Mary Todd Lincoln

Died aged 63

Mary Ann Todd Lincoln (December 13, 1818 – July 16, 1882) served as First Lady of the United States from 1861 until the assassination of her husband, President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Mary Lincoln was a member of a large and wealthy, slave-owning Kentucky family. She was well educated. Born Mary Ann Todd, she dropped the name Ann after her younger sister, Ann Todd (later Clark), was born. After finishing school during her teens, she moved to Springfield, Illinois, where she lived with her married sister Elizabeth Edwards. Before she married Abraham Lincoln, she was courted by his long-time political opponent Stephen A. Douglas. The Lincolns had four sons of whom only the eldest, Robert, survived both parents. Their family home and neighborhood in Springfield is preserved at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. Mary Lincoln staunchly supported her husband throughout his presidency and was active in keeping national morale high during the Civil War. She acted as the White House social coordinator, throwing lavish balls and redecorating the White House at great expense; her spending was the source of much consternation. She was seated next to Abraham when he was assassinated in the President's Box at Ford's Theatre on Tenth Street in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. The deaths of her husband and three of her sons weighed heavily on her. Mary Lincoln suffered from numerous physical and mental health issues during her life. She had frequent migraines, which were exacerbated by a head injury in 1863. She was depressed for much of her life; some historians think she may have had bipolar disorder. She was briefly institutionalized for psychiatric disease in 1875, but later retired to the home of her sister. She died of a stroke in 1882 at age 63. Periodic surveys conducted by the Siena College Research Institute since 1982 have consistently found Lincoln to be among the most poorly regarded first ladies in the assessments of historians. Historians see Lincoln as having been a meddling and disruptive presence in her husband's White House, in large part due to her likely mental illness.

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Family tree

Commemorated on 2 plaques

Kentucky Historical Marker #0011

Todd House. Home of Mary Todd Lincoln from 1832 to 1839. To this house in after years she brought Abraham Lincoln and their children.

578 W. Main St., Lexington, KY, United States where they lived (1832-1839)

Kentucky Historical Marker #0012

Mary Todd Lincoln. On this site Mary Todd, wife of Abraham Lincoln, was born Dec. 13, 1818, and here spent her childhood.

511 W. Short St., Lexington, KY, United States where they was born (1818)