Mary Todd Lincoln as photographed by Mathew Brady in 1861.
Mary Todd Lincoln as photographed by Mathew Brady in 1861.

In the most recent Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association there was published previously unknown manuscripts by Abraham Lincoln. [1] In those letters and correspondence were requests for patronage jobs and the attempts by President Lincoln to secure positions for friends, colleagues, and political allies. In a parallel sense, these new, unpublished Mary Todd Lincoln works show much of the same attempts by the First Lady to secure positions for family friends and acquaintances.

In addition to the attempts at patronage, most of the post–1865 period is devoted to Mary Lincoln's attempts at securing a pension from Congress. She repeatedly attempted to keep in contact with influential members of Congress who held oversight positions on committees that controlled pension distributions. Her increasing desperation is evident in the progressively poignant pleas that she sent to people such as Alexander Williamson and Thomas Sweeney.

Many sad and poignant moments are revealed in this correspondence. Mary Lincoln's reply to an innocent request from John Hay for the Marine Band to play reveals her continuing pain of Willie Lincoln's death. She also attempts to rationalize her son Tad's speech problems to Col. Benjamin W. Richardson by claiming that "Taddie's" proficiency in the German language had caused him to "neglect his mother tongue" and gave rise to the need of an English tutor.

What follows also contains the earliest encounter between Mary and Abraham Lincoln and Ben Hardin Helm. The letter reflects a happier time when Helm shared tea with the Lincolns. He was a Confederate brigadier general when he died at Chickamauga. [End Page 1]

To Mr. and Mrs. Brown [2]

[5 February 1857]

Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln will be pleased to see you, Thursday evening, Feb. 5th at 8 o'clock.

To Hannah Shearer [3]

Springfield July 10 [1859]

My Dear Mrs. Shearer:

For some days past, particularly since the fourth, I have anticipated writing you a letter and give you an account of some of us, on May day. We had a children's and grown people's picnic on that day, out at Col McClernand's [4] farm, for the first time, since you left, had the pleasure of meeting your good sister. You can perhaps imagine how much you were missed & how frequently your name was mentioned, on that day. Pray how were you passing the time? We are having very warm weather, I trust among the hills, you are not passing through the same fiery ordeal we are. Our summer, thus far, has been pleasant than otherwise, between strawberry & raspberry parties & latterly some select tea drinkings, our warm weather, is almost gone. Yet withal, I am generally very lonely. Miss Cochran [5] made a little stay of two months, with us, as she was not particularly pleased with her boarding house and as she contemplated a visit during her vacation to Wheeling. I thought, it would lessen her expenses, and renders my evenings less lonely. If I still have Mary, [6] the same girl I have had for some time, and see no reason, to expect a change, I shall be willing to shelter in the winter, more especially as Robert leaves the first of September, & I fear, I shall grow cowardly again. I have attended a very sad funeral today. Mrs. Walters only promising son, [7] was drowned two days since, in the Illinois river. The family are heart broken. There is so much to sadden us in life, and so little to make us wish, to cling to, as we do. I have not yet learned, dear friend, to "look over the way," with a calm heart. I truly believe that I shall never cease to miss you. Mrs. McClernand's health, has improved a good deal, she had some idea of going to some springs in Virginia, I am almost disposed to think, she will not go. You speak of visiting New York in [End Page 2] September, you will doubtless, have a pleasant time. I should like to fly away, and be at rest, this summer, yet I remember, that I have taken mine ease so extensively. I miss our cozy meetings of the olden times & when I think they will never return, then I am sad indeed. We have at least the opportunity, of frequent interchange of letters. I hope you will frequently remember, in that way. Remember me kindly to Dr. & Boys. [8] Hoping to hear from you, I remain yours truly.

M. Lincoln

To Gideon Welles

Sept 16th [1861]

Executive Mansion

Hon. Mr. Welles:

Dear Sir,

Our particular friend Dr. Newell [9] of New Jersey, is making application, for the building of a steamer. The President, is interested that he may succeed in his application, he is esteemed by all who know him, a most estimable gentleman. I enclose his card & we will be under obligation to you, if the contract is awarded, to the men, for whom he applies.

Yours very res.

Mary Lincoln

Be kind enough to accept this bouquet. [End Page 3]

To Montgomery Meigs [10]

Executive Mansion

[circa May 3, 1862] [11]

Gen Meigs,

Dear Sir:

Our personal friends, Col. Sweeney & Mr. Gilbert, [12] in whom both the President & myself feel much interested, are desirous of obtaining a contract, in your department. Any favor extended to these gentlemen, will be highly appreciated by us, as we know, they are worthy of any request they may ask, at hands. Trusting, you may feel disposed to act favorably toward them, I remain very Respectfully,

Mrs. A. Lincoln

To John Hay [13]

[May 23, 1862?]

