Smithsonian Magazine: Why Historians Should Reevaluate Mary Todd Lincoln's Oft-Misunderstood Grief

A new exhibition at President Lincoln’s Cottage connects the first lady’s experiences to those of modern bereaved parents

By Nora McGreevy

History has not been kind to Mary Lincoln. The same accounts that valorize her husband,

President Abraham Lincoln, tend to portray his wife as an erratic, scandalous overspender whose prolonged mourning drove her to so-called “madness.”

As Kat Eschner reported for Smithsonian magazine in 2016, some researchers have attempted to retroactively diagnose Lincoln with everything from bipolar disorder to chronic fatigue. But these descriptors tend to obscure the depth of Lincoln’s trauma: namely, the deaths of three of her four children and the assassination of her husband. (Known today as Mary Todd Lincoln, the first lady went by the name Mary Lincoln during her lifetime.)

Read the full article here 

Share this: