tv Today in Washington CSPAN January 17, 2012 2:00am-6:00am EST
most of all my mother was a patriot. she believed that her time in the white house was the greatest privilege and worked hard to be worthy of the honor. she loved my father and her courage held this country together after his death. and when it was over, she resumed the life of a private citizen, a status she cherished. she found the strength to create a new life for herself and a great new world. although john and i would have preferred to stay near the penny candy store in hyannisport she remarried, took us to greece and expanded our horizons horizons a measure of a big. she devoured everything she could about about ancient civilization and we need her unsuccessful effort to teach us french. [laughter] them like so many women of her generation she went back to work when her children were grown. she took tremendous satisfaction from her job as an editor and from the fact that it was a job she could have gotten if she
would have never married at all. she loved her colleagues in her office. she enjoyed the next big bestseller. she was excited when she landed michael jackson's autobiography and she was proud to bring quality literature to a wide audience and she was the first to publish the works of the egyptian nobel laureate, in english. her love of history continue to inspire her. she published an early book about sally hemmings and was always trying to get us to read the only known diary of an napoleonic footsoldier she discovered in an obscure library. and she continued to advocate for historic preservation, mixed-use -- and the quality of urban life. she led to save grand central station and secure that they drew picture with the landmark supreme court decision. though she rarely talks about herself and gave almost no interviews, her evolution as a public figure and her life as a private citizen inspired millions of women to live life
on their own terms and continues to do so today. when i was growing up, she often used to say that she thought american history was boring because there weren't enough women in it. i am proud that she helped to change that and made possible the world that we are fortunate to live in today. now i would like to share a few of my favorite excerpts with you. first, you'll hear a description of my father's reading habits and then a section on the cuban missile crisis and finally a brief description of the white house restoration. i hope you enjoy them. [applause] ♪ ♪ >> during these times, you captive breeding. how did you manage to do that?
>> thursday or some thing.eú what he was always looking for something. not just a diversion. he didn't want to waste a single second. >> the president commented on what other issues the blockadeeú or what. >> that was later and that was never told to me until much later. he did tell me about a creasy telegram that came through when might very war like we were that looks like khrushchev had where he might dismantle lit and i
remember jack being really upset about that and then deciding that they would just answer first. i also remember him telling me very early county said what he really wanted to put on line and why if it happened you keep aeú straight face and how could you not say a duty to say you rat sitting there. he described that to me and we remember another thing. he wrote me a letter about how this he had one of the worst days of the ball and it goteú loose over alaska or something. >> violated its airspace. >> my god, you know, then the russians might have said we were
it was going on just maybe two more days. what >> the situation room will or something here coming to ask. just the wrote a letter toeú mcnamara afterwards but everyone had. ♪ >> how does the president feeleú about restoration of the white house? >> well he was interested in it. he would always get interested in everything that he cared about was nervous about. he wanted to be sure it was donú
the right way so he sent clark clifford to see me. clark clifford was really nervous because he tried to persuade me not to do it, which jack never -- he said you just can't touch the white house. he said it so strange. everyone -- america feels so strangely about it. and if you try to make any changes it will just be like that. and i said it won't be like the truman balcony and they told him all about. dupont and so as it went along bit by bit and argues that this committee of and certain legal things and clark is very good about setting up the guide. jack was going along sort of good counsel. i mean, he was so excited about it. >> was there any criticism of the things you did in the white house? >> no, the most incredibleeú interest. and then the tourists would start drilling in. and then we would come home
saying we had more people today after you found the monroe there in the eisenhower's. the guidebook was teasing mcnally about it. so proud. i was so happy that i could do something that made him proud of me because i tell you one wonderful thing about him i was never any different once i was in the white house than i was before. but suddenly everything had been a liability before. your hair, that you spoke french, that you didn't just adore the campaign and you can bake bread with flower up to your arms. we got in the white house and all the things i had always done suddenly became wonderful. i was so heavy for jack that he could be proud of me then. it made me so happy
>> good evening. can you hear us all right? in her foreword to this caroline said it was the gathering of the most fascinating people and you could ever hope to meet and thanks to these remarkable interviews which we can hear as well as read we are privileged to attend a gathering of the fascinating people of the past will, people ranging from edmund burke 12 onion burke. [laughter] at the center of the gathering is the family living in a home that has famously not been welcoming to its inhabitants, has been likened to a prison. michael, i want to start with you. you have studied many presidencies, the franklin roosevelt presidency, the lyndon johnson. were you struck by how many times the word "happy" came up in these conversations? >> i was.
and one thing that she says more than once is that when her husband is elected in 1960 she had a novel reaction very unlike most first incoming lease. she was terrified and she was depressed, partly because she just couldn't deal with it partly because she thought it would wreck her family life, that there would be fishable and so many pressures and she was amazed by what she says it actually had the opposite effect. during their marriage since 1953, john kennedy had run for vice president, run for the election of the senate, run for president. and so, was gone she said almost every weekend very much a part the first time. now they were there in that house. he worked in the oval office. they were together in physical proximity a lot more. so, i think that there was an exploration finding that contrary to what she expected they really were their happiest years. >> we heard about her
interesting self campaigning in wisconsin. >> she just loved wisconsin. [laughter] >> it's a good thing that nobody is running there this year. >> i don't know if these proceedings are being televised in wisconsin. >> i don't remember -- >> she is extremely fond of wisconsin. [laughter] just don't read that part. speed there is a word in your transcript i always wondered how to spell in describing wisconsin in the winter she said "eww." >> i think she says she didn't like a single person that she met in wisconsin accept the people that worked for jack, and that in west virginia she like almost everyone she met. >> that's right. but, dick, she also brought a great charisma to the art of campaigning and was an asset from will before the election. in the hard work of the daily politics, how did the staff
feels about her? >> i'm sorry but she's not as happy about wisconsin as i saw her. we were in a mean streak broken down house and the west headquarters and i remember her being there with writing and things and of leased entertaining the people who came the town of who she was and wanted to visit with her and did so why do not remember that part of that. there was a pastor salesman of the newspaper and eventually she was riding with a president because kenny o'donnell told me
this and she said, you know, i bought an ad, and she -- i wrote that's my money. so it was not what they hoped it would be. but thereafter in west virginia she was great, and she was marvelous. the best part about her was if you have got an assignment for it was done completely festively and as beautifully as it possibly could be. so if you own the committee, you had better make sure that we did everything. but she was very good in that. >> one of the fascinating things is that there was a film crew doing a documentary of the wisconsin primary, which i'm sure many of you have seen. just to give you a sense of how
far she came in such a short period of time she is standing there in a grocery store with a microphone and getting people to come over and say hello and they are shopping for that kind of thing. so that we have had some influence on her quite deservedly. >> when the book was published on the 15th of september there was a huge amount of media attention and the usual media got some things right and a few things not so right and a lot of attention was paid to her remarks about the obligation of a wife to subscribe to the political opinions of her husband fairly and controversial statement. i'm glad someone laughed, thank you. [laughter] and get on dhaka meter that was coming up into existence in the 60's and as you mentioned devotee friedan the physique is published in 53 obviously she has very independent thoughts. she is a sharp judge of human