It is our especial desire that the Band, does not play in these grounds, this Summer. We expect our wishes to be complied with.

Mrs. Lincoln

To John Hay [14]

[circa May 25, 1862]

It is hard that in this time of our sorrow, we should be thus harassed. The music in Lafayette square, would sound quite as plainly [End Page 4] here. For this reason, at least, our feelings should be respected.

Mrs. Lincoln

To Benjamin Brown French

March 10th 63.

Executive Mansion

Major French [15]

My Dear Sir:

Your kind note, accompanied by the sad & touching lines, were received by me on yesterday, allow me to express my thanks to you, for your remembrance. Such a mark of friendship, will be cherished, when in after years, we shall all have passed from the scene of the action. Our heavy bereavement, has caused this to be a very painful winter to me, yet situated as we are, being compelled to receive the world at large, I have endeavored to bear up, under our affliction, as well as I can. With regards to Mrs. French, I remain sincerely your friend.

Mary Lincoln

To Gideon Welles

June 16th 63.


Dear Mr. Welles:

Will you do me a favor, to give to my young friend Mr. Eugene Littell, [16] the Bearer of this note, the small appointment of assistant Paymaster in the Navy. This young gentleman, is in every way worthy & I am anxious to oblige him for the sake of himself & his family, friends of mine. I am sure, you will not refuse me, this trifling courtesy.

Very Sincerely,

Mary Lincoln

To Benjamin Brown French

Executive Mansion

Washington, Jany 16th, 1864.

Major French

My Dear Sir,

I write you in behalf of a most worthy young man. The one in the place of Burns Named Dunn. [17] He makes more outside & there is every probability we will lose him, if his salary is not a little increased, as he finds it to live at the present rate impossible. Can you not by adding $15 a month to it, which will then be $75? We would dislike very much to lose so efficient a person at the door on account of so small an amount & we can readily imagine, that $75 a month, would require great economy. Just now, that we feel so perfectly satisfied, about our door men, it would be very unpleasant to change them, and I am sure that you will oblige me, about Dunn's wages.

I am very respectfully,

Mary Lincoln

To Mrs. Dixon

Executive Mansion

[January 27, 1864?]

My Dear Mrs. Dixon [18]

Please accept these simple bouquets for yourself & Ladies. I am happy to tell you, that my Little Boy is recovering, we have been so deeply afflicted, that the least sickness unnerves me. I will be ready to accompany you any day, to the Hospitals, when it is pleasant.

Very Sincerely etc.

Mary Lincoln

Jany 27th

To Benjamin Brown French [19]

[March 11, 1864] [20]

Please allow me the service of Charles, [21] tomorrow, during the entire day & oblige yours respectfully,

Mrs. Lincoln

To Edwin M. Stanton [22]

Hon. Sec. of War, please see Eliot and Mr. Baker. [23]

Aug. 10, 1864

To Gideon Welles

Executive Mansion

Feb 9th [1865]

Hon. Gideon Welles

Dear Sir:

The Bearer of this note, Mr. Eugene Littell [24] was commissioned nearly two years ago, as acting Assistant Paymaster, in the Navy. The unusually onerous duties imposed, on him affected his health so severely as to oblige him to resign last July. Having recovered his strength, he is anxious to be restored to his former position. It would only be an act of justice, to reinstate him & it would afford me great satisfaction if you could do so immediately. The record of Mr. Littell, you will find unimpeachable.

Yours Sincerely,

Mary Lincoln

To Benjamin W. Richardson


Clifton House

Chicago June 15 [1865?]

Captain Benjamin Richardson [25]

My dear sir:

Professor and Mrs. Sawyer, [26] have just paid me a call and handed me your letter, which I am very much gratified to receive. I hasten to reply to it, fearing you may think, I have been negligent regarding my promises. And yet I am sure, you will be tantalized to know, that some of the specialties promised have been in my room & only awaiting their being sent to Mr. Sawyer. Tomorrow, my little Taddie will carry them down to the University and it may be the rest I will bring on to you myself.

After this explanation of the delay, you will feel relieved. My health still continues very delicate & each week I am hoping, my affairs can be arranged, so that I can get off to Europe. Alas! Alas! Unhappily some of us have fallen upon evil times and all that is left, is to endure patiently and resignedly the sad decrees of fate. It is very hard for me to combat with fate, after having for so many years the most devoted & indulgent husband. It appears that my immediate departure must depend upon the disposal of a small piece of property, out of which my expenses must be defrayed abroad, as well as dear little Taddies.

