Mary Todd Lincoln House

Historical Marker #2261 in Fayette County recognizes the Mary Todd Lincoln House, which is now a museum.

Mary Ann Todd was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on December 13, 1818. She was the granddaughter of Levi Todd, one of the founders of Lexington, and daughter of Robert S. Todd, a prosperous business leader and active Whig. Mary attended two schools in Lexington over a period of nine years, making her one of the best-educated women of her generation. In 1839, Mary Todd joined her older sisters in Springfield, Illinois, where she lived with her sister Elizabeth (Todd) Edwards.

There she met Abraham Lincoln whom she married in 1842. They had four children: Robert Todd, Edward, William, and Thomas (Tad); all but the eldest, Robert Todd, predeceased her. Although Mary Todd Lincoln lived the normal domestic life of typical nineteenth-century, middle-class women, she always had a strong interest in political issues and in her husband's career.

Mary Todd Lincoln's White House years were controversial because of her perceived extravagance, high temper, and supposed Confederate sympathies. In fact, she was a strong, loyal Unionist who devoted much time and energy to the war effort.

The years following her husband's assassination were darkened by the death of Thomas in 1871, financial struggles, and a bitter estrangement from Robert Todd Lincoln, who had her committed to an insane asylum in 1875. She was released after four months. Pronounced sane in 1876, she spent four years in France. She returned to the United States in 1880 because of ill- health and died at the home of her sister Elizabeth in Springfield, Illinois, in 1882.

Images

Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

Photograph of Mrs. Lincoln was taken in early 1862 at Mathew Brady's Washington, D.C., studio. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Lincoln Family Portrait

Lincoln Family Portrait

Portrait of the Lincoln family. Seated from right are: Mary; Robert; Thomas (Tad), and Abraham. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Earrings

Earrings

Earrings belonging to Mary Todd Lincoln. They appear to be made of gold-mounted black onyx. The pieces bear, alternately, hand-painted figures of a man and woman dressed what appears to be late medieval costume, with minute floral patterns above the pendant figures. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Logo

Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Logo

The Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail is a scenic route through central Kentucky featuring museums and historic sites with ties to the sixteenth president. The logo was created by the Kentucky Historical Society during the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial observance. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Mary Todd Lincoln House

Mary Todd Lincoln House

The front of the Mary Todd Lincoln House is shown here looking west on Main Street. Photograph courtesy of Whitney Todd. View File Details Page

Mary Todd Lincoln House

Mary Todd Lincoln House

Mary and Abraham Lincoln visited her girlhood home in 1847 on their way to Washington D.C. Abraham Lincoln served one term in the United States House of Representatives before returning to Illinois and resuming his career as an attorney. Photograph courtesy of Whitney Todd. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Warren Greer, “Mary Todd Lincoln House,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed July 26, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/129.
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