nature and all the people populating the white house and the actions happening all around her. she later did work. so where do you see her as a feminist and evolution? >> i associate it with an unwilling feminist in the early 1960's. she explicitly says in the oral history i'm not a feminist as the social secretary. but when you read -- when you listen to harass someone asked her line said very well she came to the white house. yes she decided to do it in her way. she found for herself an enormous project which was restoring the white house, which was probably three careers of the same time. at the same time as she had young children. she did the job of the first lady in a way that was very much her own choice but she made other choices about her life, too. so i think by the definition of the feminism that we now suggest
i think she was an early feminist but her political the instincts that have caused her to say i'm absolutely not a feminist. >> does that track with u.s. law? >> there's no question that she was a feminist. she just basically took over and did her job that under all of this somebody might have assigned to a man because when she undertook the remodeling of the refurbishment of the correction of the mistakes that had been made in the white house, she did it with strength and intelligence that captures everybody. so it is all -- i would not dismiss her on any account, but certainly not for her lack of the way she washiness. but that wasn't her style. >> one of the observations that
jumped out at me was the extraordinary degree of physical pain he was in for much of his adult life including much of his presidency, and if i can continue with you as someone working in campaigning and in the congressional liaison was that constant pain something and you picked up on in the white house? >> no, he never complained of pain. he complained about lack of having sufficient hard water or something to relieve the back pain but he did not complain about what was happening to him. and indeed, i was really struck by the book who was sort of offering herself as the character of all illnesses including with sam rayburn, and
obviously was not giving what he should have. the latest thing was adopted in this training the week restraining and stretching that gave relief that he wasn't a complain about anything. >> mrs. kennedy tells two things that she talks about after back operations in 1954 and 1955 and one of the most poignant things she describes of a torture it was and how he went through this and then she says they later found out it was absolutely unnecessary. she says the following summer he went back to the senate and she says he looked so wonderful in his suit going around the senate floor as if there were nothing wrong than he would go back to bed at night in a hospital bed. and the other thing is when he
was president, i think that he would confirm this, the number of times we now know he was an agonizing pain you never saw it. one image of that is in the spring of 1961 the first foreign visit which was to canada and he planted a tree and had been told to bend his knees not to aggravate his back and just forgot to do it so they went over and essentially almost wrecked his back and put himself in under rubble pain which he suffered for a number of months but if you see the video if it he was so accustomed to not making people uncomfortable but even the people close to him didn't know quite what happened. >> do you think that any other president was in such constant physical discomfort including from plan roosevelt -- franklin roosevelt? >> one for instance robert kennedy says in the edition of the profiles of courage that at
least half of his days on earth were spent in physical pain and if that is the truth i think that more than franklin roosevelt absolutely. >> right. you must have been thinking about the question as you were researching this book who was a friend of all of ours. for their questions he didn't ask that you wish he had? >> everything is always 20/20 in hindsight. ayaan in those days most historians would not have thought to ask her a lot about her own experience. a first lady in those days by knowing the story as arthur schlesinger who stayed on the side of that. it's all for the purpose of the history was basically to talk about president kennedy. but we discussed this, too. there are things that since we know what happened later on you wish that he had asked. for instance, what president
kennedy might have done in vietnam and other issues that were not so important in 1964 that was in the retrospect is now very important. >> it seems like by asking there was nothing else to ask with better skills and training of the historian the decision was made to take a certain path through the story which was the path of the harvard eletes who had come down to the white house. were their stories that were not told in this? >> yes and clearly anything but arthur told because as there was the greatest author of stories about salles -- [laughter] i know specifically because they told me when they came to visit to the president he had a particular message. would you please get arthur schlesinger off the list of people who get cables.
why? because he was about the most perilous party going person in the white house. he said listen anything you can get by cable is around town by nightfall. then he said you better not. they're going to come out poorly in his book as it is. [laughter] >> one thing she says in here is how in many ways compartmentalized his life was and explicitly mentions the staff. >> yes, and you know, one of the things i found that word remarkable was real nobody in this stuff really did business in the memos we communicated by phone and conversation and
that's it. >> one reason of the program. >> that's right. >> and it made it very refreshing when you could know that something you had seen or had done wasn't because the car recorded but you could also see what -- >> was their anything in particular -- [laughter] >> nope. >> it's not too late. >> i had saved up for my book. [laughter] >> no, the thing that i remember best about all of that was when they became was about getting stuff done at the white house,
and everybody would get excited about why is so and so writing a memo or why relating that? we don't need a memo. we just get things done. i think that david remarked that we should have no historian. we should have three people of the report on what went on because that was -- that was the personal look at the president's attempt to deal with people on the staff of the people on the staff felt very, very generously with one another. generously were not so generously, but critically you bet. but not in an offensive way or not we offensive to one another also like to have been. [laughter]
but, the most important memory that i have is that the formation of the campaign that began with a fight for the control of the democratic state committee in massachusetts. spec onions work not edmund burke. >> yes and it was from the western part of the state and got to be known with onions i think because they have an onion batch. sprigg there was an onion farm as well as a bartender and some other -- >> that wasn't on typical of the leadership of the part. [laughter] >> but it hasn't changed. it started because that is when we determined that this guy that had just been elected to the senate and should take a shot at
getting control of the mechanics of the party. that is where you get recognition nationally. nobody cares who is the chairman of the democratic party in new hampshire or anyplace else. but who were the officers? if you are getting ready for a convention for people who care about who are the party leaders want to know who is in charge even though they find that being in charge doesn't put you in charge of much. so that's when we started the campaign for the control of the democratic state committee. and it was a tumultuous event that went on and on and on although i remember only clearly that it was on mother's day in the year in which the election was held when we were in the
hotel park plaza guinn and the president was interviewing the people of the state committee and asking if they supported them or not and if they did we thought they were wonderful people, and if they seemed a little hesitant we ought to find out. >> you'd remember four years later and if you wanted to get a ticket to go to the white house you better be on the right side. >> 1956 pittard speed yes. but that's when it began and it was a crucial campaign. we didn't have onionsburg -- >> who was juicy and another
gentleman referred to as a china doll. tell about that one. >> well, you know, this goes back to the hotel bill view which apparently no longer exists but was at that time a block from the presidents apartment was and right across from the state house. it was the buzzword in the they were in and out and we didn't have -- >> the had headquarters there did in the? >> perhaps, but because you just met. we have a fellow with home we call eddy smith.
why did you call whispering eddy? >> because he whispered. [laughter] >> thank you. >> they would spread rumors as quickly as you could spread a disease and they frequently did with the spread was a disease. [laughter] but as we were getting ready for the fight for the control of the state committee, we had mayor lynch of somerville who was our champion and the champion of the mccormicks, but it was his father also on the state committee, and he was about as different of a speaker as you could make. he was coarse and rough and tough, and i remember when his son was withdrawing from the
campaign for the attorney generalship or something of that nature and the father stood in the middle of the all in the mechanics hall yelling at his son sit down that is a stupid thing to do. [laughter] so he wasn't what you'd call a wise counselor who was in the back of a lot of these things. [laughter] but we got through the fight and everybody was convinced that they were a big pile of money because the kennedys were granted by this thing. how much you are getting. i went home and sleep there something waiting for me. dimare was waiting for me. [laughter] but that was the leader of the day to determine who was good and who was bad.
