I pulled a Lincoln book of my shelf today and found folded inside it’s pages a newspaper article. It must have been there when I bought the book from the used bookstore. Someone had written the date in pencil at the top of the article: “May 19, 1952.” The article was from The Daily Tribune, Royal Oak, Michigan. I was surprised to discover that it concerned the Abraham Lincoln/Ann Rutledge story-seeing that I had just posted on this blog about that subject yesterday. I will now post the content of the article:
LETTER BY LINCOLN’S WIFE CLAIMS ANN RUTLEDGE WAS MERELY A MYTH
Chicago (U.P.) —–Abraham Lincoln’s wife, in an angry letter to a friend, said it was a “myth” that Lincoln carried a life-long torch for his boyhood sweetheart Ann Rutledge, a Chicago attorney said today.
Willard L. King said he found the letter while searching for research material for a biography on one-time Supreme Court Justice David Davis.
The letter was written by Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln to Davis on March 4, 1867, after Mrs. Lincoln was a widow, King said. In it, Mrs. Lincoln denounced a statement made by William H. Herndon, Lincoln’s pre-Presidency law partner, that Lincoln “for the last 23 years…had known no joy.”
JUST A MYTH—–
“I shall always remain firm in my conviction that Ann Rutledge is a myth—for in all his confidential communications, such a romantic name was never breathed,” Mrs. Lincoln wrote. “Nor did his life or joyous laugh lead me to suppose his heart was in any unfortunate woman’s grave but in the proper place with his loved wife and children,” the letter continued.
Herndon and other Lincoln historians have told how Lincoln fell in love during his youth with a young and beautiful girl named Ann Rutledge. Ann died before they could be married. The incident has been regarded as the first major tragedy of the martyred President’s life.
Her letter went on to say that she “would not believe an assertion of Herndon’s if he would take a thousand oaths upon the Bible.” “As you justly remark, each and every one has a little romance in their early days,” Mrs. Lincoln’s letter said. “But as my husband was truth in itself and as he always assured me he cared for no one but myself,” Mrs. Lincoln said it was impossible for her to believe Lincoln ever was pining for Ann Rutledge. The letter was written to Davis, one of Lincoln’s close friends, Kind said, urging him to caution Herndon about his statements in the future.Mail this post