Skip to main content

Mary Todd Lincoln

Attribution
Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Sitter
Mary Ann Todd Lincoln, 13 Dec 1818 - 16 Jul 1882
Date
1862
Type
Photograph
Medium
Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative
Dimensions
Image: 9.2 × 6.4 cm (3 5/8 × 2 1/2")
Sheet: 15.5 × 12.8 cm (6 1/8 × 5 1/16")
Mat (Verified): 35.6 x 27.9cm (14 x 11")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
Object number
NPG.81.M139.D1
Exhibition Label
Born Lexington, Kentucky
When her husband was elected president in 1860, Mary Todd Lincoln welcomed her role as the nation’s First Lady. Yet, her years in the White House proved far from happy. Unjustly suspected by many of harboring Confederate sympathies, she quickly became a target of public criticism for everything from her Southern birth to her extravagant style of entertaining. Hurt and embittered by these attacks, Mrs. Lincoln was shaken further by the death in 1862 of the Lincolns’ beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie. Still suffering from that tragic loss, she was utterly devastated by her husband’s assassination at the hands of John Wilkes Booth in April 1865. Mrs. Lincoln never fully regained her equilibrium and spent her remaining years plagued by mental instability. Mrs. Lincoln posed for this portrait in one of the elegant silk gowns fashioned for her by the talented African American dressmaker Elizabeth Keckley.
Nacida en Lexington, Kentucky
Cuando su esposo fue elegido presidente en 1860, Mary Todd Lincoln acogió su papel como primera de dama de la nación. Sin embargo, sus años en la Casa Blanca distaron de ser felices. Sospechosa injus- tamente de simpatizar con los confederados, pronto fue blanco de críticas públicas por motivos diversos, desde su origen sureño hasta su extravagante manera de agasajar invitados. Herida y amargada por estos ataques, la señora Lincoln recibió otro golpe en 1862 con la muerte de Willie, su amado hijito de 11 años. Sufriendo aún aquella trágica pérdida, quedó devastada por el asesinato de su esposo a manos de John Wilkes Booth en abril de 1865. Nunca recuperó el equilibrio, y pasó sus años restantes afectada por su salud mental. La señora Lincoln posó para este retrato en uno de los elegantes trajes de seda confeccionados para ella por la talentosa modista afroamericana Elizabeth Keckley.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
American Origins
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110b
Exhibition
Storied Women of the Civil War Era
On View
NPG, East Gallery 110b