but that continued on, and everybody is correct people will recall where were they in the fight for the lynch, and o'neill and burke and they never did because people were still mad much later and they never would stop that. >> they were still mad about 1980 or so. [laughter] >> high hopes of talking about the entry road but it is fun to talk about. >> there are some fascinating what ifs' in the story. there's the hint of the opening to china which was anticipated in the mid-60s and the quote hang out mao and a trip to russia. did that strike you as a surprise? >> the interesting perspective to have more solid evidence from the crime of witness.
john kennedy essentially was beginning to plan his second term and to of the things he planned to do was go in the soviet union it would have been the first time a president had been there believe it or not, and also an opening to china, which in which respect given what our world is like today was enormous depression but used to say in the private save those for a second term after i am the elected. >> and lyndon johnson who we have worked extensively with doesn't spare that will in the story of how he went out one night in georgetown and had a bit too much to drink and felt he wasn't up to the job. does that track your sense of where lbj was? >> i think that mrs. kennedy if she had read this later on probably would have felt she was a little hard on lbj. this was in the spring of 1954 lbj had just become president. she wasn't happy he was beginning to overturn a number of her husband's intentions and
little personal glitches that have gone on in the previous months. and i think that if she were here the one cautionary note that perhaps she would have wanted in blazoned on the front of the book would be this is a snapshot in time, like she may have thought in the spring of 1964. it may not have tracked with her feelings leader on and a leader on she said in the history she came to resume her old fondness for lbj. she was very close to lady bird and so i think that one thing you always have to remember when you are reading this book is that some of the more fascinating opinions she didn't always keep them off later, right? >> one interesting insight into his political temperament, and this is almost the opposite of the story about where everybody remember which side you were on 1956 she said he had a remarkable magnanimity that he forgave everyone and it was a little bit self-serving because you never know who you would
need in the next fight but also proceeded from a genuine inclination to forgiveness. is that your sense of how he did politics? >> no one could understand how he could ever forgive the senator from florida his good friend who stabbed him in the back every chance. >> it was about 2%. >> whenever you need if his vote you couldn't have it and then you would find the president inviting him down to the white house for dinner. and we frequently complained about which this is absolutely no good because he continued to entertain. and happily he was determined that his career was not going to be furthered in politics and he got out. but as a word, you couldn't really understand why he could be so charitable to them. but he was for giving and his
modus operandi was if you need him tomorrow you better not stabbed him in the back today or things of that nature. he was very fair about that. >> in the times that just stood out so much to me because she says, you know, i used to tell him why are you beings who used to that guy for the last three weeks what he did to you and the president said no, he has done such and such last week which was actually very good. and the thing that he says to her is never close off the relationship so that there is no possibility of reconciliation. and i do hope that everyone is in washington right now will be at that. [applause] >> this term soft power has been invoked for about a decade and i
believe caroline uses the phrase and her foreword. i don't know if there ever was the first lady before but since you had that kind of ability to change people's attitudes around the world towards the united states and even if she doesn't talk about her political thoughts as much as we might like in these interviews there is clearly this sense that is getting a great deal to support the administration even by choice of countries to visit all the cultural work she was doing. is their anything like that before? >> she could play around corners and see other things others couldn't see. one of the most latin america which later on got very short from american presidents. she thought it wasn't important a went to costa rica, they went to mexico, they traveled there. one of the most poignant things in the book as she talks about a newspaper headline that
mrs. kennedy was nice enough to actually shake hands with little children who were from a latin-american country because the was so unusual the time. one thing i think they both felt is that one test of american power is a number of missiles and nuclear weapons and so on but oftentimes is just as important as how people think about america in their heart. that's the peace corps is about. >> there's some wonderfully of undiplomatic statements in this book. >> one or two. >> one or two, thank goodness. she named her poodle deval in the 1960's. estimate about was my footnote. >> did the surprise you? >> she says that she came to have the same opinion of french people as she did of people in wisconsin. [laughter]
export of for the same reason because wisconsin didn't overwhelmingly vote for john kennedy and the french particularly charles de gaulle was giving her husband a great deal of trouble switching to can see these things to some extent. >> there's beautiful language in the account of the cuban missile crisis just a throwaway line no difference between sleeping and waking. >> i thought that was a false signal because one of the toughest things in the story always has to deutsch and i think that you would agree we talked about this a little bit is to find out what someone -- to things, one is the death of his or her religious beliefs particularly president and the true nature of marriage and she describes the cuban missile crisis that they went together probably more during that period than perhaps any other time during the presidency he would call on her and they would go for walks on a lawn and spend a
lot of time together and that does tell you something because you're mentioning franklin roosevelt. she admired a lot more but in a moment of great anxiety i don't think he would have found her restful or supportive company probably would not have spent a lot of time with her in a crisis like this in the case of jfk whom does he turn to? >> were there any parts of this book that surprised? >> not really but i must say that i was marveled at her concern about the remodeling of the white house. the deal that she went to and that she had the research that she did, and that her ability to administer it is overwhelming. i can believe that a person
could do this unless she had been planning it for much longer than we know. estimate of was that reaction when she can to the white house and had a lovely experience with mrs. eisenhower. you have to read in the book if you didn't read the yet but she was shown to the state room and said they look like lobiondo or a hotel and there's a reason for that which i'm not sure if she knew but which is when the white house was reconstructed during the truman administration because falling down the left the walls on the outside and a scoop of everything on the inside and build new floors and so on they ran out of money so harry truman quite characteristically made a deal with the department store of new york furnished the whole ground floor of the white house and it looked that way. [laughter] but he's a absolutely right because sometimes the restoration of the white house is written off as interior
decoration or just a sort of superficial. she had to raise this money which isn't easy. she had to keep particularly to the advisers essentially colliding with one another, harry dupont and like that and sister parish also to some extent. and so if anyone doubts the fact she was able to do all this and get on time and under budget and for the white house to look the way it does today if it were not for her i think the white house would still look like a bad convention. >> they don't come off terribly well. president o eisenhower is walking around in his golf shoes putting little holes in the floor and mamie eisenhower isn't a very sympathetic figure. but i felt a little bit sorry for her because to have been succeeded by jacqueline kennedy must not have been -- >> as mrs. kennedy says things would drift to her such as
mrs. eisenhower saying of the restoration of a fear the red, blue and purple, things like that. at an interesting moment in the publications because i wasn't sure whether to listen or to read and which would be faster and really between the two you get so much more from hearing her speak although i had one alarming moment in my car i had them all bloated and i actually left richards, one cd from keith richardson. >> she would love that, wouldn't she? [laughter] >> do you think you're readers and her readers are they or should people even listen to this? >> i think that you can perhaps absorber what has been a little bit more, but when you listen i think that you are right this is probably true for most tapes of this kind i've heard caroline
talk about this. you've heard her tone of voice about you just can't possibly get from reading the words. >> we are now at the part of this event where we are taking questions and i have a few to begin. this is for you. she talks about joseph p. kennedy and rose kennedy. you must of known those individuals. to her impressions that with your memory and her interactions with them in public? >> yes. [laughter] [applause] >> a very long career in political life. a very distinguished. [laughter] >> well. [laughter] >> no, mr. kennedy was the very much a dominant figure in almost everything that went on in the political life.
