Mary Todd Lincoln, wife and widow at the Brookline Public Library on Nov. 21

BROOKLINE – The Brookline Public Library will present Sally Mummey in her portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 6:30 p.m.

A renown presenter of Mary Todd Lincoln in the country today for her looks, dress and first-person presentation, Mummey portrays a lively, accurate and well-researched Mary Todd Lincoln in this Chautauqua living history program. As a historian, she brings to life the complicated contrasts of this most famous and historically significant first lady. Through the use of authentically reproduced clothing, lectures and storytelling, authentic speeches and informal, spontaneous dialogue, she brings to life the many facets of this unconventional modern woman of the 1860s, who was perhaps the most misunderstood of her time.

Against her family’s wishes, Todd married Abraham Lincoln, the man she loved. Mrs. Lincoln will reflect on the period spanning from before the assassin’s bullet that changed the course of her life – and that of the nation as well – through the death of her husband and into widowhood. Reduced to obscurity, Mrs. Lincoln lived out the remainder of her life a troubled widow – disillusioned, isolated and overshadowed by her husband’s legacy.

The narrow and limited confines of the Victorian world could not hold the complexities of Mary Todd Lincoln. Born to a prominent family in Lexington, Ky., Todd was known for her intelligence and wit. She was courted by many men, two of whom later became presidential candidates. With first-hand knowledge of slavery from her childhood, Mrs. Lincoln grew into a strong advocate for abolition. She was considered an intellectual equal in the company of well-educated men, in an era when a woman’s success in life was measured only by marriage and motherhood.

Mrs. Lincoln’s outspokenness, ambition and drive often provoked disdain from her husband’s Cabinet and Washington social elite. Because of her high profile and outspokenness, she became a political lightning rod and was attacked by the press as an effort to discredit her husband and block his re-election.

This program is free and open to the public.