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Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
12-16-2017, 06:26 PM
Post: #31
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
(12-16-2017 05:17 PM)kerry Wrote:  
(12-16-2017 12:25 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Thanks, everyone, for giving me a better view of young Robert. I might learn to understand him better in later life.

I did read Goff's book first, but I admit to getting bogged down in Emerson's "Giant." Some of that could be because I have had a working relationship with Jason over the years, and he has spoken at Surratt conferences several times on both Robert and Mary. I know his feelings about Mary and have tended to think that his better portrayal of Robert was done to further discredit Mary's behavior. I may have to rethink my position.

After doing so much research into Mary's life, every time I go to write something, I get bogged down in this seemingly unavoidable tension. There should be away to evaluate both fairly without "promoting" one over the other, but it is surprisingly difficult. I agree with Emerson that Robert generally was trying to do the right thing as he saw it, but I think he had a narrow conception of what that was, as many people do. It is impossible to ignore the fact that society was so limiting of women that Mary had no choice but to fall out of bounds, and it's odd to me that Robert never seemed to look at it that way. The debate isn't settled by explaining, "well, under the norms of the time, she was super embarrassing to the Lincoln legacy." Of course she was considered embarrassing. Should Robert have allowed it to get to him so much? How much did Lincoln care about that while he was alive? Did he have a right to live free of embarrassment? (It is interesting to read about George Washington and Prince Philip's mothers, and how they dealt with it). Those are the better questions, in my opinion. To me it all boils down to Mary being fundamentally bored in an intellectual sense, and looking for an opportunity to be enterprising where there were few legitimate opportunities for women to do so. In a modern context, I think the judgment comes down to people's life philosophies, and goes far beyond just Robert and Mary's interactions. People who care foremost about following the rules and being normal/quiet are going to sympathize with Robert; people who care foremost about personal expression/freedom are going to sympathize with Mary. I think Emerson was right to look at Robert's many accomplishments and examine his perspective, as the existing literature on him missed a lot of that, but there's still more to it. I keep feeling like a Mary "defender" when I'm just trying to be accurate, and part of that is because it's hard to avoid defending someone so harshly criticized, but it seems so difficult to strike the right note.

One point I keep coming to is the comment about "your game of robbery." Emerson connects that to the gifts, and concludes she was irrational. Robbery has a specific meaning - taking things from your person, by force. I feel like those terms were used more precisely at the time, especially by a woman in a family of lawyers. She used it specifically to Swett when he threatened to take her bonds by force. I think the robbery comments were all related to the bonds, or other property he'd held as conservator. The taking back of the gifts was her way of accusing Robert of ingratitude; not a literal robbery/theft accusation. The threat to publish them was to show Robert as benefiting more from her than being drained by her, not a theft accusation.

Thank you so much for a wonderful, clarifying comment.
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12-16-2017, 07:48 PM
Post: #32
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
(12-16-2017 05:17 PM)kerry Wrote:  
(12-16-2017 12:25 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Thanks, everyone, for giving me a better view of young Robert. I might learn to understand him better in later life.

I did read Goff's book first, but I admit to getting bogged down in Emerson's "Giant." Some of that could be because I have had a working relationship with Jason over the years, and he has spoken at Surratt conferences several times on both Robert and Mary. I know his feelings about Mary and have tended to think that his better portrayal of Robert was done to further discredit Mary's behavior. I may have to rethink my position.

After doing so much research into Mary's life, every time I go to write something, I get bogged down in this seemingly unavoidable tension. There should be away to evaluate both fairly without "promoting" one over the other, but it is surprisingly difficult. I agree with Emerson that Robert generally was trying to do the right thing as he saw it, but I think he had a narrow conception of what that was, as many people do. It is impossible to ignore the fact that society was so limiting of women that Mary had no choice but to fall out of bounds, and it's odd to me that Robert never seemed to look at it that way. The debate isn't settled by explaining, "well, under the norms of the time, she was super embarrassing to the Lincoln legacy." Of course she was considered embarrassing. Should Robert have allowed it to get to him so much? How much did Lincoln care about that while he was alive? Did he have a right to live free of embarrassment? (It is interesting to read about George Washington and Prince Philip's mothers, and how they dealt with it). Those are the better questions, in my opinion. To me it all boils down to Mary being fundamentally bored in an intellectual sense, and looking for an opportunity to be enterprising where there were few legitimate opportunities for women to do so. In a modern context, I think the judgment comes down to people's life philosophies, and goes far beyond just Robert and Mary's interactions. People who care foremost about following the rules and being normal/quiet are going to sympathize with Robert; people who care foremost about personal expression/freedom are going to sympathize with Mary. I think Emerson was right to look at Robert's many accomplishments and examine his perspective, as the existing literature on him missed a lot of that, but there's still more to it. I keep feeling like a Mary "defender" when I'm just trying to be accurate, and part of that is because it's hard to avoid defending someone so harshly criticized, but it seems so difficult to strike the right note.

