Brady image, LoC . Which Mary is which? That's not a trick question, either. History presents her in such wildly divergent ways there may as well have been two.
“Lady of Lincoln, They wreathed her head With thorns when living, With nettles though dead.” MarIon Mills Miller
Just pulled my dyed blond hair out. Discovered yet another ' Biography ' on Mary Todd Lincoln, written not long after her death. I should have guess it'd be yet another thinly disguised take-down. Dedication gushes about help received from Mrs. Robert Todd Lincoln. Mary and her daughter in law were not er, close buddies. Added to the list, each author claiming to have THE definitive take on Mary Todd, biggest bunch of convoluted nonsense, half-truths, manipulated factoids and bandwagon jumping with which we're burdened into 2020.
Portion of one outraged letter in a Washington, DC newspaper. Writer had followed her to hospitals, watched her philanthropy, was familiar with Mrs. President's consistent efforts including supporting Elizabeth Keckely's organization dedicated to supporting black war refugees. For every piece of snark and libel printed, you'll find 3 of these. If you look. For whatever reason, don't.
Lincoln ex-law partner William Herndon was irked to be excluded from his ex-partner's trip to Washington. He'd be the noisiest, most intrusive, least truthful ' expert ' on Mary Todd. Snarky kind of guy anyway, Mary once flattened him at a ball, saying he danced like a reptile. That was referring to Herndon's malicious tendencies, this was not a nice guy. His ' expose ' is still sourced, is one huge problem. That William Herndon made a living bullying and pretty well stalking a woman tells it's own tale. I'll always refer to William Herndon as the man Lincoln forgot to punch in the head.
Here's some classic, Herndon, plain old made up stuff. Out of thin air and spite. When Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd rekindled a relationship initially broken off through family pressure, their decision to haul off and be married- as in now- resulted in one of the nicest weddings I've heard of. Sister Elizabeth, 7 months pregnant and friends swung into action. A few friends and relatives witnessed their marriage at the Edward's home. Elizabeth said the wedding cake was placed on the buffet table still warm from the oven. Mary borrowed a dress, their minister officiated.
According to Herndon, Mary was garbed in silk, satin and lace, dripping diamonds, a cardinal officiated in some mythical cathedral ( they were not Catholic, no idea how the cardinal got into the story ). filled with hundreds of society's most gilded citizenry. THAT wedding was apparently the second planned event, according to this misogynist. He also plain, old made up a ' first ' wedding which Lincoln missed on purpose. That so MUCH ugly myth, easily proven to be idiotic made it into 2020 tells me we'd rather believe the worst. No idea why.
NYC invited the President's wife for an official visit- then proceeded to minutely criticize every step taken inside the city. It was a disaster. Furious rebuttals were written and not by she.
McClure's magazine produced a wonderful, well-researched article refuting the claims of Herndon and others ( including a sister ). They patiently interviewed old friends, social acquaintances, political connections and those who knew the Lincoln family. What happened was, most resented having one of this country's favorite kicking posts removed. You can't find their research anywhere into 2020. It's good stuff and not the only source, either.
She used her position as the Presiden't wife to do a huge amount of good. This is from a Kansas newspaper, story from a DC edition picked up and re-printed. This is only one- dozens like these and do not seem to have made headway against how much more fun it was hack the woman to death.
From one of quite a few era works depicting the Lincoln family, she's frequently pictured off to one side or across a table from husband and children. I'm never sure whether or not this one especially signified a sneer- her feet are resting on a pillow, dress obviously lavish. This stuff seeped into our fabric. Funny how ugly stuff always does, isn't it?
Again. We just don't like taking Mary Todd Lincoln from the list of favorite villains. I'm still hearing the one about why the Grants weren't at Ford's Theater that awful night. The one where Julia refused to attend out of dislike for the President's wife? Really, really nonsense and the thing is, the true story is historically important. The Grants were spooked, made uncomfortable by circumstances Julia plain, old mistrusted. That she followed her instincts means her husband lived to be President and there was one, less tragedy April 14th, 1865. Torquing history to fit agenda is never helpful. Add to that this one misses an awfully important aspect of the assassination that rocked America.
' Lincoln's last reception ', probably retitled from an original designation after his death. I'm not sure who the woman in greeb would be, other faces should look familiar. Mary had supporters inside her husband's administration. Well, maybe not Halleck. He didn't like anyone.
Here's a challenge. Instead of posting an extremely long list " Nonsense V Fact ", Mary Todd Lincoln, post whichever unattractive story influences your perspective about her. Promise I won't argue the point, ( unless it's yet another Ann Rutledge claim, they're beginning to make me a little crabby ). but love the chance to dig up the real story. With sources.