One of America’s most compelling First Ladies, Mary Lincoln possessed a unique vantage point on the events of her time, even as her experiences of the constraints of gender roles and the upheaval of the Civil War reflected those of many other women. The story of her life presents a microcosm through which we can understand the complex and dramatic events of the nineteenth century in the United States, including vital issues of gender, war, and the divisions between North and South. The daughter of a southern, slave-holding family, Mary Lincoln had close ties to people on both sides of the war. Her life shows how the North and South were interconnected, even as the country was riven by sectional strife.
In this concise narrative, Stacy Pratt McDermott presents an evenhanded account of this complex, intelligent woman and her times. Supported by primary documents and a robust companion website, this biography introduces students to the world of nineteenth-century America, and the firsthand experiences of Americans during the Civil War.
"Stacy Pratt McDermott gives us a fresh perspective on one of the most maligned First Ladies in American history. The author presents an even-handed treatment of the controversies in Mrs. Lincoln’s life, coupled with a thoughtful exploration of gender, class, family, and personality in the nineteenth century. Mary Lincoln: Southern Girl, Northern Woman is an important addition to the field of Civil War studies."
—Joan E. Cashin, author of First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis’s Civil War
"McDermott, assistant director/associate editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, presents a rare and evenhanded account of her complex life and times. Anyone wishing to delve further into the life of this fascinating woman should read this book first to form a backdrop of the times, attitudes, and circumstances in which she lived. [Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.]"
-R. J. Havlik, emeritus, University of Notre Dame, CHOICE Review
Part I: Mary Lincoln
Chapter 1: Mary Ann Todd
Chapter 2: From Mary Todd to Mary Lincoln
Chapter 3: Mrs. Abraham Lincoln
Chapter 4: Mrs. President Lincoln
Chapter 5: The Widow Lincoln
Part II: Documents