his mother was even more dominant on the prayer life and get after them for all the reasons good mothers do. to make responsible children, and -- but they kept very close track of what each was doing so i would not disagree with anybody that thinks that they were enormously influential. the only thing i am conscious of however is that ambassador kennedy could not influence certain people in the democratic party. i mean, people that we were supporting he frequently did not. >> who are you picking on? [laughter]
>> welcome just really thinking about one fight that we had. and he just was not responsive. bobby was a responsible one and what happened was he had invited to become a indited the brother of a congressman from new york, and the congressman who had been very responsive to us and them wanted desperately for the indictment to be withdrawn. he refused. there was then a talk to the ambassador who said no he will do what he's going to do anyway. so, it caused us some pain but not a great deal. it's the type of thing which they would defer and if they differed he deferred because one
strong rascal. >> ambassador kennedy used to joke that he was a rubber had democrat. >> yeah. >> michael, what surprised you most? the her assessment of the key players differ from your views and other stories? >> sure, in all sorts of ways. but i think in a large sense the thing that really surprised me is if we were talking a year ago i would have said that she was a large influence during that period but i wouldn't have particularly said she was a large political figure in this administration. and i can give you read this but you have to say that because the number of times she talks manly about people but not always only about people, and you notice the people that she is very critical of what about not doing terribly well during the administration and vice versa. to some extent i think she was observing her husband's views but she talks about a few cases where for instance she was in
pakistan which has been added to her trip to india to balance it off for political reasons. for john kenneth galbraith was the ambassador to india and had known since the 1930's when he was at harvard and didn't have that kind of relationship and so for diplomatic reasons it was thought it was a good idea to imply that walter mcconaghy in pakistan have not an equal with some relationship with the president said they are sort of in plotting so on. that's funny and limit them once when i left to take this job two weeks ago. so that didn't work terribly well. but not as a result of this but having been in pakistan and washington and in action she went right back, and wrote her husband a memo saying this is exactly the kind of the ambassador who shouldn't have a job like this and went to the
state department and the ambassador served until 1966 so maybe a comment on dean rusk. >> she didn't seem to get as involved in the domestic politics would you agree? >> why don't know that she didn't get involved in domestic politics because, for instance, to talk about the monuments, the flooding. i remember going to see john, what with his then, the congressman from brooklyn who was in charge of the appropriations. >> what he had been very eager to help each? >> no, he was not. he was politically -- he was not at all anxious to help the president because he fancied himself by being in opposition to strengthen him domestically.
>> john? >> yeah. [laughter] but, he was -- i went up to call him off the floor asking him to please both the thing the president wanted and he said yes, he would, but he never forgave me for it. >> we have another question for michael. as a presidential historian are you aware of any first lady breyer to jacqueline kennedy who provided a candid revelation of her experience in the white house? >> no, and one thing in the study of her life she always broke the mold. she was always innovating and perhaps may be pretty near the most important innovation that she ever made was this idea that she would be asked for eight and a half hours of very personal questions in great detail about her time as the first lady. that hadn't happened before.
and since then and it almost always happens the first lady write books that in those days was very unusual. >> there's not a page of this book is and suffused with her way to and the sense that president kennedy were sharing. >> there is a wonderful story if i can interject for a second where they are calling for a state visit and his not very good reputation had preceded him they were trying to make the best of it so often times she says when the leader was coming to the white house the president would bring to a leader upstairs to visit with first lady as a sort of special thing to do and he was said to have published his article so mrs. kennedy and the kind of detail that she went to got a copy of the collection, the book and the state department about 20 minutes before. she wasn't able to read it before they got there, so
mrs. kennedy was on one side, the president on the other, but it's a wonderful book that they opened and virtually every page was a topless woman. [laughter] they would pick fruit and there was my second, there was my third wife and she says jack and i had to make such enormous effort to keep them laughing we almost didn't make it. >> could you tell how funny she was? >> i will tell a funny story about her family. she was very close to her sister who was married to the prince of poland, and he came here during the campaign and was very big in the polish crowd but he was not an american citizen. he was a polish citizen and the drive was to get them out and see the people.
and this fellow who worked in the state department was a very, very powerful political figure and the polish world. so he definitely wanted stash to come to his district on the campaign. i said we can't do that. we can't have a foreign dignitary campaigning in the domestic collection. well, he said let me see what i can do. so the next thing i remember is i get a call from should pinsky. >> last night was a smash. you hear me. stash was a smash. [laughter] thank you.
>> pennsylvania went democratic that your by the larger margin than expected. [laughter] >> michael delude of earlier to the toxic political climate we live in now. how do you think president kennedy would have negotiated with that kind of a climate? how would he have helped our system recover? >> i really do not know the system as we have it today where people refused to tolerate the other person's view on how he could possibly have owned up to it. when i left washington was exactly a week before the president was assassinated i had been working on the civil rights act bill. now, we have put together with a lot of work a lot of real questions of republicans and democrats prepared to support eight real civil rights bill.
it was -- i left washington with a certain short that was over. there was no need to do it. i used to be able to name the republican congressman that i could line up on almost any given merit because the hat respected president kennedy and respected the things that he's good for. you didn't have any of that today. no one respects anyone else. no one has shared with anything else. so, i don't want to know how we could fit in today's world. spec one thing that sort of does it for me in the space program when he went to congress and i sure was in front of us and said the moon landing in the 1970's was essential to the national security lot of republicans who didn't want to spend the money set about that the national security is at stake which they
do. >> i think that we should all take from this book a measure of optimism about ways that our system can perform well at its very best and on that note -- >> so even though we are not -- no phone number for you to call to place your vote, but the bookstore does report directly to "the new york times" best-seller list so if you would like to keep jacqueline kennedy ahead of cheney on that list -- [laughter] we encourage buhle to buy a copy or two or three of the book at our bookstore i ask you to remain in your seats and the book signing will be right outside the store. those of you in the satellite there will be some coming in from the front. those of you in this room the line will form literally around the back of this wall. but most of all what i want to do this think kennedy for her comments and for this terrific panel and michael beschloss. [applause] dukakis posted
by the massachusetts historical society. >> good evening. i'm president of the massachusetts historical society. on behalf of the society and the harvard university press, i welcome you. founded in 1791, massachusetts historical society is considered one of the finest resources on the history and culture of the united states anywhere. some states and the library of congress among the 12 manuscript the addams family papers hold it in a very special place and over 300,000 manuscript pages that document the country's history from the 70 60s through 1889 the record left by the adams family is extraordinary. along these papers the letters of john and abigail are very special subset.