Feeling the need of a change of air, and indeed of everything to restore me to health you can well imagine, how restless I am feeling, awaiting the movements of a slow & I sometimes fear an indifferent agent. I should be now abroad, if these circumstances did not exist. And the summer is passing away so rapidly and each day finds me sadder in mind & weaker in body. Taddie & myself frequently speak of you and remember you so pleasantly. We have promised Professor Sawyer to visit the University very soon & what a great pleasure it would be to have you with us. If the dark clouds disappeared & I can soon arrange my troubled business, I shall soon have the pleasure of seeing you en route to Europe. Hoping you will excuse my frank and long letter, I remain with great respect

Very truly yours

Mary Lincoln

To Alexander Williamson [27]

Chicago Oct 10th [18]65

Mr. Williamson

My Dear Sir,

Your note of Friday, is received. I see by the ["] papers," that the carriage, is to be sold at auction in N. Y. how is this? [28] I fear, it will bring very little disposed of, in such a way. Is it to be taken, to Lawrence's carriage shop as you mentioned? As to the cards, without, they are exactly like, the same border and all of the one I send you. [29] I wish none. As a matter of course, I am not using cards, for visiting purposes, but when visitors call, and lest servants, should carry wrong messages, thereby sometimes causing offense [30] on a card, I can regret, my inability to see them. Yet do not vary, in the [End Page 9] least, from the one, I sent you. Taddie has recovered, goes to school & can almost read. He delights in his school, & I find him a most amiable & loving son. With all my adversity, God has blessed me, in my remaining sons, yet the irreparable loss of my precious Willie broke, my heart, and since my beloved husband, was taken away, I do not desire to life.

Your Friend M. L.

[missing figure]
Willie and Tad Lincoln's private tutor, Alexander Williamson. Photo published for the first time, from the Henry Horner Lincoln Collection.

To Edwin Stanton [31]

Chicago Oct 11th [1865]

Mr. Stanton, will oblige Mrs. Lincoln, by assigning to Mr. A. F. Pike, [32] a situation as clerk, in any of his departments. He is most excellent, young man, very attentive to his business and was a favorite of both my husband & myself.

To Mrs. Kasson

Chicago Jany 20th [1866?]

My Dear Mrs. Kasson: [33]

I have been aroused, from quite a severe illness, by seeing attacks made upon me, in the most crude and revolting manner by "Copperhead Journals," purporting to emanate from the Radicals themselves. At the same time, may I be allowed, through the medium of your amiable & gentle self, to thank your noble husband, [34] most gratefully for his kind defense, of a broken hearted & deeply bereaved woman. Our good friend, Lizzie Keckley, [35] can give you, every particular, with regard to myself, in the deep affliction, I have been called, to pass through. My beloved husband, was my all, I almost worshipped him & his deep loving nature, left myself & my children, nothing more of earthly good to desire. From the hour we were so deeply stricken, I was carried into one apartment, at the White H. laid on a bed of illness & many days & nights of almost positive derangement and continued thus for six weeks, until I was led down stairs, to the carriage which conveyed me from a spot, so fraught with misery, and dark despair. Every other night, Lizzie K., for six weeks watched faithfully, by my side and you can well imaging that if all the gems of the earth had been scattered around me, they would have been for naught to me in my overwhelming bereavement. $25,000. [36] Was all that was ever given, in my husband's administration, to fix up, that dilapidated mansion, we found on entering it. I never had it in my power, to order a chair, or a comfortable lounge, therefore, as a matter of course, had nothing to do with the pecuniary department. If the chais [sic], had been regalle [sic] & everything else to correspond, I trust conscientious scruples, would have prevented my appropriating, what did not belong to me. A very simple little dressing table so plain that no one would have given $20 for it. My husband said eighteen months before, he wished to have a memento of me as he often found me seated, with my hair being dressed before it. The Comm. And Sec. Of I. both said we might have it & my husband said, he would give $40 for it, which was declined. This was the only article, I ever say, be it in all humility spoken, that I should have ever given houseroom, if they had been mine. For two years, after we entered the house I have had, those who called themselves gentlemen & ladies, in my presence assert that Buchannan [page(s) of text missing]. I have troubled you with a long letter. I felt that the kindness of Mr. Kasson, must receive my thanks. Should you ever visit Chicago, I shall always be pleased to see you. I remain

Very truly

Mary Lincoln

To Alexander Williamson [37]

Chicago, Sept 29th 1866

Mr. W.