One point I keep coming to is the comment about "your game of robbery." Emerson connects that to the gifts, and concludes she was irrational. Robbery has a specific meaning - taking things from your person, by force. I feel like those terms were used more precisely at the time, especially by a woman in a family of lawyers. She used it specifically to Swett when he threatened to take her bonds by force. I think the robbery comments were all related to the bonds, or other property he'd held as conservator. The taking back of the gifts was her way of accusing Robert of ingratitude; not a literal robbery/theft accusation. The threat to publish them was to show Robert as benefiting more from her than being drained by her, not a theft accusation.

I think it's actually quite possible to sympathize with both Mary and Robert. I certainly do.
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12-16-2017, 08:17 PM
Post: #33
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
(12-16-2017 07:48 PM)Susan Higginbotham Wrote:  
(12-16-2017 05:17 PM)kerry Wrote:  
(12-16-2017 12:25 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Thanks, everyone, for giving me a better view of young Robert. I might learn to understand him better in later life.

I did read Goff's book first, but I admit to getting bogged down in Emerson's "Giant." Some of that could be because I have had a working relationship with Jason over the years, and he has spoken at Surratt conferences several times on both Robert and Mary. I know his feelings about Mary and have tended to think that his better portrayal of Robert was done to further discredit Mary's behavior. I may have to rethink my position.

After doing so much research into Mary's life, every time I go to write something, I get bogged down in this seemingly unavoidable tension. There should be away to evaluate both fairly without "promoting" one over the other, but it is surprisingly difficult. I agree with Emerson that Robert generally was trying to do the right thing as he saw it, but I think he had a narrow conception of what that was, as many people do. It is impossible to ignore the fact that society was so limiting of women that Mary had no choice but to fall out of bounds, and it's odd to me that Robert never seemed to look at it that way. The debate isn't settled by explaining, "well, under the norms of the time, she was super embarrassing to the Lincoln legacy." Of course she was considered embarrassing. Should Robert have allowed it to get to him so much? How much did Lincoln care about that while he was alive? Did he have a right to live free of embarrassment? (It is interesting to read about George Washington and Prince Philip's mothers, and how they dealt with it). Those are the better questions, in my opinion. To me it all boils down to Mary being fundamentally bored in an intellectual sense, and looking for an opportunity to be enterprising where there were few legitimate opportunities for women to do so. In a modern context, I think the judgment comes down to people's life philosophies, and goes far beyond just Robert and Mary's interactions. People who care foremost about following the rules and being normal/quiet are going to sympathize with Robert; people who care foremost about personal expression/freedom are going to sympathize with Mary. I think Emerson was right to look at Robert's many accomplishments and examine his perspective, as the existing literature on him missed a lot of that, but there's still more to it. I keep feeling like a Mary "defender" when I'm just trying to be accurate, and part of that is because it's hard to avoid defending someone so harshly criticized, but it seems so difficult to strike the right note.

One point I keep coming to is the comment about "your game of robbery." Emerson connects that to the gifts, and concludes she was irrational. Robbery has a specific meaning - taking things from your person, by force. I feel like those terms were used more precisely at the time, especially by a woman in a family of lawyers. She used it specifically to Swett when he threatened to take her bonds by force. I think the robbery comments were all related to the bonds, or other property he'd held as conservator. The taking back of the gifts was her way of accusing Robert of ingratitude; not a literal robbery/theft accusation. The threat to publish them was to show Robert as benefiting more from her than being drained by her, not a theft accusation.

