Tomb Case 1

MS-1865.04.25 – Tad requests suit of black

Tad in Mourning

The night of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, his youngest son Thomas “Tad” Lincoln was at Grover’s Theatre in Washington watching a performance of “Aladdin!” The manager interrupted the play to announce the president had been shot. Tad was devastated and taken back to the White House.

President Andrew Johnson allowed Tad and his mother to remain in the White House until late May. Although Mary remained mostly secluded in her bedroom, Tad tried to continue living the life of a 12-year-old boy, at least as much as he could under the circumstances. He dictated this letter a few days after his father’s funeral train left the capitol. That he is asking for a black suit might suggest he’s anticipating life outside the White House, but it also carries an air of tragedy, as the color may well be tied to Tad’s very visible and surely deep mourning.

Label Audio

Letter Transcription:

Tad Lincoln to Thomas Sweeney, 25 April 1865

Washington, Apl 25 1865

Thomas Sweeney,

No 1226 chesnutt, St, Phila,

please sent me that nice suit of Black, to fit me. one size larger than that Gus. given me

& oblige

T. Lincoln

Letter Audio

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