[Mary Todd Lincoln] Anonymous Letter to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles asking him to "request Mr. Lincoln to call home Mrs. Lincoln. She is disgracing herself & mortifying her friends attending Beecher's meetings". One page, 5" x 8", no place or date. Unfortunately the writer and precise circumstances of this rather nasty anonymous letter have never been discovered, but it dates to the spring of 1861 when Mrs. Lincoln visited New York on a shopping trip, accompanied by a small party including her favored cousin Elizabeth Grimsley. The women are known to have attended Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's services at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn as well as Laura Keene's theatre. Accompanied by a small typed note signed by Lincoln collector William H. Townsend, Lexington, Ky., stating that the letter was lot 43 in the January 1924 auction of Welles papers held by Stan V. Henkels of Philadelphia. Mary Lincoln's behavior and style were often criticized, but this is a unique bit of malignity, interesting for its association with the great preacher. The letter is evenly toned with one vertical fold; fine.

    : Turner, part of lot 130; Kunhardt, part of lot 13.

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    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
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