01023 - Mary Todd Lincoln; Inaugural Dress, March 4th 1865 [LC-DIG-cwpbh-01023]
The inauguration of the president has always been a dramatic and colorful affair, and this was certainly the case in March of 1865. The war was coming to a close and Mary Lincoln could see that the presidents time would move to peace. She had much to look forward to. Hoping to be able to enjoy the celebration with him, she ordered pearls and diamonds to compliment her outfit. It is reported that at the time of Lincolns' death, she owned nearly a full year of the president's salary just in jewels and gowns!
This was one of the last happy times that Mary would have. The end of the war in sight and Washington D.C. enjoyed itself. Even after the president left the ball at midnight, Mary stayed and continued to dance the night away. Less than six weeks later the South had surrendered, the war at a close, she could now spend more time with her husband, and how better to enjoy that time than a night at the theatre.
She survived her husband for just over 17 years, suffering from mental breakdowns over the loss of her husband and three of her four children. After legal struggles over her mental competency, she left the United States and lived in France for several years. In failing health, she returned to Springfield and spent her remaining years housebound in the home of her sister and died there in 1882.