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Mary's friends
08-08-2016, 07:01 PM
Post: #31
RE: Mary's friends
(03-31-2015 07:39 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(03-31-2015 07:11 AM)Gene C Wrote:  
(03-30-2015 09:02 PM)Donna McCreary Wrote:  Speaking of which -- does anyone remember the name of the lady who wrote about Mary at school? Later in life, she moved to Louisville, Kentucky. I can not find her name anywhere!

Are you thinking of Elizabeth Humphreys? She's mentioned in Ruth Randall's book - Mary Lincoln Biography of a Marriage (page 19)

Or Susan Yandell?

Roger,
I have come to the conclusion that it is doubtful Susan Yandell and Mary Todd ever met. Susan was a young lady visiting Lexington in 1825 - when Mary would have been just turning seven years of age. Jean Baker's book uses a quote from a letter written by Susan to her father. However, when I did a name search in the Yandell family papers, there is no mention of the Parker or Todd families.

Perhaps this is another example of Baker making assumptions.
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12-20-2016, 01:44 AM
Post: #32
RE: Mary's friends
I was thinking of writing something along these lines - are you still working on your book? I've been wondering about where there could be more letters relating to Mary, particularly those written by others. There must be a bunch in archives related to her European travels. It appears she did have a pretty extensive and diverse collection of friends, but their socializing was quiet. She seems to have visited pretty consistently with a number of Americans abroad and even during her "aimless" travels she seems to have visited people and developed bonds in more insulated communities, like the spiritualist and spa communities. I found a newspaper article in which a man from Germany reminisced about her closeness with his family when she was there with Tad. I suspect there are more accounts somewhere.
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12-20-2016, 07:34 AM
Post: #33
RE: Mary's friends
(12-20-2016 01:44 AM)kerry Wrote:  I've been wondering about where there could be more letters relating to Mary, particularly those written by others.

Hi Kerry. I am sure there are some letters scattered around the world in private collections, libraries, archives, etc. (mostly in private collections I would guess)

I would think tracking these down would not be an easy task. I do not know how one would begin. Maybe others on the forum have ideas.
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12-20-2016, 12:18 PM (This post was last modified: 12-20-2016 12:25 PM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #34
RE: Mary's friends
Quote:I would think tracking these down would not be an easy task. I do not know how one would begin. Maybe others on the forum have ideas.

The easiest thing to do initially is to simply Google "Mary Todd Lincoln Letters" although that will only bring you substantial collections and things that are generally well-known by scholars. Still, it's a good place to start.

The first place to start on a serious search would be the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, which is available online. By typing in "Mary Todd Lincoln" it will bring up a number of individual and a few collections of letters either by her or to her that are available. Before the NUCMC (pronounced "nuck muck" by people who use it) was digitized, large bound volumes of card catalogues from repositories were available in all large research libraries.

The second step would be to contact archivists and manuscript curators in known substantial collections and ask if they are aware of lesser collections that might fly under the radar. People who have dedicated their professional careers to one subject or historical era would be likely to keep attuned to what else is out there and would have the professional contacts to do some inquiries.

As for finding letters written by others, the easiest step would be to collect the names of those who are known correspondents of MTL, find out where their papers are located, and either go to the repository and look through the letters they wrote to other people where they might have mentioned MTL while they were corresponding with MTL or hire a researcher to do it for you. As an example, I wanted to find out what Albert J. Beveridge had written about Ida Tarbell, Carl Sandburg and William E. Barton. I had my Washington, D.C.,-based researcher go through all of Beveridge's letters looking for references to their names. She was able to find nearly 150 letters in which they were mentioned. It's tedious work, and if you hire someone can be rather expensive, but its the only way to be sure that you've collected what you're looking for.

A third step would be to check the papers of past historians and biographers to see if they collected anything that might have since gone missing. When Michael Burlingame wrote his two-volume life of Lincoln, he scoured the papers of Ida Tarbell, William E. Barton, Albert J. Beveridge, Carl Sandburg and many others to look at items they had collected but did not use. I know for a fact in Barton's papers there are letters to and from MTL, although whether or not they've been published I am not sure. Another possible source along these lines would be the papers of Ruth Painter Randall, which are collected in the Library of Congress along with her husband, James G. Randall.

Finally, I would suggest corresponding with those who are currently working or who have recently worked on the topic. Present to them your project's overview and ask if they are aware of minute collections that otherwise could have gone unnoticed. Go to a major research university library and see what sits on their shelves (especially newer items, given that it's very difficult to stay on top of what comes from the presses on such a major topic as the Lincolns). Check out their bibliographies and see what manuscript sources they have utilized. Most scholars, especially those at the university level, are very happy to work with other writers who share an interest in something they themselves have studied for years. Rarely have I ever been disappointed by the reaction of an author for a request of help.

Hope this helps.

