for Mary is the real reason Lincoln was there to be assassinated! How undiplomatic of her for a General's wife! :whistling:


You know, this prevailing story about the Grants not attending because Julia disliked Mary seems apocryphal- it would be out of character for Julia to say " I didn't go because that woman is awful ", for one thing. You just didn't do that and Julia was both very private and beautifully behaved. These stories pitting women against each other develop legs, IMO. It's also a much more interesting story than " We want to go home ".

Washington was sheer mayhem post surrender. Huge? The Grand Illumination had just occurred- almost every house and business was lavishly decorated and lit up in celebration. Grants portrait ( as well as Sherman's, Lincolns and probably others ) was hung above front doors- he saw it in triplicate every time he stepped outside. People flocked to Washington and those already there were in a state of 24/7 euphoria. Grant was besieged by reporters, well wishers and private citizens all wanting a ' piece ' of him. He'd had enough, getting out of there and going home, finally seems the motivation for cancelling yet another public appearance.
 

Belle Montgomery

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Location
44022
You know, this prevailing story about the Grants not attending because Julia disliked Mary seems apocryphal- it would be out of character for Julia to say " I didn't go because that woman is awful ", for one thing. You just didn't do that and Julia was both very private and beautifully behaved. These stories pitting women against each other develop legs, IMO. It's also a much more interesting story than " We want to go home ".

Washington was sheer mayhem post surrender. Huge? The Grand Illumination had just occurred- almost every house and business was lavishly decorated and lit up in celebration. Grants portrait ( as well as Sherman's, Lincolns and probably others ) was hung above front doors- he saw it in triplicate every time he stepped outside. People flocked to Washington and those already there were in a state of 24/7 euphoria. Grant was besieged by reporters, well wishers and private citizens all wanting a ' piece ' of him. He'd had enough, getting out of there and going home, finally seems the motivation for cancelling yet another public appearance.
I know...but that wouldn't sell as many papers!:spin:
 
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