I think it's actually quite possible to sympathize with both Mary and Robert. I certainly do.

Me too. I just find it hard to write without sounding both accusatory and defensive towards both. Which is probably normal - that's what happens when you evaluate a person. People do that to Lincoln all the time without much issue. I just feel like many people perceive an attack or justification when something is just being accurately stated. It's the lack of information, in my opinion, about Robert and Mary - we still only get a glimpse of them with what we have. So any evaluation feels kind of unfair. Lincoln is also elusive, but there's a lot more nuanced evidence to buttress every argument.
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12-16-2017, 08:29 PM
Post: #34
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
Great responses! Yeah - I sympathize with both as well.

But I can't imagine how Robert felt during all of this. After watching siblings and father slowly die, mother suffers from hallucinations, headaches, starts believing in spiritualism, tries to kill herself with drugs, thinks "Indians" are pulling wires out of her brain, et cetera...as her only living son naturally sends her off to a comfortable modern (for the time) sanitarium, thinking he's treating her. Only to become the center focus of all of her anger and vitriol.
No wonder he always looked sad and tired.

I wonder if she ever truly started loving him as a son again.
I read that she DID, but with thousands of books out there you know how it is...

I apologize if I seem defensive of Robert. It's just that he's got over 100-ish years of "bad rep" on him. Which I think all started with William Herndon.
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12-16-2017, 09:31 PM (This post was last modified: 12-16-2017 09:31 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #35
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
Re. :"To me it all boils down to Mary being fundamentally bored in an intellectual sense, and looking for an opportunity to be enterprising where there were few legitimate opportunities for women to do so."
Very good point, I feel the same.

"In a modern context, I think the judgment comes down to people's life philosophies, and goes far beyond just Robert and Mary's interactions. People who care foremost about following the rules and being normal/quiet are going to sympathize with Robert; people who care foremost about personal expression/freedom are going to sympathize with Mary."
(Normal, quite and boring...) Another very good point IMO.

I asked this several times and no one has ever brought anything forth - what did Robert do on the account of humanity and benevolence (despite the legacy care, which I find somewhat self-evident, plus in the end he had benefited a lot from his father) that should endear him to me?

I think Robert had always been self-centered, wanted to belong to high society circles (since he went to Harvard) and to be different from and more distinguished than his father.

Besides I wonder what had become of him had he grown up under the same conditions as his father did - his parents enabled his career (and he wasn't the smartest at Harvard). He piled wealth to a sickening degree way beyond what one needs for an even luxurious life while the Pullman workers, as I read, had to work for little under near slave-like conditions, and I do not recall reading about much benevolent Robert did for others (unlike his mother, who did if not "moody").
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12-16-2017, 10:25 PM
Post: #36
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
Yeah, Robert does not seem to have been concerned with wider humanity. Many people are not, but the contrast with his father on that point is quite a glaring one. It's an unfair standard, but it's a notable omission either way. I think he really could not handle taking on broader concerns because he was emotionally overwhelmed by his own family issues. He had a shut-down reaction. Because he was reserved about it, he's not looked at as "moody," but it's pretty clear he was unstable at times. In W. A. Evans' biography of Mary, I think his comments on Robert are interesting:

"His reaction toward his father's memory was somewhat
abnormal. To steer between Scylla and Charybdis was not
an easy matter, and in doing so he did not display the same
qualities of judgment with which he made other decisions.
His peculiarities of personality caused him to steer too
far from the rocks on the one side and to hit those on the
other.

I had no acquaintance with him. From such evidence as
I have found, I hold the opinion that Robert Lincoln was
sensitive in fact, supersensitive ; that he was emotional
quite over-emotional under certain influences ; and that
most of his attitudes on personal and family matters were
defense reactions. There was much in life that gave him
pain. In his personality he inherited from his mother much
more than from his father. He lacked his father's humor,
wisdom, and poise. On the other hand, he had some of the
good qualities of both President and Mrs. Lincoln. While
his personality was somewhat abnormal, the trials to which
he was subjected never even threatened to push him beyond
the limits of his endurance. "

I agree with all of that, except the last line. I think he struggled a lot at times.