Best
Rob

Imagination is the only key to the future. Without it none exists - with it all things are possible. .
--Ida Tarbell
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12-20-2016, 01:03 PM (This post was last modified: 12-20-2016 01:07 PM by kerry.)
Post: #35
RE: Mary's friends
(12-20-2016 07:34 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(12-20-2016 01:44 AM)kerry Wrote:  I've been wondering about where there could be more letters relating to Mary, particularly those written by others.

Hi Kerry. I am sure there are some letters scattered around the world in private collections, libraries, archives, etc. (mostly in private collections I would guess)

I would think tracking these down would not be an easy task. I do not know how one would begin. Maybe others on the forum have ideas.

Thank you - I know it would be a task - I wish I didn't feel so curious about it. Researching manuscripts seems unbelievably tedious. It takes forever to transcribe them but there are some really interesting collections that seem to have been only partially examined - the Edwards' letters, Frederick Douglass' letters, etc. We only get the letters the biographers cull, but these people wrote a lot of letters and were great writers - there's always more to analyze.

(12-20-2016 12:18 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  
Quote:I would think tracking these down would not be an easy task. I do not know how one would begin. Maybe others on the forum have ideas.

The easiest thing to do initially is to simply Google "Mary Todd Lincoln Letters" although that will only bring you substantial collections and things that are generally well-known by scholars. Still, it's a good place to start.

The first place to start on a serious search would be the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, which is available online. By typing in "Mary Todd Lincoln" it will bring up a number of individual and a few collections of letters either by her or to her that are available. Before the NUCMC (pronounced "nuck muck" by people who use it) was digitized, large bound volumes of card catalogues from repositories were available in all large research libraries.

The second step would be to contact archivists and manuscript curators in known substantial collections and ask if they are aware of lesser collections that might fly under the radar. People who have dedicated their professional careers to one subject or historical era would be likely to keep attuned to what else is out there and would have the professional contacts to do some inquiries.

As for finding letters written by others, the easiest step would be to collect the names of those who are known correspondents of MTL, find out where their papers are located, and either go to the repository and look through the letters they wrote to other people where they might have mentioned MTL while they were corresponding with MTL or hire a researcher to do it for you. As an example, I wanted to find out what Albert J. Beveridge had written about Ida Tarbell, Carl Sandburg and William E. Barton. I had my Washington, D.C.,-based researcher go through all of Beveridge's letters looking for references to their names. She was able to find nearly 150 letters in which they were mentioned. It's tedious work, and if you hire someone can be rather expensive, but its the only way to be sure that you've collected what you're looking for.

A third step would be to check the papers of past historians and biographers to see if they collected anything that might have since gone missing. When Michael Burlingame wrote his two-volume life of Lincoln, he scoured the papers of Ida Tarbell, William E. Barton, Albert J. Beveridge, Carl Sandburg and many others to look at items they had collected but did not use. I know for a fact in Barton's papers there are letters to and from MTL, although whether or not they've been published I am not sure. Another possible source along these lines would be the papers of Ruth Painter Randall, which are collected in the Library of Congress along with her husband, James G. Randall.

Finally, I would suggest corresponding with those who are currently working or who have recently worked on the topic. Present to them your project's overview and ask if they are aware of minute collections that otherwise could have gone unnoticed. Go to a major research university library and see what sits on their shelves (especially newer items, given that it's very difficult to stay on top of what comes from the presses on such a major topic as the Lincolns). Check out their bibliographies and see what manuscript sources they have utilized. Most scholars, especially those at the university level, are very happy to work with other writers who share an interest in something they themselves have studied for years. Rarely have I ever been disappointed by the reaction of an author for a request of help.

Hope this helps.

Best
Rob


Thank you - I've been compiling a list of such sources and I just have to start chipping away at some point.
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12-22-2016, 02:48 PM
Post: #36
RE: Mary's friends
What I wonder - did she (n)ever write Tad any letters and v.v., or did those just not survive?
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12-22-2016, 04:44 PM
Post: #37
RE: Mary's friends
Eva, I once read that Tad could neither read nor write when he left the White House in May 1865. If true, this would mean he would have to learn during his schooling in Chicago and then Europe. Did Mary exaggerate his progress between 1865 and 1871? I do not know, but I wonder if Tad's difficulties with reading and writing might have something to do with this.
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12-22-2016, 06:11 PM (This post was last modified: 12-22-2016 06:14 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #38
RE: Mary's friends
Certainly Mary could have exaggerated, but I would think he did learn the basics within six years. He also edited one edition of a school newspaper - would he have done completely illiterate? And at least I see no reason for Mary not to write him from her spa vacations when he remained in school - in the worst case someone could have read it to him. (Perhaps she did and he simply didn't keep?!)
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12-22-2016, 06:40 PM
Post: #39
RE: Mary's friends
I have to think that Mary would write to her son, despite his reading difficulties, since it was the chief (only?) source of communication while they were apart. I also think that someone instilled a bit of discipline in him once the Lincolns were no longer in the spotlight. Discipline and the simple fact of maturing can do a lot to promote progress in education.

