The Madness Of Mary Lincoln

Her son had her committed. She said it was so he could get his hands on her money. Now, 130 years after this bitter and controversial drama, a trove of letters—long believed destroyed—sheds new light on it.

In August 1875, after spending three months in a sanitarium in Batavia, Illinois, put there by her son against her will, Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the martyred President, wrote: “It does not appear that God is good, to have placed me here. I endeavor to read my Bible and offer up my petitions three times a day. But my afflicted heart fails me and my voice often falters in prayer.

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The Other Lincoln Family Home

It’s a far cry from a log cabin

 

“Squirming & crawling about from place to place can do no good,” Abraham Lincoln once lectured a ne’er-do-well stepbrother ambitious to leave the family’s log cabin for greener pastures. Yet 10 years later, as President-elect, Lincoln admitted: “I hold the value of life is to improve one’s condition.”

Hildene’s gardens stretch deep and rich from the rear of the mansion.
 
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America’s Most Famous Letter

Abraham Lincoln signed it. A lot of scholars say he didn’t write it. Now, newly discovered evidence helps solve an enduring mystery.

In a records box in a back office in a house in the hills of Vermont, six letters about Abraham Lincoln’s famous “letter to the Widow Bixby” lay unknown and undisturbed. For how long is uncertain, although this author’s fingerprints made last March were the only ones visible in the thick chalky dust of years.Read more »

“as Bad As She Could Be”

Who was the Widow Bixby?

Of all the hundreds of personal letters Abraham Lincoln sent during his lifetime, none of the recipients remains more deeply shrouded in mystery than Lydia Bixby of Boston. Read more »