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Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
c. 1864
Object number
Exhibition Label
"I fell in love with her and . . . I have never fallen out."
It is difficult to know the character of the Lincoln relationship. When Lincoln wed Mary Todd in 1842, he married into a well-established Illinois family. Mary was strong-willed, capricious, and adamant. When she eventually showed signs of derangement, her instability colored discussions of her earlier years. Both of Lincoln's secretaries hated her and gained their revenge in their memoirs of the White House years. But from the best evidence, Lincoln was patient with a woman who could be difficult, not least because she suffered terribly at the death of their sons. After Willie died in 1862, she became increasingly fearful and detached, worrying about Lincoln himself, consulting spiritualists, and spending time away from Washington. This small sketch seems to show her departing on such a trip, and the artist has juxtaposed the figures to suggest a gap or tension between them that will never be fully known.
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Pierre Morand, 1820 - ?
Abraham Lincoln, 12 Feb 1809 - 15 Apr 1865
Mary Ann Todd Lincoln, 13 Dec 1818 - 16 Jul 1882
Ink and opaque white gouache on paper
Image/Sheet: 20.4 x 12.8cm (8 1/16 x 5 1/16")
Mat: 45.7 x 35.6cm (18 x 14")
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery