Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Lincoln, Mary Todd (1818-1882) to James Orne

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03651 Author/Creator: Lincoln, Mary Todd (1818-1882) Place Written: Frankfurt am Main, [Germany] Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 4 February 1870 Pagination: 6 p. ; 20.5 x 13 cm

Summary of Content: Writes that she has been suffering from an illness this winter which her doctor believes is an inflammation of the spine brought on by great mental stress. He has advised her to go south, but she admits candidly that she does not have to money to do so. Describes the pain she is experiencing and her fear that she will lose the ability to walk. Comments shamefully that with her small means, she can only stay in second class boarding houses. Observes that the doctor told her that all of Germany would like to see the wife of such a great man put in a more comfortable position; bitterly remarks that her husband's service to the country has not been rewarded. Begs Orne to use his influence to have her affairs settled and get her some money so that she may travel to a milder climate. Requests that he keep this letter private. Written on mourning stationery with cross-writing on pages one and three.

People: Lincoln, Mary Todd, 1818-1882.
Orne, James H., fl. 1870.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: Woman Author, Women's History, First Lady, Health and Medical, Finance, Travel, Landlord and Tenant, Lincoln Assassination, President Global History and US Foreign Policy, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Government and Civics

Sub Era: Reconstruction