Pulling Back the Curtain on the Lincolns’ Marriage

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By Amy S. Greenberg

The Untold Story of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd
By Michael Burlingame

Mary Lincoln was not a great first lady. A compulsive shopper, she ran up huge debts that she tried to hide by falsifying bills and misappropriating federal funds. She accepted lavish gifts from men and then lobbied her husband for patronage appointments on their behalf. And she was emotionally unstable, with an explosive temper that was exacerbated by migraines, a debilitating menstrual condition and what was most likely bipolar disorder. She also endured unspeakable tragedies: the deaths of her son Eddie at age 3, her son William at age 11, while the family was living in the White House, and her husband’s after he was shot sitting next to her at Ford’s Theater.

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