that is the most important correspondence of in the american couple. it is intriguing as we sit here tonight to complete a society was in an early hall, two of the bulls i believe for part of that and it was ran in 1905 -- 1805 and samuel hall on this site. we moved there in 1793 into the attic at the time. there, we continued to collect of history at the same time john and abigail were making it through their correspondence. tonight we model lisa lubber the publication of the new selection of john and abigail's letters also marked the 50 year collaboration between the massachusetts historical society and the harvard university press. we thank the harvard university press, who are the partners of tonight for inspiring my dearest friend for its financial support of this event and for working closely with us to provide ever-increasing access to the wealth and material encompassed in the papers. ..
abigail and john adams today, i've been wondering how they would feel about having their private letters read aloud by people they never knew, and in a public setting. i'm certain they would have approved the venue. it was here, of course, that bostonnans gathered in the years before the revolution to condemn the british and to listen to speeches urging independence. but what about the people who will read their letters? i'm sure john would have been very pleased by the distinguished men who are taking his part this evening. i know he is scowling there. [laughter] >> but he doesn't mean it. and by the end of the evening, he will smile. >> each of these men has devoted
his professional life to public service, as john adams did. he might have envied center kennedy's re-election record, but he definitely would have admired the senator's consistent willingness to speak out on difficult issues and to challenge the opposition. something john did in spades. [applause] >> that's something john did plentifully. >> adams would have been astonished by governor patrick's political campaign that brought him to the corner office of the state house just about this time last year. wasn't it? [applause]
>> they didn't hold elections like that when he was running for office. on the other hand, i think john would be quite content to have deval govern new a constitution written by adams and deposit by the commonwealth in 1780. i know he would have admired governor dukakis for the administrative and political skills that helped massachusetts emerge from one of its worst ever economic and financial crises, and maybe more, his decision to retire from politics and enter academia, to teach young men and women the importance of politics. this is one of the cardinal endeavors that john adams held
very dear. [applause] >> as for the ladies, vicky kennedy, diane patrick and kitty dukakis, would abigail like to have her letters read by them? of course she would. they are the per -- person fix indication -- each has had a splendid career, each has taken a powerful role speaking out for the cause she believed in, especially for prevention of handgun violence -- that's
vicky -- [applause] >> the issues swirling around domestic violence -- diane. [applause] >> the multiple needs in the area of mental health. [applause] >> and i suspect for abigail, each is a strong advocate on behalf of her husband's career as abigail most definitely was, too. so, i think all is well. and i'm happy to turn over the mic to our moderator, mary richardson. now, john and abigail never tuned in to the evening news on channel 5. but had they done so, i'm sure they would have applauded such
an intelligent and eloquent commentator, enlightening the public about the day's events. mary? [applause] >> john adams, a 24-year-old lawyer, saw abigail smith for the first time in the summer of 1759. he was unimpressed. not candid was the overall assess independent his diary. what changed between them and when we don't really know, but by the time of their first letter, something certainly had. >> braintree, october 4th, 1762. miss adorable.
by the same token that the bearer sat up with you last night, i hereby order you to give him as many kisses and as many hours of your company after 9:00 as he shall please to demand and charge them to my account. i presume i have good right to draw upon you for the kisses as i have given two or three million at least. when one has been received. and of consequence the account between us is immensely in favor of yours. >> thus began the correspondence of a remarkable american couple that spans over 40 years and 1100 surviving letters, we can only guess how many were captured by the british, sunk in shipwrecks or lost by later generations. what remains tells the story of a revolution, a new nation, a new government, of the series of war and the burdens of
leadership. it is also the story of marriage, of two people, soul mates, who endured years of separation and trial that never for sake their love and commitment to each other. they married in october 1764, and over the next eight years had five children together. john quincy, the future sixth president of the united states, suzanna, charles, and thomas. the suzanna died as an infant. now, having become a steady family man, john built a successful legal career and developed a reputation as a political leader. john's appointment to the first continental congress in 1774 moved him on to the national stage, position he relished, even as he found the work burdensome, abigail, too, took bridesmaid took pride in john's accomplish it but lamented the separations.
>> braintree, august 19, 1774. the great distance between us makes the time appear very long to me. it seems already a month since you left me. the great anxiety i feel for my country, for you, and for our family, renders the day tedious, and the nights unpleasant. the rocks and quicksand appears on every side. what course you take is al wrapped in security. if ever any kingdom or state regained their liberty, and once it was invaded without bloodshed, i cannot think of it without horror. i want much to hear from you. i long impatiently to have you upon the stage of action.
the first of september or the months of september perhaps, will be of as much importance to great britain as the ides of march were to caesar. i wish you every public as well as private blessing, and that wisdom which is profitable both for instruction and edification to conduct you in this difficult day. the little -- kindly wish to see him. >> philadelphia, october 9, /774.
this assembly is like no other ever excessed. every man in it is a great man, a critic, a statesman, and therefore, every man upon every question, must show his orator, he criticism and his political abilities. the consequence of this is that business is drawn and spun out to an immeasurable length. i believe, if it was moved and seconded, that we should come to a resolution that three and two make five. we should be entertained with logic and rhetoric, law, history, politics politics polit mattics for two hole days and then we should pass the resolution unanimously in the affirmative. >> by june 1775, john was
sitting with the second continent tall congress and the war had become an immediate presence in abigail's wife. she watched the battle of bunker hill with her son from the top of the hill in braintree. while the british were tech nick click technically victory you the adams' close friend was one of the americans who perished. >> philadelphia, june 17, 1775. i have found this congress like the last. when we first came together, i found a strong jealousy of us from new england and massachusetts in particular. suspicions were entertained and designs of independencey, an american republic, presbyterian principles and 20 other things. our sentiments were heard in
congress with great caution and seemed to make but little impression. the longer we sat, the more careerly -- clearly they saw the necessity of pursuing vigorous measures. it appears now, every day we sit and the more we are convinced that nothing but fortitude, vigor, and perserverance can save us. it is long since i have heard from you i fear you have been kept in continual alarm. my duty and love to all. my dear any, charlie, tommy,. come here and kiss me. >> braintree, june 18, 1775. dear friend. the day, perhaps the decisive day, has come on which the fate
of america depends. my bursting heart must find them at my pen. i have just heard that our dear friend, dr. warren, is no more but fell gloriously fighting for his country, saying, better to die honorably in the field than king anonymously hang upon the gallows. great is our loss. he has distinguished himself in every engagement by his courage and fortitude. by animating the soldiers and meeting them armed by his own example. a particular account of these dreadful, but i hope glorious days, will be transmitted to you, no doubt in the fastest manner. the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but the god of israel is he that gives us strength and power unto
his people. charlestown is laid in ashes. the battle began upon our entrenchments upon bunker hill, saturday morning, about 3:00, and has not yet ceased, and it is now 3:00 sabbath afternoon. they will come out over the next night in a dreadful battle must ensue. oh, mighty god, cover the heads of our countrymen and be a shield to our dear friends. how many have fallen we know not. the couldn't roar of the cannon is so distressing we cannot eat, drink or sleep, nearly be supportive and sustained in the dreadful conflict. i'm safe by the friends and then
i have secured myself a retreat at your brother's, who kindly offered me part of his house. i cannot compose myself to write any further at present. i will add more as i get further. >> philadelphia, july 7, 1775. my dear. the account you give me of the numbers slain on the side of our enemies is effecting the human. >> although it is a glorious approve of the bravery of our worthy countrymen, considering all the disadvantages under which they fought, they really exhibited prodigies of valor. your description of the distresses of the worthy inhabitantses of boston and the other seaport towns is enough melt a heart of stone. our consolation must by this, my dear. that cities may be rebuilt, and the people reduced to poverty may acquire fresh property.
