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Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady
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Daguerreotype entitled Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln. Mary Ann (née Todd) Lincoln (1818-1882) was the wife of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and was First Lady of the United States from 1861 to 1865. Mary was raised in comfort and refinement. Mary attend a finishing school where she learned to speak French fluently, studied dance, drama, music and social graces. She was regarded as witty and gregarious, with a grasp of politics. She was courted by Stephen A. Douglas, a rising young lawyer and politician, but chose to marry the self-taught, country lawyer Abraham Lincoln, who, ironically would defeat Douglas in their bid for presidential election. Mary suffered from severe headaches throughout her adult life as well as protracted depression. A history of public outbursts throughout Lincoln's presidency, as well as excessive spending, has led some historians and psychologists to speculate that Mary in fact suffered from bipolar disorder. She sat with her husband at Ford's Theatre, when he was shot in the head by an assassin. The United States Congress granted Mrs. Lincoln a life pension in the amount of $3,000 a year. The Lincoln's had four sons, but only Robert and Tad survived to adulthood, and only Robert outlived his mother. Her final years were marked by declining health and she died in 1882, age 63.
March 7th, 2013
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