The Little Tyrant in the White House


Forum Host
Oct 10, 2012
Mt. Jackson, Va
Posted today on Ford's Theater National Historic Site on Facebook:

While living in the White House, many of the staff called Tad Lincoln, “the Tyrant of the White House.” Tad gained this nickname because of the many pranks he played on them, but also for his other antics. He often dressed up in a military uniform and carried a small toy sword (seen here). With this sword, he patrolled the White House and sometimes acted as a guard. In 1864, he stood guard at the foot of the stairs leading to his father’s office. There, he charged a toll to everyone who wanted to see his father. He told each one, “Five Cents for the benefit to the Sanitary Fund.” Instead of keeping the money for himself, he gave it to the Sanitary Commission, a group that cared for sick and wounded soldiers. This toll remained for several days until Abraham Lincoln learned of it and put an end to it, encouraging his son to find other ways to raise money. Tad took his father’s advice and set up a food stand in the White House lobby, selling beef jerky and fruit to those waiting to see his father.