Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography by Jean Harvey Baker, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®She was also a coquettish, extravagant and superstitious Southern belle who, thanks to her scandalous and 'unwomanly' behaviour, was publicly reviled and consigned to the madhouse by her own son. Mary Todd Lincoln's life was truly the stuff of novels and, in this ambitious debut, Janis Cooke Newman takes the logical step of writing it as such. The book takes the form of a fictional memoir which the widowed Mrs Lincoln pens from Bellevue Place Sanatorium, where she was committed after an insanity trial in Amid the caterwauling of her fellow inmates, she relates her 'true story', alternating between her present efforts to escape bedlam and the key events in her past: her mother's early death, a turbulent courtship with the 'homely' Abraham, his political success at her instigation, the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the deaths of three beloved sons and, of course, her husband's assassination as he sat beside her in the theatre. It is a long, sombre tale, but this epic drama exerts an irresistible pull, chiefly because it boasts such a riveting and well-drawn heroine.
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Mary Todd Lincoln paced the parlor alone. Mary never saw her husband again. After his assassination, she struggled to survive—and became a laughingstock despite her precarious mental health. Mary Todd Lincoln had always had a hard time meeting the severe expectations for women of her era. Women, even famous wives, were expected to focus on the home and not seek attention or appear in public, but Mary loved the spotlight and had a knack for publicity. Though the era was known for its lavish displays of mourning, social custom also dictated that upper class women suppress their emotions in public.
After her husband's assassination, Mary fell into a deep depression and her surviving son, Robert Todd Lincoln, had her temporarily committed. One of the most unpopular first ladies in American history, Mary Todd Lincoln was born into a prominent family in Lexington, Kentucky—a town her family had helped found—on December 13,
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Mary Todd Lincoln Facts
During the Civil War, most of her family sided with the Confederacy, leading some Northerners to accuse her of treason; Southerners condemned her for not being loyal to the South. One of the seven, died in infancy; the others all survived to adulthood., This definitive biography of Mary Todd Lincoln beautifully conveys her tumultuous life and times.
She dropped the name Ann after her younger sister, Ann Todd Clark , was born, and did not use the name Todd after marrying. Mary was a member of a large, wealthy Kentucky family, and was well educated. After finishing school during her teens, she moved to Springfield, Illinois , where she lived with her married sister Elizabeth Edwards. She and Lincoln had four sons together, only one of whom outlived her. She supported her husband throughout his presidency. Mary was briefly involuntarily institutionalized for psychiatric disease ten years after her husband's murder, but later retired to the home of her sister. She also complained of many physical symptoms during her adult life.