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Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln Marriage Profile


Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Lincoln and His Family (Thomas, Abraham, Robert Todd, and Mary Todd Lincoln). Painting by S. B. Waugh engraved by W. Sartain. Philadelphia: Bradley & Co., c. 1866. Prints and Photographs Division.

Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Lincoln Related: Marriage Issues | Quotes | Children | Previous Relationships

Fast Marriage Facts - Mary and Abraham Lincoln
Met: Abt. 1839.
Married: November 4, 1842.
Marriage Ended: April 15, 1865, when Lincoln died.
First Marriage: Yes.

Did You Know?
They didn't know how to argue. Mary would throw things and scream while Abe just withdrew and walked away.

Married for 22 years, Mary and Abraham Lincoln's marriage was a stormy one.

The Lincolns had different personalities and opposing temperaments. They both struggled with depression. Mary was used to luxury while Abe had a background of poverty and hardship. Mary was well educated and Abe had little formal schooling.

Their love for one another wasn't enough to overcome the grief, disappointments, and lack of communication in their marriage.


Abraham Lincoln: February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky.

Mary Ann Todd: December 13, 1818 in Lexington, Kentucky.


Abraham Lincoln: Abe died on April 15, 1865 in Washington, D.C. Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed by an assassin. He was 56 years old when he died. He and Mary had been married for 22 years.
Mary was so grief-stricken that she didn't leave home to attend Abraham's funeral.

Abraham is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois next to his sons and his wife. Lincoln Tomb

"Like a fairy godmother endowed with some life-giving potion, she tried to kiss her husband into consciousness, begging him to wake up and trying, as had often been necessary during their marriage, to catch his attention through some extravagant gesture."
Source: Jean H. Baker. Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography. page 245.

"Her grief became her chief preoccupation. She reminded herself of it constantly. She would not let herself forget it. She would not let her friends forget it. She couldn't believe what had happened to her. Because you must understand, that not only did she lose the man she truly loved, her great partner in life, but the man who had made her the First Lady of the Land, the man who gave her status, the man who gave her importance, an identity."
Source: Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided. PBS.org.

Mary Todd: Mary died on July 15, 1882 in Springield, Illinois at the home of her sister, Elizabeth Edwards. Mary was 63 years old when she died. Mary is buried next to Abraham.

"She began to wander hotel corridors in her nightgown, was certain someone was trying to poison her, complained that an Indian spirit was removing wires from her eyes, and continued her frantic spending, purchasing yard after yard of elegant drapery when she had no windows in which to hang it."
Source: Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided. PBS.org.

Mary's son Robert had her committed to a private sanitarium in Batavia, Illinois, Bellevue Place. Although Mary was only there for three months, she never forgave Robert.

How Abe and Mary Met:

Around 1839, Mary moved to Springfield so she could live with her sister, Elizabeth Todd Edwards. Mary was the cousin of John Todd Stuart, Lincoln's first law partner. Mary and Abe moved in the same social circle and met at a dance at her sister's home in Springfield, Illinois. They had an "on-again, off-again courtship."
Source: Beatrice Gormley. First Ladies: Women Who Called the White House Home. page 38.

Having doubts about his love for Mary, Abe called off their wedding. Abe's backing out of the wedding they had planned for January 1, 1841 was difficult for both of them.

"Lincoln became so depressed that friends feared he would take his own life. He was miserable, he said, mostly because he had wounded Mary's feelings. He felt he could not live with her, but could not live without her, either."
Source: Harold Holzer. Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America ... 2012. pg. 24.
"During the summer of 1842, after the couple had gone nearly eighteen months without personal contact, mutual friends conspired to bring Mary and Abraham back together."
Source: Doris Kearns Goodwin. Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. page 101.

Wedding Date:

After dating again secretly, with just a day's notice, Mary and Abe were married on the evening of November 4, 1842 in Springfield, Illinois in the parlor of the home of her sister, Elizabeth Edwards. Mary wore a wedding dress that belonged to her sister Frances and she wore a pearl necklace.

Rev. Charles Dresser, an Episcopal minister, performed the wedding ceremony that included two bridesmaids. Neither Mary's or Abraham's parents attended the wedding.

Mary's gold wedding ring was inscribed with the words "A.L. to Mary, Nov. 4, 1842. Love is eternal."

Abraham's nickname for Mary was "Molly." After their first two sons were born, he called Mary "Mother." Mary called Abe "Mr. Lincoln." They shared a love of poetry and politics.


Abraham Lincoln: Lawyer, politician, 16th President of the United States.


Abe and Mary purchased the home of Rev. Dresser two years later in 1844. It was in downtown Springfield, Illinois on the corner of Eighth and Jackson streets, now 413 South Eighth Street. They lived there for 17 years. Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Books and Video:

First Ladies: Women Who Called the White House Home
by Beatrice Gormley
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Presidents & First Ladies of the United States
by Doranne Jacobson
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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
by Doris Kearns Goodwin
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Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography
by Jean H. Baker
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Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided (DVD)
by PBS.org
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Issues and Problems in Mary and Abraham Lincoln's Marriage

Quotes about the Marriage of Mary and Abraham Lincoln

Mary and Abraham Lincoln's Children

Abraham Lincoln's Previous Relationships

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