Mary Todd Lincoln Research Site
<< Back


MARY TODD LINCOLN QUOTES (Including Sources)

"In grief, words are poor consolation - silence & agonizing tears are all that is left the sufferer." Letter to her sister, Elizabeth Todd Edwards, March 19, 1877. SOURCE: Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters by Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), p.626.

"I have no hope of the re-election of Mr. Lincoln. The canvass is a heated one, the people begin to murmur at the war, and every vile charge is brought against my husband." Conversation with Elizabeth Keckley in the late summer of 1864. SOURCE: Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley (New York, Penguin Books, 2005), p. 68.

"...with trembling anxiety I had been permitted to watch over and minister to my idolized husband, through an illness and receiving his loving farewell words in return, I could have thanked him for his lifelong - almost; devotion to me & mine, and I could have asked forgiveness, for any inadvertent moment of pain, I may have caused him..." Letter to Senator Charles Sumner, April 10, 1866. SOURCE: Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters by Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), p.355-356.

"Who is that man?" Reaction to seeing Abraham Lincoln at her first Springfield cotillion in 1839. SOURCE: Mary: Wife of Lincoln by her niece Katherine Helm (New York, Harper & Brothers, 1928), p. 72.

"I think the doctors would especially like to keep one in bed. The love of money, is the root of all evil." Letter to her daughter-in-law, Mary Harlan Lincoln, circa 1870. SOURCE: First Ladies Quotation Book complied and edited by William O. Foss (New York, Barricade Books, 1999), p.72. Also, Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography by Jean H. Baker (New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1987), p.304.

"...that, that miserable inebriate Johnson, had cognizance of my husband's death - Why, was that card of Booth's, found in his box, some acquaintance certainly existed - I have been deeply impressed, with the harrowing thought, that he, had an understanding with the conspirators & they knew their man... As sure, as you & I live, Johnson, had some hand, in all this..." Letter to her friend, Sally Orne, March 15, 1866. SOURCE: Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters by Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), p.345.

"He is a butcher and is not fit to be at the head of an army. Yes, he generally manages to claim a victory, but such a victory! He loses two men to the enemy's one. He has no management, no regard for life." Conversation with Abraham Lincoln regarding General Ulysses S. Grant. SOURCE: Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley (New York, Penguin Books, 2005), p. 59.

"My husband, did the great work of the war, but Grant, had all the pecuniary compensation." Letter to her friend, Rhoda White, May 23, 1871. SOURCE: Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters by Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), p.589.

"Clouds and darkness surround us, yet Heaven is just, and the day of triumph will surely come, when justice and truth will be vindicated. Our wrongs will be made right, and we will once more taste the blessings of freedom, of which the degraded rebels would deprive us." Letter to James Gordon Bennett, publisher of the New York Herald, October 25, 1861. SOURCE: Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters by Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), p.111.

"I seem to be the scape-goat for both North and South." Recorded in Emilie Helm's diary. SOURCE: Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography by Jean H. Baker (New York, W.W. Norton & Company, 1987), p.224.

"I must dress in costly materials. The people scrutinize every article that I wear with critical curiosity. The very fact of having grown up in the West, subjects me to more searching observation. To keep up appearances, I must have money -- more than Mr. Lincoln can spare for me. He is too honest to make a penny outside of his salary; consequently I had, and still have, no alternative but to run in debt." Conversation with Elizabeth Keckley in the summer of 1864. SOURCE: Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley (New York, Penguin Books, 2005), p. 66.

"What day is so dark that there is no ray of sunshine to penetrate the gloom." Letter to Emilie Helm, November 23, 1856. SOURCE: Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters by Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), p. 46.

"...my evil genius Procrastination has whispered me to tarry 'til a more convenient season..." Letter to her friend Mercy Ann Levering, June, 1841. SOURCE: Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters by Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1972), p. 25.

"...do not allow the baby to walk too soon or she will become bowlegged." Advice to her daughter-in-law, Mary Harlan Lincoln, fall of 1869. SOURCE: First Ladies Quotation Book complied and edited by William O. Foss (New York, Barricade Books, 1999), p.40.

"That dreadful house...that dreadful house." Cried in anguish as she exited the Petersen House and looked at Ford's Theatre on the morning of April 15, 1865. SOURCE: A. Lincoln: His Last 24 Hours by W. Emerson Reck (Columbia, University of South Carolina Press, 1994), p. 160.

"So you are on guard to-night -- on guard in the White House after helping to murder the President." Conversation with John F. Parker, the guard who left his post at Ford's Theatre. SOURCE: Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley (New York, Penguin Books, 2005), p. 85.


This is not a commercial website. None of the photographs and artwork exhibited herein are being sold by the webmaster. Some photographs and artwork are believed to be in the public domain. Any copyrighted photographs and artwork are used in the context of this website strictly for educational, research and historical purposes only, under the "Fair Use" provisions of the Copyright Act, (US CODE: Title 17,107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use Section 107). Anyone claiming copyright to any of the posted photographs or artwork please inform the webmaster of such and it will be duly noted or removed.

Questions, comments, corrections or suggestions can be sent to
Roger Norton, the creator and maintainer of this site. All text except reprinted articles was written by the webmaster, ©1996-2014. All rights reserved. It is unlawful to copy, reproduce or transmit in any form or by any means, electronic or hard copy, including reproducing on another web page, or in any information or retrieval system without the express written permission of the author. The website was born on December 29, 1996.

Web design by Andrew Patel.