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Table of Contents
Mary Todd Lincoln was the wife of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and the First Lady of the United States from 1861 to 1865. Mary was well-educated and came from a rich family before marrying Abraham Lincoln. She suffered from a poor state of mental health after witnessing Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
See the fact file below for more information on the Mary Todd Lincoln or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Mary Todd Lincoln worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE AND FAMILY
- Mary Todd Lincoln was born Mary Ann Todd on December 13, 1818 in Lexington, Kentucky.
- She was born to Robert Smith Todd, a banker and businessman, and Eliza Parker Todd.
- Having been born in a well-off family, she was sent to a good school where she mastered French and learned literature.
- Mary’s mother died in 1825 and when her father remarried, she did not like her stepmother thus she opted to spend time with her grandmother and eventually studied in a boarding school.
- In 1839, Mary moved to Springfield, Illinois, to live with her sister Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s husband, Ninian Edwards, the son of a former governor of Illinois.
- She was a Whig, like her family.
- The Whig Party was one of the two major political parties in the mid-19th century in the United States.
MARRIAGE TO ABRAHAM LINCOLN
- Being in a high-profile family, Mary Todd attracted multiple suitors, including Abraham Lincoln who was also a Whig.
- Despite her sister’s objections, 23-year-old Mary married 33-year-old Abraham on November 4, 1842.
- Mary gave birth to four sons: Robert Todd, Edward Baker, William Wallace Lincoln, and Thomas Lincoln.
- In 1850, they lost their son three-year-old Edward to tuberculosis.
- Mary was a supportive wife to Abraham in his social and political career.
- She fulfilled her duties in homemaking as Abraham pursued a successful law career in Springfield, Illinois.
- Her husband’s busy career would often leave her alone raising their children for months at a time.
- They resided in a house in Springfield from 1844 to 1961 which is now known as the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
- Abraham Lincoln generated public support for his firm stand against slavery.
- When Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, Mary stepped up to her new role as First Lady during the Civil War.
- She found herself in a tight spot as her family was from a state where slavery was allowed and her half-brothers served in the Confederate Army.
- Even as she firmly supported her husband and his policies, she caused Abraham distress by drawing heavy criticism for her exorbitant spending on White House redecorations, fine china, and fine jewelry.
- Abraham Lincoln was not happy about the expenses.
- As First Lady, she was described as a good hostess. She is credited for visiting hospitals around Washington and handing out flowers to injured soldiers.
MARY’S PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
- Mary suffered chronic migraines and periods of depression during her years in the White House.
- She was involved in a carriage accident and suffered a head injury from it, which could explain the frequent headaches.
- She also experienced severe mood swings and bad temper which resulted in excessive spending in the White House.
- She suffered severe depression when their son, Willie, died of typhoid fever.
ASSASSINATION OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
- Three years after Willie’s death, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
- She sat next to Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater as they watched the play “Our American Cousin.” She was holding his hand when he was shot in the back of his head by John Wilkes Booth.
- Abraham’s murder took an incredible toll on Mary’s mental health as she was there to witness it.
- It didn’t help that another woman named Ann Rutledge was widely known as the “only woman Abraham’s ever loved.” It made her increasingly depressed.
- Because she was the widow of America’s first assassinated president, the public sympathized greatly for her. She received condolences from around the world, some of which she attempted to reply to personally.
- In 1868, she lived briefly in Germany and England with her youngest son, Thomas Lincoln III.
- In 1870, she was granted an annual pension by the Congress.
- In 1871, she returned to Chicago, Illinois. Shortly thereafter, Thomas died at age 18.
- In 1875, she got confined in a psychiatric facility located in Batavia, Illinois, so she could receive medical treatment for her mental illness.
- In 1876, the finding of her mental derangement was reversed in a second hearing. However, the public already perceived her as insane, which led her to live in Europe for the next four years.
- She returned to Springfield, Illinois in 1880 and stayed there until her health declined.
- She died in 1882 and was buried beside her husband at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.
Mary Todd Lincoln Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Mary Todd Lincoln across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Mary Todd Lincoln worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Mary Todd Lincoln who was the wife of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and the First Lady of the United States from 1861 to 1865. Mary was well-educated and came from a rich family before marrying Abraham Lincoln. She suffered from a poor state of mental health after witnessing Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Mary Todd Lincoln Facts
- Early Life of Mary Todd
- History Review
- The Lincoln Sons
- President Lincoln
- First Lady Duties
- Health Vocabulary
- That Fateful Night
- Decoding Depression
- Mary Once Said…
- An Ode To Mary Todd
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Use With Any Curriculum
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