Sparkling with humor and insight, Sally Mummey, as Mary Todd Lincoln, shares stories of life and love; triumphs and challenges; and life in the White House during the tumultuous years of the Civil War.
Born of an aristocratic family in Lexington, KY, Mary Todd married Abraham Lincoln, the man she loved, against her family’s wishes. She partnered with him to achieve their goal of becoming President and First Lady.
The narrow and limited confines of the Victorian world could not hold the complexities of Mary Todd Lincoln. Mary Todd’s ambition from childhood was to be First Lady. Known for her intelligence and wit, she was courted by many men, two of whom later became presidential candidates. With firsthand knowledge of slavery from her childhood in Kentucky, Mrs. Lincoln grew into a strong advocate for abolition. She was considered an intellectual equal in the company of well-educated men, in an era when a woman’s success in life was measured only by marriage and motherhood.
Lincoln’s outspokenness, ambition, and drive often provoked disdain from her husband’s Cabinet and Washington’s social elite. Because of her high profile and outspokenness, she became a political lightning rod and was attacked by the press in an effort to discredit her husband and block his reelection. Later historians would write about her with distortion. Only a resolute woman – with an intense will - could have survived such a devastating onslaught from her contemporaries.
One of the finest presenters of Mrs. Lincoln in the country today in looks, dress, and first-person presentation, Mummey portrays a lively, accurate, and well-researched Mary Todd Lincoln in this Chautauqua living history program. As a historian, Mummey brings to life the complicated contrasts of this most famous and historically significant First Lady. Through the use of authentically reproduced clothing (from the corset to the parasol), lectures and storytelling, authentic speeches, and informal, spontaneous dialogue, she brings to life the many facets of this unconventional modern woman of the 1860s, who was perhaps the most misunderstood of her time. Her presentations appeal to audiences of all ages, as she remains in character throughout her performance. In effect, Mummey becomes Mary Todd Lincoln.
This program is free and open to the public. The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer period. Refreshments will be provided. For more information on this and other library programs call (802) 368-7506 or visit www.readwithus.org.