His other interesting observation was:

"Mrs. Edwards was a worthy woman with a great heart.
She mothered her sisters and her brothers, her husband and
children. No one who knew her said unkind things about
Mrs. Edwards. I am sure she was normal, and so are her
descendants so far as I could learn. Whatever blight there
was in the family, Mrs. Edwards and her children and their
children escaped it."

It shows how relatively easy it is for people to miss these things when it isn't told to them directly.

Mary's broader sympathies are too little brought up. I think she was sincere when she said she wanted more money in part to give to charities and set up a sort of foundation. She showed capacity to grow and empathize later in life, just like Lincoln did. She's often described as snobbish, but she was friends with Jane Swisshelm, who purposely only wore one ugly dress her whole life to make a statement. We still don't know exactly who she hung with in her final years in Europe, but she seemed to have a diverse group of friends. And in terms of recognizing differences, Mary many times comments that Robert is reserved and likes to be more quiet, and she clearly recognizes and respects that, even if she doesn't always go along with it. Robert never makes a comment along those lines, and, most notably, never mentions her intelligence, which many people mention as the most striking thing about her. In fact, he seems to have totally underestimated her, and Myra Bradwell (who seems to have been a known figure in Chicago). But then when he's arguing with the attorneys about whether he can step down as conservator before a year has passed, he finally in exasperation asks Mary to read the laws and give her opinion, which agrees with his. All the others were misreading it. He knew she would get it, and stop pushing for immediate freedom. I think that Mary took great pride in researching those laws and writing her own petition to the court (and trying to stir up a hit piece on the men involved, which sure would have been interesting.) It was one of the few intellectual pursuits she was able to do, even though it was under bad circumstances.

Another point I think is important is that while Robert chose to live a private life, which was absolutely his right, he imposed it on Mary. It's pretty clear that he shut down any attempts to write about her, even if it was in a positive way. The Ida Tarbell papers have some stuff on this. Even the official biography which he was apparently okay with after his own death, I reread recently, and there's almost nothing in that not already known. The "exclusive" stuff sounds highly exaggerated and smoothed over. He asked to read Lizzie Grimsley's manuscript before she had it published (6 Months in the White House). He made it a condition of her freedom that she stay out of the headlines. So her side of the story is irretrievably lost (unless I can find the memoir draft I've been after, but it's going nowhere.) I think he did it because he thought it was best, but he had to know that people would still talk and research, and he left no way to set the record straight. So it is even harder to judge. Swett had said he was going to write an article explaining their relationship, which Robert apparently approved, but then dropped dead of a heart attack. Herndon, also, wrote about it, but it never appeared in the magazine he mentioned. It drives me crazy thinking these might be lying in an archive somewhere.
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12-17-2017, 05:05 AM (This post was last modified: 12-17-2017 07:45 AM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #37
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
Good post, Kerry. I lack the time for thorough comments that include references right now, so just my opinion from "reading memories":
"I think he really could not handle taking on broader concerns because he was emotionally overwhelmed by his own family issues."
All his remaining lifetime? He piled wealth from others' labor and abuse and could play lots of golf the Pullman workers probably couldn't afford. I really despise this. In each religion there's the obligation to share a part/percentage of what you earn. It's a kind of human/social obligation IMO to care for and about those in need especially when you posses overly. (Even many animals care.) Since he didn't seem religious I doubt he did in any way. He deserved what his offspring did to Hildene, what a pity he didn't live to see. Especially all the animal residents...I think he didn't like animals, tells a lot about a person.
And I doubt he had made it that far without his parents (also his mother).
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12-17-2017, 06:06 AM (This post was last modified: 12-17-2017 07:51 AM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #38
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
I do understand he was a human and obviously not capable of more, but I don't see anything especially good in the Batavia action (nor any of his life despite preserving his father's legacy which is the least he could have done regarding all he owed him). It was the best of all "solving HIS problem" institutions to his reputation, standing and conscience. He could afford and had nothing to bear for it.
From the outset he didn't look into "what is the best to help mother" but into "what is the best for her that solves my problem in an unobjectable manner".
His father had much more to endure - family tragedies from early childhood on, poverty, war conduct (again, Robert just joined this for reputation, and I doubt he would have had the stamina for real battle.) Mary was on the edge in the White House years, too - including spiritualism, yet I doubt her husband would ever had treated her that way, and not behind her back.
And on the account of heart, warmth and humanity, Mary had (I think) much more to go for than Robert, as had his brothers.

