A Very Interesting Tid-Bit About Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

Say what you will about Mary Todd Lincoln’s legendary temper. Talk about her extreme emotionalism. Talk about her erratic behaviors-her spending sprees, her irrational fears. Talk about her insane jealousies. One thing you must know-that is almost NEVER mentioned:

                             Mary Todd Lincoln sufferred from a brain tumor. 


According to the Civl War Times Illustrated article Mary Todd Lincoln-a Profile in the November 1968 issue, Patricia Bell wrote:

” An autopsy performed at her death revealed that Mrs. Lincoln had been suffering from a brain tumor; all her life she had been subject to severe headaches. To what degree her shrewishness and fits of hysteria and irrationality were caused by physical desease it is, of course, impossible to determine today. But the tumor and her emotional immaturity combined to produce a very difficult, and finally, woman. “

Author Bell started off her article on Mrs. Lincoln by noting that history has been unkind to Mary Todd Lincoln; indeed, a modern writer has called her “the most tragic woman character in American history, the most maligned and pilloried.” 

I had never heard about the brain tumor; have you? While I don’t think it explains everything about Mary Lincoln’s behaviors-it does give me pause to reflect and wonder. It would be reasonable to at least attribute some of her actions to the tumor? Since the autopsy was done upon her death and the news of the tumor made known-writers have been most unkind, indeed…

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