Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln experienced much personal grief during their quarter century of marriage. Perhaps most difficult of all, three of their four sons never lived to adulthood. In this scene in the White House, Mary tries to help her dying third son, Willie. What is particularly striking about this scene is the way it illustrates the great personal cost of serving as president of the United States. There is a party occurring downstairs, and President Lincoln spent the evening going back and forth between the White House gala and his son's deathbed.
Photos and text © Gleaves Whitney 2005