My dear Sir:

Your note of 27th just received. How strange it is that such sensation stories, as my having received "15,000, from Boston, and small sums from other places," [38] should be stated at this time, "a false invention of the enemy," for not a cent, have I received from any one, since Congress made the pitiable appropriation, which went to liquidate debts against the estate. I trust Mr. Howe, [39] will not hear, or give credence, to such falsehoods, evidently gotten up, to prevent anything, being done for me. If Howe, has ever heard such a thing, please undeceive him. Is Howe earnest? Write me all particulars about R. H. [40] you have, failed to do so, as I requested. If Howe is not now, successful, I know not what I shall do in the future. Jog his memory, often & write me results. Did you write to Phinney & Co. [41] for all letters, not received, please do so. This last move will test H & R's sincerity, greatly, their delay, has taught me to be very doubtful. We will soon see and their truth, soon tested. Please contradict in all quarters so utterly false, a story, that I have received anything. I should have very soon told you, if such had been the case, do entreat & write Howe to be urgent, & without delay. In y[ou]r case, I will write to any party you name, have you received the 3 letters written to persons who can be very beneficial to you? [42] Write & tell me, sincerely all Howe said. I write in great haste, hoping you will transmit me any item of news. Undeceive Howe, if he thinks, anything has been done for me. Tad is very well & we all greatly regret, you did not venture as far as C[hicago] to see us. In the future, I trust you will remember to do so. Sumner, [43] wrote me this week quite a confidential letter, announces he is soon to be married. I am much gratified, that his bachelor life, is coming to a close. I have no finer friend than him, or one, I like any better. Write when you receive this, every thing.

To Alexander Williamson [44]


Chicago 30th Nov [1866?]

Mr. Williamson

My dear Sir:

I think it is time, with very great necessities upon me, that Mr. H. [Frank E. Howe]. should make a fair statement, as to whether he has acted in my case. This state of suspense is very painful to be endured, and if he considers himself a gentleman, I am sure, he will no longer practice this reticence towards me, especially in consideration of all his solemn promises. Please write to him, when you receive this. I must be soon appraised of the results of his efforts. I am suffering with chills & ill health & it is due me. Mr. H. should apprise me of results. Please write & oblige.


Mrs. L.

To Henry C. Deming

Chicago Dec 16th [1867]

Hon. Henry C. Deming [45]

Notwithstanding my letter of Saturday to you, I feel inclined to write you a few more lines this morning. My doing so, is occasioned by seeing an article in last week's "Independent," from the pen of the indefatigable F. B. Carpenter. [46] I can scarcely express to you, my dear Mr. Deming, how indignant I fell, when such men, mere adventurers, with whom my husband had scarcely the least acquaintance, write and publish such false statements about him. With regard to Mr. Seward & Mr. Lincoln, being & speaking together in Boston, in 1848, is devoid of all truth. After Congress adjourned in Sept of that year Mr. L. accompanied by my two little boys and myself, visited B[oston] & remained there 3 weeks, detained by the illness of our youngest son, whom we lost a year afterwards. Neither Mr. L. or myself knew any young or old lady by the name of Fanny Mc______. Perhaps Seward wrote the article & meant "McCracken." I know you are a noble man, my beloved husband respected & admired you too much, not to be assured that you value the truth. This man Carpenter, never had a dozen interview with the late President and the latter complained more than once to me, that C. presumed upon the privilege he had given C. to have the use of the State dining room, whilst he was executing his painting. This was only done, in consequence of the rumor we had heard of his indigent circumstances. He is a second edition of Mr. L's crazy drinking law partner Herndon endeavoring to write himself into notice leaving truth, far far, in the distance. C. intruded frequently into Mr. L's office when time was too precious to be idled. Of this fact, I am well aware. To think of this stranger, silly adventurer, daring to write a work, entitle "The inner life of Abraham Lincoln." [47] Each scribbling writer, almost strangers to Mr. L. subscribe themselves, his most intimate friend!! With apologies, I remain truly &

Mrs. A. Lincoln

To Jesse Kilgore DuBois

Cresson Penn [48]

July 26th [18]68

My dear Mr. DuBois: [49]

You will be surprised to receive a note from me, in this beautiful mountain retreat. My physician urged me to visit here & rest, before sailing for Europe, which we expect to do next Saturday. Go where I will, my thoughts will always return to the spot, where my idolized husband & children repose and where if my health does not improve, I may very soon be placed. Robert is now in Washington and will meet me in Baltimore in a few days. Robert grows every day, more and more like his father, & is a very beautiful character. I hope, he may be so fortunate, as to become well acquainted with the friends, whom his father, loved so much. He is diffident and reserved towards strangers, which years I trust will overcome.

I shall look to you, my dear Mr. DuBois, to see all the promises made to me, fulfilled in regard to the vault connected with the Monument. Only great bodily suffering would make me consent to go ahead at present. Tell your wife, whom I have always loved so much, that I intend gathering together all the needles that are now running through my body, & send them to her, in a handsome, European pincushion.