And I bet deep down in his "heart", before presidential limelight set in, Robert had sometimes felt ashamed for his father's "inappropriate appearance" and "behavior" as not in line with Robert's aspired "class and standing" .
And yes, he was certainly overly sensitive - to all that concerned/interfered with his needs.
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12-17-2017, 11:02 AM
Post: #39
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
(12-16-2017 05:17 PM)kerry Wrote:  One point I keep coming to is the comment about "your game of robbery." Emerson connects that to the gifts, and concludes she was irrational. Robbery has a specific meaning - taking things from your person, by force. I feel like those terms were used more precisely at the time, especially by a woman in a family of lawyers. She used it specifically to Swett when he threatened to take her bonds by force. I think the robbery comments were all related to the bonds, or other property he'd held as conservator. The taking back of the gifts was her way of accusing Robert of ingratitude; not a literal robbery/theft accusation. The threat to publish them was to show Robert as benefiting more from her than being drained by her, not a theft accusation.

I do not think this letter has ever been posted on the forum. It was written in extreme anger as Mary was obviously furious at Robert for being surprised in her hotel room and taken against her will, the trial, the verdict, and her stay at Bellevue. The anger boiled for an entire year, and a few days after a second court restored her rights, she wrote her son:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Springfield, Ill.
June 19, 1876.

Robert T. Lincoln

Do not fail to send me without the least delay, all my paintings, Moses in the bullrushes included — also the fruit picture, which hung in your dining room — my silver set with large silver waiter presented me by New York friends, my silver tête-à-tête set also other articles your wife appropriated & which are well known to you, must be sent, without a day's delay. Two lawyers and myself, have just been together and their list, coincides with my own & will be published in a few days. Trust not to the belief, that Mrs. Edward's tongue, has not been rancorous against you all winter & she has maintained to the very last, that you dared not venture into her house & our presence. Send me my laces, my diamonds, my jewelry — My unmade silks, white lace dress— double lace shawl & flounce, lace scarf — 2 blk lace shawls — one blk lace deep flounce, white lace sets 1/2 yd in width & eleven yards in length. I am now in constant receipt of letters from my friends denouncing you in the bitterest terms, six letters from prominent, respectable, Chicago people such as you do not associate with. No John Forsythe's & such scamps, including Scamman. As to Mr. Harlan — you are not worthy to wipe the dust, from his feet. Two prominent clergy men, have written me, since I saw you — and mention in their letters, that they think it advisable to offer up prayers for you in Church and High Heaven on account of your wickedness against me. In reference to Chicago you have the enemies, & I chance to have the friends there. Send me all that I have written for, you have tried your game of robbery long enough. On yesterday, I received two telegrams from prominent Eastern lawyers. You have injured yourself, not me, by your wicked conduct.

Mrs A. Lincoln

My engravings too send me. M.L. Send me Whittier Pope, Agnes Strickland's Queens of England, other books, you have of mine—
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12-17-2017, 03:16 PM
Post: #40
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
(12-17-2017 05:05 AM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  Good post, Kerry. I lack the time for thorough comments that include references right now, so just my opinion from "reading memories":
"I think he really could not handle taking on broader concerns because he was emotionally overwhelmed by his own family issues."
All his remaining lifetime? He piled wealth from others' labor and abuse and could play lots of golf the Pullman workers probably couldn't afford. I really despise this. In each religion there's the obligation to share a part/percentage of what you earn. It's a kind of human/social obligation IMO to care for and about those in need especially when you posses overly. (Even many animals care.) Since he didn't seem religious I doubt he did in any way. He deserved what his offspring did to Hildene, what a pity he didn't live to see. Especially all the animal residents...I think he didn't like animals, tells a lot about a person.
And I doubt he had made it that far without his parents (also his mother).

