Mary Lincoln, Dictated Letter, Signed

From Mary’s Six Week Tenure as Widow in the Executive Mansion


In stock

reserve this item
Learn More

Call: 312.944.3085
Hours: Tues - Sat

Email Us


Mary Lincoln Letter, Signed. This was dictated to someone for the handwriting is not Mary’s but she has Signed the letter.

This letter is from Mary’s few weeks as a widow in the Executive Mansion. She left Washington in late May of 1865, decamping for Chicago. She is making a recommendation for employment.

This is one of only a handful written during the brief six-week period that followed the murder of her husband.

In full:

“The bearer, Patrick Kilafoyle, I have known for the last four years and more, and do take pleasure in saying that I consider him a very worthy man, has been employed in the grounds attached to the White House, and in that capacity I have found him at all times an obedient and respectful employee. We all well know that with the past and present enormous rates of the necessities of life it is next to an impossibility for a man with only small pay & a large helpless family to make ends meet and it is chiefly on this account I would call the attention of the Dept. to this man as a small tribute of my regard for a trustworthy and faithful public servant. I would in this connection state, that he has a daughter & son who might render him material aid if anything could be done for either in the Treasury Department. Hoping this may meet your earliest consideration I am with much respect…”

The tenor of this letter is certainly that of Mary Lincoln. Perhaps she had trouble writing her own letter; indeed, her signature indicates a careful writing, as if fearful of seeming unnerved – which she certainly was!

Old tears archivally mended; some lt. staining, remnants of mount on verso; else excellent. Only six letters from this period extant, housed in museums.

Lincoln, Mary (1818-1882; First Lady) Dictated Letter, signed “Mary Lincoln”. Washington City: 15 May 1865. 4to.; 1p.; blue-lined paper. To: Hon. H(ugh) McCulloch, Sec. of Treasury. Not in Turner Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters.