Front Cover

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Frontispiece, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

Illustrations List

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-x

Stored away in my grandfather Robert Todd Lincoln's Manchester, Vermont, home, Hildene, was a bundle of letters, papers, and documents marked by him "MTL Insanity File." Tied with a ribbon, the file had lain in his file room just off his study, undisturbed since his death on July 26,1926. ...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

On Christmas Eve, 1985, the last member of the Lincoln family died. Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith was the grandson of Robert Todd Lincoln, the firstborn son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln. Beckwith was eighty-one years old and had long been in ill health. ...

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1. The Trial

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pp. 1-26

Because Mary Todd married Abraham Lincoln somewhat in defiance of her family's hopes, she put her all into proving that she had made the right choice. She idolized him and she idealized family life. Lincoln was "lover-husband-father & all[,] all to me," she said after his death. ...

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2. Commitment

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pp. 27-52

Dazzled by headlines about organ transplants and genetic engineering and the outright disappearance of diseases which used to ravage Western society, the modern reader shudders to recall the state of medicine in Mrs. Lincoln's era. The horrors of medical science before germ theory are memorably symbolized by the staggering death rate in the Civil War, ...

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3. Release

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pp. 53-72

May 20, 1875, was Mary Todd Lincoln's first day in the asylum. Dr. Patterson wrote in the ledger that her case was "one of mental impairment which probably dates back to the murder of President Lincoln-More pronounced since the death of her son, but especially aggravated during the last 2 months." ...

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4. The Experiment

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pp. 73-92

On the morning of September 11,1875, Mary Todd Lincoln arrived in Chicago on a 9:00 train. Robert met her at the railway station and then accompanied her that afternoon on the 3:40 train to Springfield. The Lincolns rode in a private car belonging to the president of the railroad. ...

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5. A New Trial

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pp. 93-107

Until Robert received Mr. Edwards' letter of January 14, 1876, he seemed unaware of the severity ofthe crisis. To be sure, his flexibility in dealing with his mother's case was severely limited by forces beyond his control. The law, for example, did not seem to accommodate a full discharge, as he had told John M. Palmer two days before Christmas: ...

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6. Conclusion

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pp. 120-144

Free at last, Mary Todd Lincoln remained in Springfield only until summer's end. Although Elizabeth continued to argue that her sister should at least make Springfield her headquarters, Mary said that the town held too many sad memories. She departed in September 1876 with a new favorite, Edward Lewis Baker, Jr. …

Gallery

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Appendix

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pp. 147-184

Notes

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pp. 185-200

Index

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pp. 201-203

Author Bios, Back Cover

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pp. 221-222