but a constitution of government, once changed from freedom, can never be restored. liberty once lost is lost forever. when the people once surrender their share in the legislature and their right of defending the limitations upon the government, and of resisting every encroachment upon them, they can never regain it. it gives me more pleasure than i can express to learn you sustained the shocks and terrors of the time. youle really brave, my dear. you are a heroin and -- heirine. a sole as pure, as ben never lent, as virtuous and pious as yours, has nothing to fare. everything to hope and expect from the last of human evils. >> the war continued in new england throughout the fall of 1775 as john and abigail pressed
for a full declaration of independence. but the march 1776 evacuation of the british army from boston and its movement southward raced the question how the rest of the american colonies would respond the military threat, and the prospect of a new national government sparked a debate between abigail and john on women's rights. >> march 31, 1776. i wish you would ever right me a letter half as long as i write you. [laughter] >> and tell me if you may, where your fleet are going. what sort of sense virginia can make against our common enemy. whether it is so situated as to make an able defense. are not the gentry lords and the common people vassals?
i hope your men are not a specimen of the generality of the people. i have statements been ready to think the passion for liberty cannot be equally strong in the breaths of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow creatures of theirs. of this i am certain. that it is not founded upon the generous and christian principle of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us. i feel very differently at the approach of spring to what i did a month ago. we knew not then whether we should plan to work with safety, whether win we toiled we would reap the fruits of our own industry. whether we could rest in our own cottages or whether we should not be driven from the sea coast to seek shelter in the wilderness. now we feel as if we might sit under our own vine and eat the good of the land. though -- we sympathize with
those who are trembling. i long to hear that you have declared an independency. and by the way, in the new court of laws, which i suppose it will be necessary for you to make, i desire you remember the ladies. [laughter] [applause] >> and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. [laughter] >> if particular attention -- if particular care and attention is not paid the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not be bound by any
laws in which we have no voice or representation. that your sex is naturally tie ran tyrannical, and will not admit of no dispute, but such as you wish to be happy, willingly give up the harsh title of master for the more endearing one of friend. why, then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the lawless to use with cruelty and indignity. many of all ages abhor these customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex. regard us then as beings, placed by providence under your protection, and an imitation of the supreme being, make use of that power only for our happiness. >> philadelphia, april 14, 1776.
you justly complain -- >> you justly explain of my short letters but the state of things must plead my excuse. you ask where the fleet is? the enclosed papers will inform you. you ask what sort of defense virginia can make? i believe they will make an able defense. their militia and minutemen have been employed in training themselves and they have nine battalions of regulars, maintained under good officers at the continental expense. the gentry are very rich and the common people very poor. this inequality of property gives aristocratic version to,
but the spirit of these barons is coming down and it must submit. as to declarations of independency, be patient. as to your extraordinary code of laws, i cannot but laugh. we have been told that our struggle has loosened the bands of government everywhere, that children and apprentices withdisobedient, that schools and colleges were grown turn leapt. that indians slighted their guardians and negroes proofed insolent to their mass but your letter with the first inclination that another tribe, more numerous and powerful to all the rest were growing incontent. you are so saucy, i won't blot it out. depend upon it. we know better than to repeal
our masculine systems women dare not expert our full power in its full latitude. we are obliged to go fare and softly, and in practice, you know we are the subjects. we have only the name of masters, and, rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the pettycoat, i hope general washington and all our brave heroes would fight. [applause] >> abigail dropped the subject of women's rights for the time being. and both she and john celebrated what a declaration of independence was finally proclaimed in july. abigail received the news in boston where she had gone with all of her children to be
inoculated for smallpox. >> philadelphia. july 3, 1776. yesterday the greatest question was decided, whichever was debated in america, and a greater perhaps never was or will be decided among men. a resolution was passed, without one dissenting colony. that these united colonies are of right ought to be free and independent states, and as such they have, and of right ought to have, full power to make war, conclude peace, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which other states may rightfully do. you will see in a few days a declaration setting forth the
causes which have impaled us to this mighty revolution, and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of god and man. a plan of confederation will be taken up in a few days. when i look back to the year 1761, which i have hitherto considered as the commencement of the controversy, i am surprised that the suddenness, as well as greatness, of this revolution, britain has been filled with folly, and america with wisdom. at least this is my judgment. time must determine. it may be the will of heaven that america shall suffer cal lambties. if this is to be the case, it will have this good effect at
least, it will inspire us with many virtues which we have not, and correct many errors, follies, and vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor and destroy us, but i must submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling providence in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, i firmly believe. >> boston. july 13, 1776. by yesterday's post i received two letters dated the 3rd and 4th of july. and though your letters never fail to give me pleasure, be the subject what it will, yet it was greatly heightened by the prospect of the future happiness and glory of our country. nor am i a little gratified when i reflect that a person so nearly connected with me has had
the honor of being a principle -- principal actor in laying down its future tu tour greatness. may the foundation of our country be truth, justice, and righteousness. may it be founded upon those rocks and then neither storms nor tempesses will overthrow it. boston, july 21, 1776. last thursday, after hearing a very good sermon, i went with the multitude into king street, to hear the proclamation for independence read and proclaimed. the troops appeared under arms and all the inhabitantses assembled there. when colonel craft read from the balcony of the state house the proclaimation, great attention was given to every word. as soon as he ended, the cry
return to the continental congress. his absence in the spring and summer of 1777 was particularly difficult that every deal was pregnant again with her sixth child. >> philadelphia, march 16, 1777. the spurring advances very rapidly and all nature will soon be closed and her robes. the green grass which begins to show itself here and they're revives in my longing imagination and it's your inhabitants. what has not this war deprived me of? i want to wander in my meadows to ramble over my mountains and sit in solitude with her who has all my heart by the sight of the brooks. these beautiful scenes would contribute more to my have been less than the saliva once which
surround me. >> braintree april 17th, 1777. you're obliging favors of march 14th, 16th and 22nd have been received and i most sincerely thank you for them. i know not how we should support an absence already and many times attended with melancholy reflection. if it was not so frequently hearing from you. that is a consolation to me though a cold comfort in a winter's night. as the summer advances i have many anxieties, some of which i should not feel or at least find them greatly alleviated if you could be with me. but as that is a satisfaction, i know i must not look for though i have a good mind to hold you to your promise in some particular circumstances were really on that condition.