From Southhampton, we will take another steamer & proceed to Edinburgh. Although, Mr. Reverdy Johnson, [50] writes & expects me to proceed with them to London. More of London hereafter when my health is better and I can bear to look upon my gay friends & I have some quite distinguished ones in London, as well as scattered over the rest of Europe. I am sure, you can obtain an important mission from Grant, if you will overcome you diffidence & urge your claims. I have heard him, express great regard for you. We will all then meet "over the seas." Until then, with love to all. Adieu

Your friend

Mary Lincoln

To Sally B. Orne

Sunday Evening

Dec 5th '69

My Dear Mrs.Orne [51]

Three evenings since, "Taddie Lincoln Lincoln," mailed a letter to you, with Mr. Sumner's enclosed within it. I do so hope, you received the latter. Senator Fenton, is by this time on the stormy deep. [52] Knowing what a power he will be in the Senate, I wish very much, he had been present, the first day of the session. He cannot certainly arrive in Wash. Until the first of the 2d week. And are you aware that congress will only, most probably remain in session about two weeks, ere they adjourn for the Christmas holidays. So even if I had hope, that charming but deceitful syren on my side, I could scarcely suppose any good, would be affected in my cause by the time, when happier people are rejoicing over their comforts, alas, alas, what can I again expect, but to be left out in the cold. For it has become very much so here, how is it with you? Oh that we could be together this winter night, for how very much we would have to say to each other. I can readily imagine, that your good, kind husband is even now, in Wash and that his voice & influence will be exerted to the utmost. [53] I must acknowledge, a great weakness about wishing to see what our friend, Col Forney, will have to say, [54] [do not?] forget me. Should you receive any of his papers. I am very glad, that the time has come for Congress to meet so that for weal or woe, I shall not be kept long in ignorance perhaps it may be bliss. I hope that you have entirely recovered from your cold. Poor Gen Sickles I suppose, he too, is watching and waiting. It cannot be, that he will not be confirmed. Is Lane going to school in Spain? What changes, time brings to us all. I sometimes feel as if I had lived a century. "My life," is not dated by years. Taddie, as usual is hurrying me so I will close, with ever so much love to your daughters & yourself. I shall feel anxious until I learn, whether you have received Sumner's letter. You are a wicked woman to be carrying on so many flirtations, you must remember that you have a very handsome and agreeable husband in America. In great haste & hoping very soon to hear from you. I remain always your affectionate friend

Mary Lincoln

To Benjamin W. Richardson


Leamington, Eng

Nov. 7th 1870

Col. Benjamin Richardson [55]

My Dear Sir:

Strange to say, your letter of July last, has only been recently received by me. It is very pleasant in this land of strangers, to receive tidings & kind remembrances, from friends, in our beloved land who can never be forgotten either by my young son or myself. Taddie in Germany, became quite a proficient in the language, but in the mean time, his own mother tongue, was so much neglected, that it has become necessary to place him with an English tutor., with whom, I am happy to say, he is studying very hard. Taddie speaks of you frequently, and it is very pleasant to me, to remember that you took so great in interest in him. Be assured, he will never pass through New York without calling on you, to pay his respects. He is growing very much like his dear father, and possess his great amiability or character & nobleness of nature. He will return home, before long. He loves his country very dearly & we can but hope, that when he grows up, he will become one of its best citizens. Go where we will, we see no such nation as ours and the noblest & kindest hearted people on the face of the earth. Whilst the Continent of Europe, is suffering so terribly from devastation's of war, our glorious land, is once more, enjoying the blessings of peace.

If you should favor me again, with a letter please address to the care of Phillip, Nicoll Schmidt Bankers, Frankfurt A Meine Germany.

With regards from my son I remain, truly yours

Mary Lincoln

To H. Crosby

Washington City

______________ 18

Hon H. Crosby [56]

Dear Sir

Have you heard from Mr. Allen [57] or learned of his whereabouts, as the first draws near, and rent day approaching I am very anxious, if it is not asking too much of you please drop me a line at 607, 13th St.

Most Respectfully


Mrs A. Lincoln

Letter of Introduction for Noyes W. Miner


Oct 22nd 1873

Miller's Hotel [58]

Nos. 37, 39, & 41 West Twenty-Sixth Street,

New York City,

Between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, near

Madison Park

Turkish, Electric and Roman Baths

connected with the Hotel.

Dr. E.P. Miller, Proprietor. New York,

Dec. 15th 1881.

Permit me to introduce the Rev Mr. Miner [59] to you. Our clergyman for fifteen years our opposite neighbor, and a friend very much beloved by my husband Abraham Lincoln. I sign myself very respectful

Mrs. Abraham Lincoln

Undated Correspondence

The following material is separated from the other correspondence because of the lack of a known date of publication.

