The death of Mary Lincoln - July 16, 1882

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On this day, July 16,1882 - Mary Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln, dies of natural causes. After her husband’s assassination, Mary Lincoln continued to suffer tragedies. She first lost her youngest son Tad to pneumonia in 1871. His death only deepened her grief, and increased her obsession with spiritualism as a way of contacting the deceased. While living in Chicago, her son Robert saw her behavior as erratic and especially grew concerned as he felt she was wasting her money. In 1875, Robert had his mother institutionalized against her will under court order at Bellevue Place in Batavia, Illinois. Mary hired lawyers who successfully convinced a judge to release her from the sanitarium. Over the next several years, Mary then traveled throughout Europe and lived in Pau, France. During her last few years, she lived with her sister, Elizabeth, in Springfield, Illinois, dying from a stroke in 1882. Since her death, Mary has remained a polarizing figure with some historians demonizing her and her marriage with Abraham Lincoln.

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