cover of book

Mary Lincoln Demystified: Frequently Asked Questions about Abraham’s Wife
by Donna D. McCreary
Southern Illinois University Press, 2022
Paper: 978-0-8093-3869-6 | eISBN: 978-0-8093-3870-2
Library of Congress Classification E457.25.L55M383 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 973.7092

Answering the most enigmatic questions about Mary Lincoln’s life

After portraying Mary Lincoln in hundreds of performances and giving lectures over a more than thirty-year career, Donna D. McCreary has fielded every imaginable inquiry about the First Lady. Gathered here, readers will find answers to the most frequently asked questions to come from live audiences. This first question-and-answer book arises directly from a public’s enduring curiosity with one the country’s most important historical figures. Decades of conversations with audiences, scholars, and relatives of the Todd family frame McCreary’s intimate and devoted research to offer a new and unique portrait of the most tragic First Lady. 

Though Mary has been portrayed in books and film, McCreary’s book contains information not found elsewhere—details others have overlooked and those that would not fit well into a narrative history—such as lists of Mary’s beaus, servants, and the people the Todd family enslaved; appendixes that present mini-biographies of families and friends; and a uniquely thorough timeline. Mary Lincoln Demystified covers areas in which McCreary’s audiences have expressed the most interest: Mary’s sanity, her family relationships, her views on slavery and African Americans, her personality and habits, and what happened to her possessions and children after she died.

While sympathetic to the woman she portrayed for two decades, McCreary examines both sides of controversial issues and presents the facts with her trademark style and flair. More than a good read, McCreary’s Q&A factbook, based as it is on decades of extensive research in primary and secondary sources, will be the definitive resource for answers about Mary for years to come.
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