To Ozias Mather Hatch

Tuesday Morning

Mr. Hatch [60]

We are expecting two gentlemen to tea from Ky, and would be pleased to have them make the acquaintance of some of our Illinois friends, if you would join them, we will be much gratified. One of them is a half brother in law, whom we have never before met, Mr. Helm, [61] son of Go. Helm. Mr. Winter Smith [62] is a former acquaintance & very pleasant gentleman.


Mary Lincoln

To Ozias Mather Hatch

Wednesday Noon

Mr. Hatch [63]

Mrs. [Hannah] Shearer & myself would be pleased to have you spend this evening with us if you are not much agreeably engaged. We are expecting one or two others only, beside yourself, therefore we hope to see you early.

Your friend

Mary Lincoln

To Ozias Mather Hatch

Mr. Hatch [64]

It would afford us much pleasure, to have Mr. Taylor [65] and yourself hurry through your afternoon Siesta come around about four o'clock, & take tea with me. Between friends, there is no need for so much ceremony. Hoping to have the pleasure of seeing you, I remain your friend

Mary Lincoln

To Ozias Mather Hatch

Sabbath afternoon

Hon O. M. Hatch [66]

Two or three of our companion de voyage, will pass an hour or two with us, this eve, if Mr. Taylor [67] & yourself, will wander in this direction, about 8 o'clock, we will be very much pleased to see you.

Another evening will answer as well to visit Miss Julia, [68] the dust is too great, to render such a pilgrimage desirable.

Your friend

Mary Lincoln

To Ozias Mather Hatch

Hon O. M. Hatch [69]

The President & myself will be pleased to have yourself & Gov. Yates, [70] dine informally with us tomorrow at 3 1/2 o'clock, giving you time, if it is your intention of leaving, on the evening train.

Very Truly

Mary Lincoln

To Mary Brayman

Soldiers Home

My dear Mrs. Brayman [71]

I am feeling sadly, the effects of my sunny rides, several days last week, & will be unable to venture in the city today, yet by remaining quiet, will hope to have the pleasure of seeing you tomorrow morning & have you drive with me.

Sincerely yrs

Mary Lincoln

Please accept this banquet from the W. house garden

To Gustav E. Gumpert

Mr.Gumpert [72]

1226 Chestnut Street


Oct 19th

Has Col [Thomas E.] Sweeney gone up to New York. See "World" of Tuesday.

Mrs. Lincoln

Please answer immediately

To John Adams Dix

5th Avenue Hotel

My Dear Genl Dix [73]

Would you oblige me by coming up at 1 pm with one or two of your staff to accompany me to the Russian Frigate. [74]

