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Mary's friends
02-28-2017, 12:41 AM
Post: #46
RE: Mary's friends
(02-25-2017 03:15 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  I think I am in the minority on the forum when I question whether Tad ever got to the point of actually writing letters to people. I say that despite what Mary said (such as Tad writing to Sally Orne). Is there other specific evidence of Tad really writing letters to people?


There does not seem to be any actual evidence. The clearance reference is that Mary wrote she received a letter from Tad while traveling in Europe, but that could have been dictated. But he seemed to come across as intellectually average, at least, on his return to America. Perhaps he had some sort of processing disorder that made working with words difficult.
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02-28-2017, 08:31 AM
Post: #47
RE: Mary's friends
(02-28-2017 12:41 AM)kerry Wrote:  There does not seem to be any actual evidence.

IMO, you are correct, Kerry. I thought of another possibility. Donna mentioned that Robert burned many Lincoln family letters. Possibly Tad's letters, if they existed, showed that he was a special needs child, and Robert did not want the public to ever see this?
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02-28-2017, 11:11 AM
Post: #48
RE: Mary's friends
IMO, Robert saw much of the criticism of his fathers political life when his father was president. After his fathers death, he was very protective of his fathers image. Considering Mary's public image and health problems, I can understand Robert burning many of the family letters, as they were private and no ones business. No purpose would be served by causing undue attention to Tad. He also had some conflicts with Herndon. I can understand him wanting to destroy any letters or correspondence that Herndon or future biographers might want to use that could hurt the family image.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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02-28-2017, 02:36 PM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2017 08:27 PM by Susan Higginbotham.)
Post: #49
RE: Mary's friends
Have many family letters addressed to Mary or to Robert survived? Unless there's evidence that numerous family letters written to them survived except for those written by Tad, I don't see any reason to suppose that letters written by Tad to his family were singled out for destruction.
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02-28-2017, 07:15 PM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2017 07:15 PM by kerry.)
Post: #50
RE: Mary's friends
I think Mary burned most of hers when she read them, and Robert finished the job. I think Robert's position was totally understandable, and it seems like Mary decided against a more public stance and didn't want most of it published. That said, I do think it does a disservice to Mary's reputation to have none of the letters (her correspondence with her husband or Robert) that might have put her in a better light around, and I believe those did exist. But Robert didn't have to make his decision based on that, and I think he had ample reason to not want to be dissected further. If Robert destroyed Tad's letters, I'd see it as being more to destroy something that was a painful and private memory to him than to hide anything. I think there's reason to suppose he never got to the point of writing a letter, but he wasn't terribly impaired. Mary let him talk to that reporter when they arrived back in America, so it doesn't seem like a big secret. There's a letter to David Davis where he kind of assesses Tad and appears to find him 'normal,' which could have been planted in the record, but that seems a stretch. David Davis described him as a "warmhearted youth" during his illness, not mentioning anything about him being special needs, and there are a few other people who remember Tad who didn't recall him as being so, either. No one described him as especially bright or accomplished, but he seems to have functioned in society.
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