The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will soon receive the original documents committing the former president’s wife to an insane asylum. The Cook County Circuit Court is donating the papers, which have been filed away nearly 140 years. Museum spokesman Dave Blanchette says the jury is still out on whether the late Mary Todd Lincoln was actually insane.
Click here for summary
“There’s no doubt she was very eccentric, that she had a penchant for extravagance, for overspending lavishly. She also abused sleeping medication, which also possibly caused some hallucinations,” he said. Blanchette says Mrs. Lincoln always had eccentricities about her, but things spiraled downward upon the death of her favorite son, Willie, and the death of her husband while he was sitting next to her. Included in the documents are 16 pleadings and 39 vouchers, including the original petition from Robert Todd Lincoln asking the court to find his mother insane. Mary Todd contended from the start her trial was unfair, as 17 witnesses were called to testify against her but none on her behalf. She was committed in May 1875 and released June 1876.