Thanks - I think in his case, it became internalized for life. He needed to shut down to get through law school/get his career going. Taking care of the legacy meant constant reminders, and the issues with Tad and Mary happened, and then his own son. It was a very drawn out traumatic period, with Lincoln being talked about everywhere all the time. It was hard to get away from it. He was not comfortable with more 'average' people and had a paternalistic mindset typical of wealthy white men in the 'company town' era. I just feel like he knew better, and that's why it's easier for me to see his issues with getting involved as more of a phobia than a lack of caring. I tend to agree about the not liking animals thing not boding well in general, but Mary doesn't seem to have liked animals either. I think this also comes down to a worldview thing: I agree that people with that much wealth have social obligations and that there is such a thing as too much wealth, but a vocal portion of society disagrees with me on that, and would see Robert's wealth as very admirable. I will always wonder what Mary would have done had she ended up with more money in 1865. She may have continued to panic about it and hoard it, but I think at a certain point, especially if Lincoln had lived, she would have been active in charitable endeavors. If Robert had had more of an inheritance, she might have showered gifts elsewhere.

Quote:
From the outset he didn't look into "what is the best to help mother" but into "what is the best for her that solves my problem in an unobjectable manner".

I agree with this. Except in his letter to Sally Orne, he never actually says he's doing it for her happiness. I get that the way of looking at treatment was different because there wasn't a whole lot of actual help available; just restraint. Swett and Davis' letters focus solely on financial and reputation aspects. It was a fairly impossible situation, and we still don't know how dangerous Mary was to herself because we got incomplete information. The trial focused on financial things, which made it more suspicious. But the question really was not "was she arguably fit for commitment," to which I would say arguably, yes, and arguably, no, but what would commitment accomplish? Was it going to help anyone, especially her? Anyone who knew her suspected she wouldn't accept it. For some people, it may have been the right decision, but for her, it seemed to be guaranteed disaster. There was a fantasy that there was an "unobjectionable" solution, but it was clear there would be an objection. They didn't seem to take Mary seriously or recognize her drive and intelligence. If she truly needed commitment, they should have gone with the full evidence, even if it was embarrassing, and dealt with the media war that ensued. That would be the right thing to do.

Quote:His father had much more to endure - family tragedies from early childhood on, poverty, war conduct (again, Robert just joined this for reputation, and I doubt he would have had the stamina for real battle.) Mary was on the edge in the White House years, too - including spiritualism, yet I doubt her husband would ever had treated her that way, and not behind her back.
And on the account of heart, warmth and humanity, Mary had (I think) much more to go for than Robert, as had his brothers.
And I bet deep down in his "heart", before presidential limelight set in, Robert had sometimes felt ashamed for his father's "inappropriate appearance" and "behavior" as not in line with Robert's aspired "class and standing" .
And yes, he was certainly overly sensitive - to all that concerned/interfered with his needs.
Lincoln was unstable at times, and he was also an extraordinary person. He is the perfect example of becoming more empathetic and open with experience and through suffering. But his example is anomalous. It's not really a matter of what happens to you, but how you are equipped to deal with it. People have had worse lives than Robert's, for sure, but I think he inherited mental instability and a reserved personality and I think fame is a major aggravating factor. Mary was clearly hit harder by things than most people because of her personality and mental health. I think the whole family was very sensitive, and I don't mean that as an inherently negative thing at all. But they were vulnerable and had different reactions. Clearly Mary wanted to express her feelings and Robert did not. I would agree Robert was probably embarrassed by his parents growing up - they stood out. It's a shame, but it happens. I agree that Mary was already pretty unstable in the White House and that Lincoln made a clear decision not to have her locked away but in fact encouraged her participation, and that is a major difference in outlook that has to be part of the debate. Robert wasn't as amazingly skilled with dealing with people as Lincoln was. He couldn't handle it the same way. But it's still notable that Lincoln handled it. Swett and Davis never say they think Lincoln would have approved, and even wonder what he would have thought. But his everyday presence would have made her a lot safer during her episodes of confusion. That was one thing that was hard to replace, unless Robert was going to abandon his family and job and follow her around.

(12-17-2017 11:02 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  I do not think this letter has ever been posted on the forum. It was written in extreme anger as Mary was obviously furious at Robert for being surprised in her hotel room and taken against her will, the trial, the verdict, and her stay at Bellevue. The anger boiled for an entire year, and a few days after a second court restored her rights, she wrote her son:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Thanks for posting this. Its presence in the letter about the gifts makes the connection reasonable, but to me it seems like she was talking about the bonds that she had just gotten back with the robbery comment, and this taking back gifts was just punishment.
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12-17-2017, 03:56 PM
Post: #41
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
(12-17-2017 06:06 AM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  Mary was on the edge in the White House years, too

(12-17-2017 03:16 PM)kerry Wrote:  I agree that Mary was already pretty unstable in the White House

Eva, Kerry, everyone...I have a question.

