Lincoln Bicentennial: Mary Todd Lincoln

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“Mary was quick, gay and in the social world the more brilliant. She loved show and power, and was one of the most ambitious women I ever knew. She used to contend, when a girl, to her friends in Kentucky, that she was destined to marry a President. I have heard her say that myself, and after mingling in society in Springfield, she repeated the seemingly absurd and idle boast.”

The 16th first lady of the United States was no ordinary woman, as you would expect.

She seems to have possessed a fiery nature, one which sometimes got the better of her, ever since childhood. While you stay at our near Springfield, IL lodging, we hope you will have a chance to learn more about the Lincoln family.

It seems to be just this personality, and the quick wit that accompanied it, that attracted Abe Lincoln to Mary.

They met in Springfield, IL where Mary was living with the sister that gave the above quote. It was at a ball that they met for the first time, and the dark-haired and lovely Mary caught Lincoln’s eye.

Mary Todd Lincoln at the time of her marriage to Abe Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln at the time of her marriage to Abe Lincoln

He is quoted as saying to her: “Miss Todd, I should like to dance with you in the worst way.”

Abe was Mary’s suitor for half a year before they became engaged in 1840, However, Abe broke off the engagement in January of 1841. It seems he felt very unsure about the prospect of marriage. Through correspondence with friends, Lincoln historians have gathered that he felt it was wise in judgment to marry, but wondered how he would feel as a married man.

I suppose feeling won out eventually, because in November of 1842, Mary and Abe were married. It was, if you will, a long-delayed spur-the-moment decision. They decided that day, on November 4, that they would be married that night.

Although it seems their marriage was a stormy one, they had a powerful partnership, and Mary fell into a great depression and mourning after her husband’s assassination.

We hope this little history about Mary Todd Lincoln has sparked your interest. There will be many more resources for information on the Lincoln family at Lincoln Bicentennial events.

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