i must summon all the philosophy of life and love since what cannot be helped must be endured. i have enjoyed as much health since the smallpox the i have known in any year. color in a clumsy figure make their appearance in so much that master john said i never saw anybody to grow so fast as you do. [laughter] >> philadelphia, may 15th, 1777. general warren writes me that my farm never looked better than when he last saw it and that mrs. adams was like to outshine all the others. i wish i could see it. he knows the weakness of his friends heart and that nothing what is it more than the praises bestowed upon a certain lady. in the midst of infinite millions i need a lonely melancholy life morning back the
loss of all the charms of life which are my family and all the amusement i ever had in life, which is my farm. however, i will either find or quote the moment and affairs or in a prosperous way and a little more out of doubt. that moment i become a private gentleman, respectful husband mrs. es of green tree and the affectionate father of her children. >> braintree, july 9, 1777. i sit down to write you this post and for my present feeling i shall be able to write for some time if i shall do well. i've been very on well this past week with some complaints that have been new to me the we hope not dangerous. i was last might take in which a
shaking fit and very apprehensive that a life was lost. as i have no reason today to think otherwise. what may be the consequences to me heaven only knows i will not have you too much alarmed by keep up some spirit, he says the why would have you prepared for any event that may happen. >> philadelphia, july 10th 1777 my mind is again anxious, my heart in pain for my dearest friend that i could be near to say a few kind words or show a few kind looks or do a few kind actions that i could take from my dearest a share of her distress or relieve her of the whole. before this shelf reach you i hope he will be happy in the increases of a daughter and as
fair and good and wise and virtuous as the mother. or if it is the son i hope it will still resemble the mother in the person, mind and heart. >> braintree, july 16th, 1777. join with me, my dearest friend, in gratitude to heaven that a life i know you value has been scared and carried through distress and stranger all of those are numbered with its ancestors. my apprehension with regard to it are well founded though my friends would have persuaded me that the vapors had taken a hold of me. i was as perfectly sensible of this disease as i ever before was. it appeared to be a very fine day and as it never opened its eyes in this world, it looked as
though they were only closed for sleep. my heart was set upon a daughter. i have a strong persuasion that my desire would be granted to me. it was, but to show me the uncertainty of all enjoyment cut off air i could call it mine. john with the continental congress in november, 1777 thinking to return to massachusetts and resume his practice. the congress had other plans for him. diplomatic appointments first to negotiate a treaty with france than with the netherlands and finally to draw up peace with britain. all told he would spend ten years in your input on the few short months at home in 1779 tvd 11 year old john quincy adams accompanied his father gaining experience on an education that would serve him well in later years when he too was called to
be an american diplomat in europe. if abigail had previously considered philadelphia far away, the distance of europe was almost unimaginable. the situation was made even more difficult by the and reliability of overseas mail, letters were frequently lost got thrown overboard by captains be fading captive by the british or shrunken. the distance and duration of the separation not surprisingly put a strain of the adams saw' marriage. >> covered of come 1778. i have taken up my pen again to relieve the anxiety of a heart to susceptible for its own repros. nor can i help complain to my friends his painful actions are not as formerly alleviated by the tender tokens of his friendship. three very short letters on the
have reached my hands during a nine month absence. i cannot be so on just to this affection as to suppose he has not written much and more particularly must set down to the score of misfortune so few have reached me. i cannot charge myself with any deficiency in this particular house i have never had an opportunity to put writing to you since we have parted there you have no mention of having received a line from me if it becomes of so little importance as not to be worth noticing with your own hand, be so kind as to direct your secretary. >> i will not finish the sentence.
my heart denies the justice of the aggravation nor does it believe your affection diminished by distance or absence but my soul is wounded as the separation from you and my fortitude all dissolved. when i cast my thoughts across the atlantic and beau the distance, the danger, the hazard which you have already passed through and to which you must probably be again exposed their we shall meet. the time of your absence unlimited all conspired to cast a gloom over my solitary hours and relieve me of all domestic. >> december 18th, 1778. this moment i have what shall i say the pleasure with the pain of your letter of the 25th of
october. as a letter from my dearest friend it gave me a pleasure that it would be in vain to attempt to describe the complaints gave me more pain than i can express. this is the third letter i have received in this complaining style. [laughter] the former to i have not answered. [laughter] i have written several answers but upon review they appear to be such a could not stand. one was angry, another was full of grief and the third with melancholy so i burned them all. if you write me in this style i shall leave out writing entirely. it kills me in professions of the steam wanting me to you can the affection be necessary? ken tokens of remembrance be
desired? the very idea of this sickens me. and i'm not wretched enough without this? what course should i take to convince you my heart is warm? jul declared to it, swear it, would you doubt it less? and is it possible you should doubt it? i know it is not. if i could once believed it possible i cannot answer to the consequence, but i beg you never more right to me in such a strained for it really makes me unhappy. >> february 13th, 1779. my dearest friend, it is with a double pleasure that i hold my time this day to acquaint my friend that i have had a rich feast indeed by the private year
which arrived here on the eighth of this month and brought his letters of the ninth of september, 23rd of october, second of november and second of december all together making more than i have received since your absence at one time. ander chief in which they were tied felt to me like the return of an absent friend. it is natural to feel an affection for everything which belongs to those we love. and more so when the object is far, far distant from us. he shot me from my complaints when in reality i had so little location for them. i must treat you to attribute it to the real cause and over anxious solitudes to hear of your welfare and and gillibrand fair of public care and
applications might render you less attentive to your friends than i would wish. but the oblivion of the free expression i've complained the race from the letters which contain them as i have from my mind every ideas the contrary to that regard and affection you have ever manifested towards me. during his years of talent the achieved a great diplomatic success earning recognition of the united states by the netherlands, securing a much needed loan from the dutch to keep the american government financially solvent and negotiating a peace treaty with britain. once peace was achieved, he submitted his resignation to congress and contemplated returning home but then held off hoping he might be appointed minister to great britain. abigail, tired of waiting after
nearly six years finally resolved in the spring of 1784 to july and john in europe. she and her daughter reached london in july. >> london, july 23rd, 74. my dear friend, at length heaven be praised i am with our daughter safely landed upon the british short after the passage of 30 days from boston to the down. how often do i reflect during my voyage upon what i once heard you say that no object of nature was more disagreeable than a lady at the sea. [laughter] it really reconciled me to the fault of being without you. for 70 my witness, and no situation would i be willing to appear thus to you. i would have an observation of my own that i think no induce less than that of coming to the
tenderness of friends could never prevail with me to cross the ocean, nor do i ever wish to try it but once more i am otherwise very sick besides seasickness must not expect to see me a line from nothing less than that would carry away my flesh the white do not think i ate more capacity than would have sufficed for one week. life that he is in some measure gone off and every hour i am impatient to be with you. >> the hague, july 26, 74. my dearest friend, your letter of the 23rd has made me the happiest man on earth. i am 20 years younger than i was yesterday. it is a cruel mortification to me that i cannot go to meet you in london pity in the meantime i send you a son who is the greatest traveler of his age and without partiality i think as
promising and manly as a youth as is in the world. every hour to me will be a day but don't you hurry or disquiet yourself upon the jury. be careful of your health. after spending a week or to hear you will have to set out with me to france. there are no scenes between a good road, a fine, and we will make moderate journeys and see the curiosities of several cities and our way. it is the first time in europe that i look forward to a journey with pleasure. >> john and abigail spent the next four years together first in france, then in london while he served as the minister to britain. the exchange only a handful of letters during those years and were never a part for more than a few weeks. abigail greatly enjoyed years of reveling in the opportunity to travel and see the sights that john found his position difficult at best. while king george iii greeted
him more cordially than john ever expected, the british have little interest in diplomatic relations with their former colleagues. barely 77, john recognized the futility of his mission and submit his resignation to compress though it would take another year for john and abigail to make arrangements to come home. the return to massachusetts in june of 1788 was in the year their life changed again when john was elected the first vice president under the new constitution. he served eight years and what he called the most significant office. [laughter] during those years and later during the presidency, abigail frequently returned to currency to oversee and the format preserve her health. she preferred the which life in massachusetts to that in any of the three capital cities. first new york and philadelphia, in washington, d.c.. more than 500 of john and
abigail's letters survived from this period of their lives. >> new york, may 15, 79. my dearest friend, i have received yours on the fifth. you'd think it best to leave that thomas college, but i pray that he would come on with charles as soon as possible. as for money to your expenses, you must if you can borrow from a trendy enough to bring you here. if you cannot borrow enough, you must sell horses oxen, sheep, cows, anything at any rate rather than not come. if no one will take the place leave it to the birds in the air and of the field, but all evens break up the establishment and the household. i have as many difficulties here as you can have public and private, but my life from my cradle has been a series of difficulties and that will continue to the grave.
