Mary Todd Lincoln, former President Abraham Lincoln’s wife, led a controversial life during her time as first lady. Her fierce sarcastic comments, high spending, and alleged mental illness caused turmoil during her time in the White House, but she was also a woman of intelligence and compassion.
Throughout her time in the White House, she worked as a volunteer nurse in the Union hospitals. She played a major role in keeping soldiers’ spirits high by visiting them and making rounds.
When the war ended, she backed the establishments of a nursing corps and helped raise money for former slaves. She also helped freed slaves and Union soldiers through the Sanitary Commission and Contraband Relief Association, which were established during Lincoln’s administration, providing them with supplies and medical care.
Mary died of a stroke in 1882 at the age of 63 at her sister’s home in Springfield, Illinois.