Elizabeth Keckly wrote (after Willie's passing):

“In one of her paroxysms of grief the President kindly bent over his wife, took her by the arm, and gently led her to the window. With a stately, solemn gesture, he pointed to the lunatic asylum.

“‘Mother, do you see that large white building on the hill yonder? Try and control your grief, or it will drive you mad, and we may have to send you there.’"


Has it ever been determined if this statement could be true or is it something Elizabeth Keckly created or embellished? Was there REALLY a large lunatic asylum within sight from the White House in 1862?
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12-17-2017, 05:29 PM
Post: #42
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
I'm thinking that this thread has taken a sharp turn away from what it's really supposed to be about. (My fault, maybe..?)

Has anyone had a good look at "The Physical Lincoln"? It's not 100% accurate -- most of all that photographs of post-maturity Tad being mistaken with William Harlan, and although it only was released in 2008, we've discovered a little more info since then -- but it is VERY in-depth and an excellent work! There are some rather nice photos provided on the website as well.
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12-17-2017, 06:04 PM
Post: #43
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
(12-17-2017 03:56 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(12-17-2017 06:06 AM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  Mary was on the edge in the White House years, too

(12-17-2017 03:16 PM)kerry Wrote:  I agree that Mary was already pretty unstable in the White House

Eva, Kerry, everyone...I have a question.

Elizabeth Keckly wrote (after Willie's passing):

“In one of her paroxysms of grief the President kindly bent over his wife, took her by the arm, and gently led her to the window. With a stately, solemn gesture, he pointed to the lunatic asylum.

“‘Mother, do you see that large white building on the hill yonder? Try and control your grief, or it will drive you mad, and we may have to send you there.’"


Has it ever been determined if this statement could be true or is it something Elizabeth Keckly created or embellished? Was there REALLY a large lunatic asylum within sight from the White House in 1862?

Maybe we should make a new thread? I don't want to derail this one -- I have not read The Physical Lincoln. I think it is odd more pictures of Tad do not survive from being sent to friends. Maybe he was camera-shy.
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12-17-2017, 06:18 PM
Post: #44
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
(12-17-2017 05:29 PM)ScholarInTraining Wrote:  Has anyone had a good look at "The Physical Lincoln"? It's not 100% accurate -- most of all that photographs of post-maturity Tad being mistaken with William Harlan

I have a copy of the 1996 edition of the Lincoln Family Album (Neely and Holzer), and that book has the same error. In that book, William Aaron Harlan is identified as being a sickly Tad Lincoln at age 18. I wonder how many books have this error.

(I have had several contacts with Dr. John Sotos, author of The Physical Lincoln. All have been polite but argumentative. He believes Lincoln suffered from a rare genetic cancer syndrome called MEN2B - multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 2B. I disagree.)
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12-17-2017, 07:33 PM
Post: #45
RE: Robert Todd Lincoln --The vitals
(12-17-2017 03:56 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(12-17-2017 06:06 AM)Eva Elisabeth Wrote:  Mary was on the edge in the White House years, too

(12-17-2017 03:16 PM)kerry Wrote:  I agree that Mary was already pretty unstable in the White House

Eva, Kerry, everyone...I have a question.

Elizabeth Keckly wrote (after Willie's passing):

“In one of her paroxysms of grief the President kindly bent over his wife, took her by the arm, and gently led her to the window. With a stately, solemn gesture, he pointed to the lunatic asylum.

“‘Mother, do you see that large white building on the hill yonder? Try and control your grief, or it will drive you mad, and we may have to send you there.’"


Has it ever been determined if this statement could be true or is it something Elizabeth Keckly created or embellished? Was there REALLY a large lunatic asylum within sight from the White House in 1862?

Lincoln's Citadel claims he pointed at this one https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Elizabeths_Hospital
Well, two hrs footwalk, but maybe visible from afar in those days?
   
(Kerry - I deleted my posts. Makes no sense anyway.)
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