Mary Lincoln to Abraham Lincoln - Abraham Lincoln to Mary Lincoln

When the Lincolns departed for Washington in October 1847, it was intended that Mary and the two boys, Robert and Edward, would remain in the capital with Abraham for his two-year term. However, a hectic schedule for the freshman congressman and cramped quarters for the young family convinced Mary to take the children and head to her father’s home in Lexington by April 1848.

In the letter on the left, written by Mary to her husband on May 1st, 1848, she writes about being exhausted and the obstacles of raising two young sons. She expresses her loneliness offering, “how much, I wish instead of writing, we were together this evening, I feel very sad away from you.” In the letter on the right, written by Abraham on June 12th, 1848, he speaks of political matters and his great desire to be reunited with his family. He closes his remarks with “Come on just as soon as you can–I want to see you, and our dear-dear boys very much.”

Mary letter gift of the Barrett Collection Fund, 1952

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Mary Lincoln to Abraham Lincoln, May 1848

Lexington May– 48–

My Dear Husband–

You will think indeed, that old age has set its seal, upon my humble self, that in few or none of my letters, I can remember the day of the month, I must confess it as one of my peculiarities; I feel wearied & tired enough to know, that this is Saturday night, our babies are asleep, and as Aunt Maria B– is coming in for me tomorrow night, morning, I think the chances will be rather dull that I should answer your last letter tomorrow–. I have just received a letter from Frances W, it related in an especial manner to the box. I had desired her to send, she thinks with you (as good persons general agree) that it would cost more than it would come to, and it might be lost on the road, I rather expect she has examined the specified articles, and thinks as Levi says, they are hard bargains– But it takes so many changes to do children, particularly in summer, that I thought it might save me a few stitches– I think I will write her a few lines this evening, directing her not to send them– She says Willie is just recovering from another spell of sickness, Mary or none of them were well– Springfield
she reports as dull as usual– Uncle S– was to leave there on yesterday for Ky– Our little Eddy, has recovered from his little spell of sickness– Dear boy, I must tell you a little story about him– Boby in his wanderings to day, came across in a yard, a little kitten, your hobby, he says he asked a man for it, he brought it triumphantly to the house, so soon as Eddy, ^spied it^ his tenderness, broke forth, he made them bring it water, fed it with bread himself, with his own dear hands, he was a delighted little creature over it, in the midst of his happiness Ma came in, she you must know dislikes the whole cat-race, I thought in a very unfeeling manner, she ordered the servant near, to throw it out, which of course, was done–, Ed—screaming & protesting loudly against the proceeding, she never appeared to mind his screams, which were long & loud, I assure you– Tis unusual for her now a days, to do any thing quite so striking, she is very obliging & accommodating, but if she thought any of us, were on her hands again, I believe she would be worse than ever– In the next moment she appeared in a good humor, I know she did not intend to offend me– By the way, she has just sent me up a glass of ice cream, for which this warm evening, I am duly grateful. The country is so delightful I am going to spend two or three weeks out there, it will doubtless benefit the children– Grandma has received a letter from Uncle James Parker of Miss
saying he & his family would be up by the twenty fifth of June, would remain here some little time & go on to Philadelphia to take their oldest daughter there to school, I believe it would be a good chance for me to pack up & accompany them– You know I am so fond of sight seeing, & I did not get to New York or Boston, or travel the lake route–3 But perhaps, dear husband, like the irresistible Col Mc, cannot do without his wife next winter, and must needs take her with him again– I expect you would cry aloud against it– How much, I wish instead of writing, we were together this evening, I feel very sad away from you– Ma & myself rode out to Mr Bell’s splendid place this afternoon, to return a call, the house and grounds are magnificent, Frances W would have died over their rare exotics– It is growing late, these summer eves are short, I expect my long scrawls, for truly such they are, weary you greatly– if you come on, in July or August I will take you to the springs– Patty Webb’s, school in L– closes the first of July, I expect Mr Webb, will come on for her, I must go down about that time & carry on quite a flirtation, you know we, Always had a penchant that way– With love I must bid you good night– Do not fear the children, have forgotten you, I was only jesting– Even E– eyes brighten at the mention of your name–
My love to all–

Truly yours


Letter Audio

Abraham Lincoln to Mary Lincoln, 12 June 1848

Washington, June 12. 1848–

My dear wife:

On my return from Philadelphia yesterday, where, in my anxiety I had been led to attend the Whig convention, I found your last letter–

I was so tired and sleepy, having ridden all night, that I could not answer it till to-day: and now I have to do so in the H. R– The leading matter in your letter, is your wish to return to this side of the Mountains–Will you be a good girl in all things, if I consent? Then come along, and that as soon as possible– Having got the idea in my head, I shall be impatient till I see you– You will not have money enough to bring you; but I presume your uncle will supply you, and I will refund him here– By the way you do not mention whether you have received the fifty dollars I sent you– I do not much fear but that you got it; because the want of it would have induced you say something in relation to it– If your uncle is already at Lexington, you might induce him to start on earlier than the first of July; he could stay in Kentucky ^longer^ on his return, and so make up for lost time– Since I began this letter, the H. R. has passed a resolution for adjourning on the 17th July, which probably will pass the Senate. I hope this letter will not be disagreeable to you; which, together with the circumstances under which I write, I hope will excuse me for not writing a
longer one– Come on just as soon as you can– I want to see you, and our dear-dear boys very much– Every body here wants to see our dear Bobb–.


A Lincoln

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