The standards of the 21st Century are being applied to an insanity case of the 19th Century, as Mary Todd Lincoln will be the subject of a dramatized re-trial.

“We look at it as a mental illness, not something that should be stigmatized,” said Eileen Mackevich, director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. “And, as we have an aging population, more and more people are concerned about guardianship, about parents who develop all kinds of difficult situations; Alzheimer’s, for example.”

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It’s another way today’s scholars are trying to make the events of Lincoln’s day relevant. “I think it’s a very important issue: to look at how we are developing understanding of the commonalities that we have with history and the future,” Mackevich said.

Prominent judges and physicians will be involved in the re-trials in Chicago Sept. 24 and in Springfield Oct. 1, with the audience serving as the jury.


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