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The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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Lincoln, Mary Todd, First Lady
Autograph letter signed ("Mrs. A.L."), in pencil, 10 pages (8 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.; 215 x 140 mm), 5 February 1882, to the Reverend Noyes W. Miner, on stationery of Miller's Hotel in New York City; some light soiling, more pronounced on first and last pages.
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Failing health and financial woes. Although an inveterate exaggerator of her difficulties, Mrs. Lincoln was in failing health and, at the time of writing this letter, just a few months before her death. Concerned about finances, she was agonizing over Congressional action being undertaken to increase her pension and make it commensurate with that granted the recently widowed Mrs. Garfield. Congress passed the measure on 21 January 1882 but she continued to fear that President Arthur might not sign it. In a highly dramatic  tone, Mrs. Lincoln writes to the Reverend Noyes W. Miner, the clergyman who befriended her near the end of her life: "I am growing very ill with anxiety . . . no one knows accurately whether the Bill for $15,000 was passed the house with the $2000.— a year Pension bill . . . (between ourselves) if  it passed with the other bill—it would be kept from me, and if the $15,000.— passed the house of Representatives-- they would try to prevent Arthur from signing it.  I plead with you to write  to Mr. Springer about it all & please enclose me his reply without the least delay. The great anxiety about this business is rendering me being ill. She notes she is suspicious of Lincoln friend David Davis, the United States Senator, and makes mention of Susan B. Anthony.

The Reverend Miner travelled to Washington to press Mrs. Lincoln's claims. Meanwhile, Mrs. Lincoln spent the winter of 1881–1882 in New York seeking treatment for her infirmities at Miller's Hotel on West 26th Street. This pencilled letter is on the hotel's stationery, advertising"Turkish, Electric and Roman Baths . . . Dr. E.P. Miller, Proprietor."

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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