Would Robert have kept - or destroyed - any letters between Mary and Tad? Where's Jason Emerson when I need him?
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12-22-2016, 06:41 PM (This post was last modified: 12-22-2016 06:44 PM by HerbS.)
Post: #40
RE: Mary's friends
As a retired educator-it seems very odd that Tad could not read or write!But-will wonders never cease when you have a very protected child such as Tad was!

I tend to agree with Laurie's wonderings!
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12-22-2016, 07:11 PM (This post was last modified: 12-22-2016 07:11 PM by L Verge.)
Post: #41
RE: Mary's friends
(12-22-2016 06:40 PM)L Verge Wrote:  I have to think that Mary would write to her son, despite his reading difficulties, since it was the chief (only?) source of communication while they were apart. I also think that someone instilled a bit of discipline in him once the Lincolns were no longer in the spotlight. Discipline and the simple fact of maturing can do a lot to promote progress in education.

Would Robert have kept - or destroyed - any letters between Mary and Tad? Where's Jason Emerson when I need him?

Kerry,

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/262986...w=fulltext

I'm sure that you are familiar with the works of Justin and Linda Levitt Turner, but it has been over forty years since their book was published. Things have turned up since like the previous link indicates. I remember not too long ago that a number of letters that Mary wrote to a doctor were handed over to Illinois by the doctor's descendants.

The former head of the Illinois State Historical Library, Dr. Thomas Schwartz, is now with the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, but I bet he's still on top of news in the Lincoln field. Also, Kim Bauer, the current Lincoln curator at the Historical Library spoke to the Surratt conference attendees in 2015, on Mrs. Lincoln. Why not try contacting either or both of these men - in case you have not already done so?

Good luck in your endeavors...
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12-22-2016, 08:38 PM
Post: #42
RE: Mary's friends
(12-22-2016 04:44 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  Eva, I once read that Tad could neither read nor write when he left the White House in May 1865. If true, this would mean he would have to learn during his schooling in Chicago and then Europe. Did Mary exaggerate his progress between 1865 and 1871? I do not know, but I wonder if Tad's difficulties with reading and writing might have something to do with this.

Tad Lincoln's education was spotty while in the White House, due to lack of interest and little discipline. One reason Mary Todd Lincoln traveled to Europe with him was hope that there would be better schooling. While there Mrs. Lincoln found a German tutor (who was English speaking) with quite good results. When they returned to the U.S. in 1871, his brother Robert was impressed, noting Tad could speak fluent German. He had practiced reading using German textbooks while in Europe and his English now had a German accent. See: Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln, Chapter 10.
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12-29-2016, 05:56 PM
Post: #43
RE: Mary's friends
(12-22-2016 07:11 PM)L Verge Wrote:  
(12-22-2016 06:40 PM)L Verge Wrote:  I have to think that Mary would write to her son, despite his reading difficulties, since it was the chief (only?) source of communication while they were apart. I also think that someone instilled a bit of discipline in him once the Lincolns were no longer in the spotlight. Discipline and the simple fact of maturing can do a lot to promote progress in education.

Would Robert have kept - or destroyed - any letters between Mary and Tad? Where's Jason Emerson when I need him?

Kerry,

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jala/262986...w=fulltext

I'm sure that you are familiar with the works of Justin and Linda Levitt Turner, but it has been over forty years since their book was published. Things have turned up since like the previous link indicates. I remember not too long ago that a number of letters that Mary wrote to a doctor were handed over to Illinois by the doctor's descendants.

The former head of the Illinois State Historical Library, Dr. Thomas Schwartz, is now with the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, but I bet he's still on top of news in the Lincoln field. Also, Kim Bauer, the current Lincoln curator at the Historical Library spoke to the Surratt conference attendees in 2015, on Mrs. Lincoln. Why not try contacting either or both of these men - in case you have not already done so?

Good luck in your endeavors...


Thank you for the tips and link! I have been thinking of doing some sort of "update" to the Turners' excellent book - I've been rereading it to catch new things I've missed, and several times Mary mentions that she or the correspondent has received a letter from Tad (when they were in Europe). I think Crook's memoir has a letter from Tad dictated to Mary, so it's possible someone was assisting him in all the letters, but it seems like after a few years he was writing on his own. I think it is extremely likely that Mary and Robert destroyed them, but I do find it odd that none have surfaced that he wrote to other people. I think Mary mentions him writing to Sally Orne at one point - where is the rest of her correspondence? I wonder if Tad wrote in German to people while he was over there in they are in some archive or attic in Germany.
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