The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln

The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln
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His son, Frederic C.

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Towers, had recently found them in a steamer trunk in his basement. This landmark discovery shed new light on Mary's insanity, incarceration, her release, and her son's seemingly dishonest intentions.

The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln

The unpublished letters of Mary and legal documents pertaining to the acquisition of these letters appear in appendices at the end of the monograph. The Madness of Mary Lincoln begins with an important evaluation of Mary's personality as a young woman, her relationship with Abraham Lincoln, and the tragedy she faced as a mother and wife. Emerson argues that Mary, as a child and young woman, exhibited the characteristics of a dual personality because of her erratic changes in emotion.

He cites several of Mary's contemporaries who commented on her behavior, including her cousin Elizabeth Edwards, Lincoln's presidential secretary William O.

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Stoddard, and William H. One, however, might question the use of Herndon's opinions given his and Mary's mutual hatred of each other. By focusing on these early episodes in Mary's life, Emerson revives the argument first posed by Mary's first biographer, W. Evans, in that Mary's "emotionalism Emerson also contends that the marriage of Abraham and Mary was not an easy one, but Abraham played a critical role in their relationship as a "restraining influence" p. Not only did Abraham tolerate her behavior, but his moderating personality tempered her childlike actions when she became too volatile.

Emerson maintains that when coupled with her "emotionalism," her son Willie's death and her husband's assassination acted as catalysts for her rapidly degrading mental state. With the death of the sixteenth president, Robert became the head of the Lincoln family, and in this role, he took primary responsibility for his mother's physical and mental well-being.

ISBN 13: 9780809313112

He did so, Emerson argues, because he was not only devoted to his family, but he was also the "quintessential Victorian-era gentleman" p. It is of little surprise, then, that Robert became increasingly protective of his family and acutely aware of the seriousness of his mother's mental health. In , Robert started to notice that his mother was spending exorbitant sums of money on clothing. Not only was Mary spending money, but she also tried to sell her clothing under a pseudonym to her husband's old political friends because she believed she was poor.

The "Old Clothes Scandal of " became a fiasco for Robert and caused him to suspect that she was "'mentally irresponsible'" p. By , after several incidents, Robert was firmly convinced that his mother's mind had finally broken. He subsequently consulted physicians and such close family friends as U. They concluded she was insane and that she needed medical care in an institution.

ISBN 13: 9780809313112

Under Illinois law, however, this could only be done through a trial. Based on the information Emerson gleaned from the "Lost Insanity Files," he takes this opportunity to revise the historical narrative regarding Mary's trial. Unlike previous historians who have criticized Robert for railroading his mother in her insanity trial to acquire her money, Emerson portrays Robert as a dutiful and caring son who only wanted the best for his mother. He hired a Pinkerton detective to guard her and ensure her physical well-being.

Additionally, he consulted a total of six physicians to accurately gauge his mother's mental health, all of whom concluded that Mary ought to be committed to a facility for her own personal safety. Emerson also contends that an evaluation of the legal system in which Mary was tried is important to understanding the case as a whole.

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In Robert Todd Lincoln caused his mother, Mary Todd Lincoln, to be committed to an insane asylum. Based on newly discovered manuscript materials , this. The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln on snakwalldeha.ga *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.

As early as , Illinois law provided anyone accused of insanity the right to a trial by jury. Free delivery worldwide.

Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. Based on newly discovered manuscript materials, this book seeks to explain how and why.

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The book that results from these letters and documents addresses several areas of controversy in the life of the widow of Abraham Lincoln: the extent of her illness, the fairness of her trial, and the motives of those who had her committed for treatment. Related issues include the status of women under the law as well as the legal and medical treatment of insanity. Speculating on the reasons for her mental condition, the authors note that Mrs. Lincoln suffered an extraordinary amount of tragedy in a relatively few years. Three of her four sons died very young, and Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.

The Insanity File :The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln by Neely and McMurtry | eBay

After the death of her son Willie she maintained a darkly rigorous mourning for nearly three years, prompting the president to warn her that excessive woe might force him to send her to "that large white house on the hill yonder," the government hospital for the insane. Lincoln also suffered anxiety about money, charting an exceptionally erratic financial course. She had spent lavishly during her husband's presidency and at his death found herself deeply in debt.

She had purchased trunkfuls of drapes to hang over phantom windows. She followed the same erratic course for the rest of her life, creating in herself a tremendous anxiety. She occasionally feared that people were trying to kill her, and in she told her doctor that an Indian spirit was removing wires from her eyes and bones from her cheeks. Her son assembled an army of lawyers and medical experts who would swear in court that Mrs.

Lincoln had preserved letters and legal documents about his mother being declared insane in and committed to an asylum in Illinois.

The papers deal with the process of making the finding through the opinions of experts before a jury. The action also made Robert the conservator of Mary's money. Mary had continue after Lincoln's death to spend money wildly, often on buying sprees for clothes and jewelry that she never used.

She reminds one of the so-called "hoarders" shown on today's reality TV.

Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

The book delves into the historiography of previous efforts to describe the event and concludes that most were deficient in several ways, mostly portraying Mary as the subject of unfair treatment by the medical profession and legal processes. The author's conclude that Mary was indeed mentally unbalanced and that the efforts to protect her from herself and from dissipating her estate by continued compulsive spending were justified. The story is a bit dry as it delves deeply into the legal proceedings that surrounded the affair.

It's a quick read and does give insights into this complex person. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason. Due to the high volume of feedback, we are unable to respond to individual comments. Sorry, but we can't respond to individual comments. Recent searches Clear All. Update Location.

The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln

Write a review. Carbondale, Ill. It is of little surprise, then, that Robert became increasingly protective of his family and acutely aware of the seriousness of his mother's mental health. After the death of her son Willie she maintained a darkly rigorous mourning for nearly three years, prompting the president to warn her that excessive woe might force him to send her to "that large white house on the hill yonder," the government hospital for the insane. Boston: Little, Brown and Company,

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