Mary Lincoln (born Mary Ann Todd) was the 16th and the most unpopular First Lady of the US. Since she was a daughter of a wealthy slave owners, she never had to think of possibilities to earn money for a living. Even though she always got whatever it was that she wanted, her life could hardly be called happy.
The loss of her mother at an early age was the first but not the last loss she had to recover from throughout her life. While being married to Abraham Lincoln, she gave birth to 4 children, but only 1 of them survived childhood. Surprisingly, the relationships between her and her only son weren’t good as Mary Lincoln refused to even talk to him.
Mary Lincoln was sitting right next to her husband the moment he was shot at Ford’s Theatre. One can only imagine the emotions experienced by the woman who witnessed the assassination of her husband. Obviously, the series of tragedies that happened in her life had a serious negative effect on her health.
Today, we decided to gather and share with our readers 8 facts that they may not know about Mary Todd Lincoln. Let’s see what these facts are…
Mary Todd Lincoln: 8 interesting facts about the wife of Abraham Lincoln
1. Mary Lincoln received a good education
Mary Ann Todd was born in December 1818 to Robert and Elizabeth Todd. She was the couple’s fourth child, and she had many siblings. Since her parents were slave owners, the family never had any financial problems. Since an early age, Todd was accustomed to comfort and luxury.
She was sent to school where she had classes of music, drama, literature, dance and social graces. Besides, she studied French and was able to speak it fluently.
2. Mary Lincoln failed to build good relationships with her stepmother
Mary Todd lost her mother when she was only 6 years old. Elizabeth Todd died when giving birth to her 15th child.
Two years later, Robert Todd married again. He and Elizabeth Humphreys had 9 children together. Unfortunately, Mary Todd didn’t have good relationships with her stepmother, who often treated her badly.
3. She was often criticized for her spending habits
Mary Todd’s spending habits was one of the reasons why she wasn’t loved in Washington. Since she came from a wealthy family, she was used to buying expensive clothes for herself and living in big, comfortable houses.
Soon after Lincoln became the president of the US, the First lady was given a big sum of money to spend on the redecoration of the White House. Even though her budget was more than generous, Mary Todd Lincoln spent more than she was allowed to, an interesting fact about Mary Todd Lincoln. The society criticized her for that because, at that time, America was experiencing the hardships of the Civil War.
4. She was criticized for openly grieving after the assassination of her husband
Taking into account the fact that Mary Lincoln witnessed the assassination of her husband, the shock that she experienced wasn’t surprising. She wasn’t given the opportunity to say good-bye to her husband, because she was kicked out of the room he was brought into. Unable to suppress her feelings and emotions, she started crying. Crying and expressing emotions in public was one of the things that women of the upper class weren’t supposed to do. The next day practically everyone knew of the scenes she made in the White House.
5. Mary Lincoln had many common interests with her husband
Mary Todd met Abraham Lincoln soon after she started sharing a house with her sister, Elizabeth Edwards. As it turned out, she and Lincoln liked discussing literature and political issues. Besides, they both hated the very concept of slavery, an interesting Mary Todd Lincoln fact.
6. Mary Lincoln was put in a mental hospital
Frequent and unpredicted change of mood that Mary Lincoln had could be the consequence of bipolar disorder that was unheard of at that time. All the terrible losses that occurred in her life led to a deep depression. In order to help his mother, Lincoln’s only surviving son put her in a mental hospital. She spent there only several months, but that time was enough for her to decide that she would never speak with her son again.
7. She couldn’t meet the expectations of society
Mary Lincoln always stood out of a crowd. No matter how hard she tried, she could never fit in the women’s society of that time. She liked publicity and never missed out on the opportunity to be in the center of everyone’s attention. Such preferences were against the accepted norms stipulating that women should focus all their attention on family matters and appear in public as rarely as possible.
8. She had big debts
Mary Lincoln’s spending habits were the cause of many rumors. After the death of Abraham Lincoln, she inherited the sum of $25,000. However, the sum wasn’t enough to pay off her debt of approximately $38,000. Looking for the ways to get the money she desperately needed, she came up with the idea to sell her dresses and jewelry, an interesting fact about Mary Todd Lincoln. She went to New York with her dressmaker, but everything went wrong right from the start. Her identity was soon recognized, and she failed to make any money by trying to sell her dresses and jewelry at a public auction. Soon the news of her sale appeared in the newspapers which made her an object of ridicule.
Constant disrespect, humiliation and accusations of being an improper woman forced Mary Lincoln to move to Europe where she lived until 1881. In 1881, she came back to the US and moved in with her sister. She died of a stroke in July 1882, with no one around to hold her hand at the deathbed.
I hope that this article on Mary Todd Lincoln facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Historical People Facts Page!