A portrait of first lady Mary Todd Lincoln. Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons, cliff1066
In 1875, former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln was committed to an insane asylum in Batavia, Illinois. The institutionalization was the result of efforts made by her son Robert, who was concerned for her safety and also the family's image.
At the time, President Lincoln's widow had been scrutinized in the press for her behavior, her spending habits and even her perceived political views.
Historian Jason Emerson says that long-missing letters reveal Mary Lincoln's mental state. Emerson tells Steve Fast that "pretty much everyone who knew her believed she had some kind of mental issue."
Emerson is the author of Mary Lincoln's Insanity Case: a documentary history.
Listen to the interview: Jason Emerson on The Steve Fast Show.
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