The Women’s History Month program at the Adams County, Ill., History Museum - Mary Lincoln: Southern Girl, Northern Woman is this Sunday, March 12 at 2 p.m. at 332 Maine St., Quincy.

The Women’s History Month program at the Adams County, Ill., History Museum - Mary Lincoln: Southern Girl, Northern Woman is this Sunday, March 12 at 2 p.m. at 332 Maine St., Quincy.  Lincoln scholar Dr. Stacy Pratt McDermott will give a presentation and then she will be available for a book signing.  Mary Lincoln: Southern Girl, Northern Woman is available in the History Museum Gift Shop.  The event is sponsored by the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County and Arts Quincy.  Join us for a great conversation, food, drink and period music.  The program is free and open to the public.

Mary Todd Lincoln was born into a wealthy and large, slave owning Kentucky family.  The life of Kentucky gentry afforded Mary a childhood of comfort and ease.  She had an extraordinary formal education, which was unheard of in the early 19th century.  Her interest in politics was also extremely important to her relationship of her husband, Abraham Lincoln.  This upbringing also helped Mary forge a toughness, which her detractors regularly fail to acknowledge.

The smart, tough and compassionate aspects of Mary Todd Lincoln’s personality are often overshadowed by the fragility of her psyche.  She had an intense love and devotion for her husband and children.  In some cases this inspired hostilities and pettiness toward those Mary viewed as enemies.  Critics have pounced on the negative aspects of her character and presented a dichotomy of a kind, intellectual, compassionate Abraham Lincoln and a hateful, deceitful and unlikeable Mary Lincoln. 

It is this widespread perception that motivated McDermott, author of Mary Lincoln: Southern Girl, Northern Woman to first defend Mary and then to dedicate herself to writing a biography on the controversial first lady.