Very Sincerely

Mary Lincoln


  1. See Thomas F. Schwartz and Kim M. Bauer, "Unpublished Lincolniana," Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 17:1 (Winter 1996): 45–52. return to text
  2. ANS, Lincoln Public Library, Springfield, Illinois. Invitation to a party that was given by the Lincolns. Approximately five hundred persons were invited to attend. The Browns are likely David A. and Eliza Smith Brown. David A. Brown read in the law office of Lincoln and Herndon and was subsequently admitted to the Illinois bar. return to text
  3. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. Hannah Shearer was a neighbor of the Lincolns' for approximately a year, from 1859 to 1860. Mary Lincoln would continue to write her for a number of years after that. For more information on Hannah Shearer see Linda Levitt Turner, Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), 54. return to text
  4. Col. John Alexander McClernand (1812–1900) was born in Kentucky but soon moved to Gallatin County, Illinois. It was as a state representative of the General Assembly for Gallatin County that McClernand first got to know Abraham Lincoln. McClernand was later a member of Congress during Lincoln's single term in the House of Representatives. By 1859 McClernand had moved to Springfield. return to text
  5. Unidentified. return to text
  6. Unidentified. return to text
  7. Charles L. Walters's obituary appeared in the Illinois State Journal, July 11, 1859, 3, col. 1. The article indicates that he died on a Saturday while swimming in the Illinois River near Naples, Illinois. He had worked as a clerk in Naples for the Great Western Railroad. His funeral took place on Sunday, July 10. His mother, a widow, was left to support two daughters and two remaining sons. return to text
  8. Hannah Shearer's second husband was Dr. John Henry Shearer, although her two sons were from her first husband, Edward Rathbun. return to text
  9. ALS, Connecticut Historical Society. Gideon Welles (1802–78) was Lincoln's secretary of the navy. William Augustus Newell (1817–1901) was a medical doctor, a former and future member of Congress (1847–51, 1865–67), and a former governor of New Jersey (1857–59). At the time of this letter, he was superintendent of the U.S. Life Savings Service (1860–64). return to text
  10. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. Montgomery Meigs (1816–92) was quartermaster general. return to text
  11. The data on the file note: "Recommending Messers Gilbert & Sweeney to the favorable consideration of the Q. M. Genl in the matter of a contract for clothing cloth etc. Received May 3d 1862." return to text
  12. Thomas Sweeney was the assessor of the Internal Revenue in Philadelphia. return to text
  13. AES, Hay Papers, DLC. John Hay (1838–1905) was one of President Lincoln's personal secretaries. Mary Lincoln was replying to the following request by Hay (dated May 23, 1863): "The Secretary of the Navy has called to ask whether you have any objections to the Marine Band beginning to play upon the lawn. If you have not, he will begin tomorrow. He awaits for your answer." return to text
  14. AES, Hay Papers, DLC. Mary Lincoln was responding to an undated letter from John Hay that reads: "I communicated your answer to the Secretary of the Navy. He says he will be governed in the matter by your wishes. He requests me to ascertain whether you have any objection to the Band playing in Lafayette Square." return to text
  15. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. French wrote in remembrance of the first anniversary after Willie Lincoln's death. return to text
  16. ANS, Connecticut Historical Society. Unidentified. [End Page 5] return to text
  17. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. Alphonso Dunn served as a police officer and became a White House guard and doorkeeper at Mary Lincoln's request. return to text
  18. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. Probably the wife of Senator James Dixon. Dixon was a Republican senator from Connecticut. At the time this letter was written, he was chair of the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expense. [End Page 6] return to text
  19. ANS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. return to text
  20. The date is based upon French's filing note indicating when it was received and that it was answered the same day. return to text
  21. Probably Charles Forbes, a member of the White House staff who is mentioned in a telegram from Mary Lincoln sent to Mary Ann Cuthbert on March 9, 1864. return to text
  22. ANS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. return to text
  23. Probably Edward Lewis Baker (1829–97). Baker was married to Mary Lincoln's niece, Julia Edwards Baker, and was editor of the Illinois State Journal. Eliot is likely Thomas Dawes Eliot (1803–70), a member of Congress from Massachusetts who served on the Commerce Committee, Select Committee on Confiscation and Emancipation, and the Select Committee on Freedman. return to text
  24. ANS, Connecticut Historical Society. See also Mary Lincoln to Secretary Welles, June 16, 1863. [End Page 7] return to text
  25. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. Benjamin W. Richardson was a millionaire from New York who collected Lincolniana. return to text
  26. Possibly Thomas Jefferson Sawyer (1804–99). Sawyer was a Universalist clergyman and a founder of Tufts College. At the time the letter was written, he edited the Christian Ambassador. [End Page 8] return to text
  27. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. Alexander Williamson was a tutor for Willie and Tad Lincoln until Willie's death in 1862. From 1865 until 1868, Williamson represented Mary Lincoln in various dealings with creditors and persons of influence who might help obtain a government pension for her. return to text
  28. Probably the Lincolns' White House carriage. return to text
  29. A reference to Mary Lincoln's calling card. return to text
  30. The bottom of the corner portion of the page is missing after "offense." return to text
  31. AES, IHi. Edwin M. Stanton had been appointed by President Lincoln as his second secretary of war and was still secretary of war when Mary Lincoln wrote this endorsement. return to text
  32. Probably Albert F. Pike (?–1875), who later become an army regular who would serve with three artillery units. return to text
  33. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. return to text
  34. John Adams Kasson (1822–1910) of Iowa was a member of the House of Representatives from 1863 to 1867. He had been the first assistant postmaster general in Lincoln's administration from 1861 to 1862 and also was a delegate to the 1860 Republican National Convention. Mary Lincoln is referring to Kasson's defense of her move from the White House and the rumors of her pilfering items when she left. return to text
