Three years later, Hawkins sits on a picnic bench near the cottage where Lincoln and his wife spent more than a quarter of his presidency, pressing with her thumb a pendant around her neck that says “Mama.”
“After my son died, I got really afraid that people would maybe judge me or think about me in the way that history has remembered Mary Lincoln,” she said. Which is to say, she was afraid they would think she was “crazy.” In her lifetime, the former first lady lost her husband to an assassin’s bullet and three of her four children to disease. Her lengthy, public mourning defied conventions of the day and led to criticism and questions about her sanity.
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