Mary Todd Lincoln's Insanity


The Lincolns in 1845.(Daguerreotypes)

Mary Lincoln

The Widow Lincoln


Mary was intensely interested in spiritualism. Around 1871, spirit

photographer William Mumler claimed to have captured the spirit of

Abraham in this shot of Mary.

The ghost of Lincoln?

Other key players:

Myra BradwellNettie Colburn Maynard

On the left is Myra Bradwell, the (in)famous woman lawyer who took on

Mary's defense. Beside her is Nettie Colburn Maynard, the White House medium

who helped Mary converse with her son. Abraham preferred chatting with

Daniel Webster. Mary's spiritualist beliefs were used as evidence of her insanity.

A couple of great little books have fallen out of copyright and are available on the web.

Was Abraham Lincoln a Spiritualist or Curious Revelations From the Life of a Trance Medium by Nettie Colburn Maynard.

Maynard tells all about being theWhite House medium.

Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley

Keckley was born a slave, but used her sewing skills to buy her freedom and open a business. She became Mary Lincoln's dressmaker and confidante. After this book was published, Mary stopped speaking to her.





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