Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Abraham Lincoln scholars and researchers have long been almost as fascinated by his troubled relationship and marriage with Mary Todd Lincoln as much as by Lincoln himself. Innumerable books have been written about their marriage and a PBS documentary further investigated their relationship. And certainly, a large number of biographies have been written just about Mary Todd Lincoln as well.
An excellent resource for further understanding this complicated woman is the National First Ladies' Library and Museum located in my home city of Canton, Ohio. This National Historic Site was the home of Ida Saxton McKinley, the wife of the nation's 25th President, William McKinley. This Library/Museum is the only such site dedicated to research of every First Lady in our country's history from Martha Washington to Laura Bush. Each First Lady's basic biography is located on the website as well.
The Museum portion of the complex houses special exhibits, including gowns worn by the various First Ladies, photos, various letters and documents, etc. The Museum also hosts book signings by nationally recognized authors such as Cokie Roberts of ABC and NPR who appeared in 2005 to sign her book "Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation."
Researchers should take advantage of the Mary Todd Lincoln bibliography compiled by the Library. The bibliography is an extremely comprehensive list of books, magazines, articles and other publications about her, and her marriage to Lincoln.
The complex was the brainchild of Mary Regula, the wife of Ralph Regula, who is the 16th Congressional District Representative to Washington, D.C. Some people, myself included, have commented that this Library and Museum is a shining example of congressional pork-barrel spending and a vanity project for Mrs. Regula. On the other hand, the complex does serve an important role for providing a greater understanding of the women who helped to shape the lives and presidencies of our nation's Chief Executives. It is well worth the visit.
Should Hillary Clinton win election to the presidency in 2008, I imagine the name will have to be changed to the National First Spouses' Library.
Canton, Ohio is located about 60 miles south of Cleveland. The city is also the home of the Professional Football Hall Of Fame. Drop by and visit both!