Mary Lincoln’s Gala Bash

Presidential History Blog

An artistic representation of Lincoln’s White House Gala Reception.

In early February, 1862, President and Mrs. Lincoln hosted their only huge party at the White House.

Mrs. Lincoln: New FLOTUS

For nineteen years Mrs. Abraham Lincoln was only a middle class Springfield, Illinois housewife – and the middle class part was in those later years. The early years were a struggle. When Lincoln was elected President, his last year’s earnings were $6000. Reasonable and comfortable, but hardly opulent.

Now, as President, he had an annual salary of $25,000, and the new First Lady could finally have everything she had always wanted. Fine furniture, gowns, jewelry, an elegant venue for entertaining, and perhaps most of all, attention.

FLOTUS Mary Lincoln resented the inference that she was unequal to her position in society.

When she first came to Washington in late February, 1861, Mary Lincoln was blindsided by misconceptions. The Northerners…

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