  35. The reference is to Elizabeth Keckely, Mary Lincoln's servant and confidante for many years. return to text
  36. The congressional appropriation was $20,000, which she exceeded by $6,700. Congress covered the excess by passing two deficiency appropriations. return to text
  37. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. return to text
  38. Mary Lincoln is probably referring to various money that was collected for her assistance. The most prominent of these funds was a "dollar fund" that was established by various businessmen and administered by Benjamin B. Sherman, a noted New York merchant and banker. The fund's headquarters was located in Boston. return to text
  39. Frank E. Howe (?-1883) was a wealthy New Yorker who was supposedly acting on Mary Lincoln's behalf in attempting to secure her funds. return to text
  40. This is likely a reference to Marshall O. Roberts and Howe. Roberts (1814–80) was a successful New York merchant who purportedly gave Mary Lincoln $10,000. Roberts had been the owner of the Star of the West steamship that had attempted to resupply the Union garrison at Fort Sumter in January 1861. return to text
  41. Unidentified. return to text
  42. Mary Lincoln wrote on Williamson's behalf to Orville Hickman Browning, who had just been appointed secretary of the interior by President Andrew Johnson, Hugh McCulloch, secretary of the treasury, and Francis Spinner, treasurer of the United States. return to text
  43. Sen. Charles Sumner (1811–74) of Massachusetts. return to text
  44. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. return to text
  45. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. Henry Champion Deming (1815–72) was a representative from Connecticut who had been chair of the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department. return to text
  46. Francis Bicknell Carpenter (1830–1900) was an artist who painted "The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation" while staying at the White House from February to July 1864. return to text
  47. Carpenter had already written and published the work referred to; in 1866 Hurd and Houghton Publishers issued it under the title Six Months at the White House: The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln. return to text
  48. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. Cresson Springs, Pennsylvania, was a popular health and vacation destination. return to text
  49. Jesse K. DuBois (1811–76) was a close friend of the Lincolns. By the time this letter was written, he was a member of the National Lincoln Monument Association and immersed in the selection process for the new design of the tomb. return to text
  50. Reverdy Johnson (1796–1876) was a senator from Maryland. He had recently accepted the post of minister to Great Britain and was expecting to accompany Mary Lincoln and Tad on the voyage across the Atlantic to Europe. return to text
  51. ALS, Collection of Louise and Barry Taper. Sally B. Orne was a close friend of Mary Lincoln's and would prove to be a strong, vocal ally in her attempt to receive a pension from Congress. return to text
  52. Reuben E. Fenton (1819–85), a Republican senator from New York, was the chair of the Committee to Audit and Control the Contingent Expense. Mary Lincoln is referring to a recent visit she had had with Fenton in Frankfurt, Germany. return to text
  53. James H. Orne was a wealthy Philadelphia manufacturer who lobbied on Mary Lincoln's behalf for her pension bill. return to text
  54. John W. Forney (1817–81) was a prominent publisher and owner of influential newspapers, such as the Philadelphia Press. Forney had been a vocal proponent of President Lincoln, and Mary Lincoln was hoping that Forney would continue to champion her pension bill cause. return to text
  55. ALS, Collection of Louise and Barry Taper. For biographical entry about Richardson, see note to letter dated June 15 [1865?]. return to text
  56. ANS, IHi. Crosby remains unidentified. return to text
  57. Unidentified return to text
  58. AES, IHi. Mary Lincoln had gone to New York late in 1881 to see Dr. Lewis Sayre, a leading orthopedic surgeon and son of an old family friend. While in New York, she stayed at Miller's Hotel. return to text
  59. The Rev. Noyes W. Miner had been a long-time friend and ally dating back to Mary Lincoln's days in Springfield. He was the brother of her good friend Hannah Shearer. See also Lincoln Lore, June 20, 1955, 13–67, for further information concerning Miner's relationship with the Lincolns. return to text
  60. ANS, IHi. Ozias M. Hatch (1814–93) was a favorite guest and political friend of the Lincolns. return to text
  61. Ben Hardin Helm (1831–63). This is the first published account to describe the first meeting between Ben Hardin Helm and the Lincolns. Helm had married Emilie Todd, Mary Lincoln's half-sister. This first meeting would develop into respect and friendship between Helm and President Lincoln until the Civil War would split them apart. Helm went with the Confederate forces with a rank of brigadier general despite the president's attempts to keep him in the Union Army as a U.S. army paymaster. Helm's subsequent death at Chickamauga was a devastating personal blow to the Lincolns. return to text
  62. Unidentified return to text
  63. ANS, IHi. return to text
  64. ANS, IHi. return to text
  65. Unidentified return to text
  66. ANS, IHi. return to text
  67. Unidentified return to text
  68. Probably a reference to Julia Edwards Baker, who was married to Edward Lewis Baker and was Mary Lincoln's niece. return to text
  69. ANS, IHi. During Lincoln's presidency Hatch was the Illinois secretary of state. return to text
  70. Richard Yates (1818–73) was governor of Illinois. return to text
  71. ANS, IHi. Mary Brayman was the wife of Gen. Mason Brayman. The couple had been friends of the Lincolns since their Springfield days. Mason Brayman later served on the staff of Gen. John A. McClernand and became governor of Idaho in 1876. return to text
  72. ANS, IHi. Gustav E. Gumpert was a well-known Philadelphia merchant and tobacco dealer. He had known Mary Lincoln for a number of years and had occasionally taken care of Tad. return to text
  73. ANS, IHi. John Adams Dix (1798–1879) had been a senator from New York. At the time of the letter, he was a major general in the Union Army. return to text
  74. The note likely concerns the visit by the Russian Imperial Navy to New York from September through December 1863. On December 5, Mary Lincoln, accompanied by General Dix, went to a reception onboard the Russian frigate Osliaba in New York Harbor. return to text