Case 2


The Lincoln Family

Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd on November 4, 1842. Over the next two decades, they would have four children together—all boys. The couple had their share of rocky patches, but they also appear to have been devoted parents. We can see a little of that in how they gave each of their children nicknames: Robert was Bob, Edward was Eddy, William was Willie, and Thomas was Tad.

Yet tragedy stalked the Lincoln family. As a boy, Abraham lost his mother and sister. Young Mary lost her mother. Of their four sons, only Robert lived to adulthood—later having three children of his own. And perhaps most traumatically, Abraham fell to an assassin’s bullet while Mary was seated next to him. She never fully recovered and spent the rest of her life in a state of public mourning.

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During the Civil War, little Tad Lincoln famously (or notoriously) had the run of the White House and was obsessed with the military. This model is an undeveloped prototype, but Abraham Lincoln had it sent to the White House (with the firing pin bent so it wouldn’t fire) as a toy for Tad.

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The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum proudly holds the largest collection of items related to the Lincoln family. The objects stretch back to Lincoln’s ancestors in the Colonial Era to the “last Lincolns” in the 1980s. It is a treasure trove for learning about this critical and human part of the Lincoln story.

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It is easy to imagine the Lincoln Home brimming with activity. Mary took care of the house with some help from servants, while Abraham loved to get down on the floor and play with the boys. The house was also home to various pets—including the Lincolns’ dog Fido and numerous kittens.

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