>> me 31st, 1789. my dearest friend, i hope to be able to relieve you soon of all domestic care and anxiety. at least my best endeavor shall not be wanting. i know you want your own bed and pillows, you're hot coffee and your full portion where habit has become natural. how many of these matters like a large portion of our happiness and contentment? and the more public care and complexity you are surrounded with, the more necessary these abbreviations. our blessings are sometimes enhanced to us by the feeling, the want of them. >> even from quincy, abigail followed the national and international advances in the press such as the war between britain and france in which the united states threatened to
become embroiled, counting on the letters to serve as her most reliable news source. the in turn became a trusted advisor and the only confidante. as the children reached adulthood, john and abigail saved new challenges and worries as parents now being married the unsuccessful william stephen smith charles become to alcoholism during his father's presidency the youngest had a marginal legal career. only john quincy was shown by 79 for he had gained a reputation like his father in all and politics prompting the president to appoint him u.s. minister to the netherlands. the first in a series of diplomatic missions that would culminate in him serving as the most noted secretary of state in american history. quincy, april 18th, 1794. my dearest friend, your letter
is april 5th and 7th reached me last evening and filled me with more apprehension of a war than anything that i had before heard. the body of the people are decidedly against the war. and if the war is madly or foolishly precipitated upon us without the union of the people we shall neither find men or money to prosecute its and the government will be cursed and used for all the consequences which it must follow. i have many disputes with your brother of on this subject whose passions are up upon the insults and abuse is offered us by britain and who is providing them instantly without seeing one difficulty in our way. in order to put a stop to the rash measures, congress must rise. the people without are willing to wait a result of negotiation as far as i can learn. and in the meantime, we ought to
prepare for the worst. i most devoutly pray that we may be preserved from the horrors of the war and the machinations of man. i wish it were in our power to persuade all of the nation's into a palm and steady disposition while seeking particularly the quiet of our own country and wishing for a total end of all the unhappy divisions of mankind by the party split which at best is at the madness of many for the games of the few. >> philadelphia, may 19th, 1794. my dear friend, the project for the war had been detected and exposed in every shape and under every disguise that has been given to them and heather their
too defeated. another year may bring forth i know not. john rises in his reputation of the war as well as the esteem of his fellow citizens. his writings have given him a greater consideration in this place than he is aware of. i am sometimes told i ought to be proud of him and truly i don't want to be told this. he would be made a politician to assume that he's a man of great experience and i hope sound philosophy. he was a greater states not 18 them some senators i have known at 50. [laughter] but he must learn silence and reserve come prudence and caution, above all to curve of vanity and collect himself. faculties are virtues that his father has often much wanted. i have often thought he has more
prudence at 27 than his father at 58. >> and early 7096, washington's decision not to run for a third term dramatically altered abigail and in john's life. john became the terrorist and he and abigail agonized over whether he should seek the presidency. george and martha washington had set high standards of republican elegance and hospitality that abigail feared she couldn't meet. >> philadelphia, january 5th, 7096. my dearest friend. there is a dead colin the political the atmosphere which furnishes no evin porth relating. i have this day however heard news that is of some importance. it must be kept a secret police to yourself. one of the ministry told me today that the president would solemnly determined to serve no longer than the end of his
present period. he mentioned circumstances of observation has left no room to doubt as washington said one thing to me lately which seemed to imply as much. others, man of the first i find consider that even as certain. you know the consequence of this to me and to yourself. either we must enter upon others more trying than ever yet experienced or retire to quincy farmers for life. i am determined not to serve under jefferson as washington is not to serve at all. [laughter] i will not be frightened out of the public service, nor will we be disgraced in eight. >> january 21st come 796. my friend, some occasions in your letters or a source of much anxiety to me.
my ambition leads me not to be first enrolled and the events that you request for of such serious nature it requires much reflection and liberation to determine upon it. there isn't a beam of light or a shadow of comfort or pleasure in the contemplation of the object. if personal consideration alone are to way i should immediately tie year with the principles. i can only say that circumstances must govern you in a matter of such momentous concern i dare not influence you. i must pray you may have superior direction. as to holding the office of the vice president, i will give you my opinion, resigned. [laughter] retired. i would be sick and under no man but washington. quincy, february 28, 1796.
my friend, upon some subjects i think much more than on a right. i think what is the duty to others and what is the duty to ourselves. you write me assured the president is determined to retire. this is an event not yet contemplated by the people at large. we must be attentive to their feelings and to their voice. no successor can expect such the president has had. this though an arduous task will be a glorious reward and such a reward as all good men will unite given to washington and such a reward as a pre-his successor of nemer debt and obtained showed providence a large the task to my friend. the big not alone anxious for the part to be called to act but by far the most important i am anxious for the proper discharge of that share which will devolve
upon me. whether i have patience, prudence, discussions, the stations so unexceptional as though were believe that now holds it i fear i have not. as sick and i had the happiness of steering clear as far as i know. if the contemplation didn't make me feel very serious, i should say that i have been so used to a freedom of sentiment that i know not how to place so many guards without me as would be indispensable to look at every word before i under it and to impose the silence upon myself when all i long to talk. >> abigail remained in quincy and congratulated him by letter on gaining the presidency on the day that the electoral vote was counted. she also did not attend the inauguration on march 4th, sir john of course revealed his innermost anxieties to her.
>> february 8, 1797. my faults and meditations are with you but personally absent and my petition to have been or that the things which may not be hidden from your point my feelings are not those of pride or ostentation upon again location. they are colonized by a sense of the obligation. the important trust and duties connected with it that you may be unable to discharge them with honor to yourselves with justice and in partiality to your country and with satisfaction to people shall the the daily prayer of your abigail adams. >> philadelphia, march 5th, 1797. my dear friend coming your
dearest friend never had a more the chongging data and yesterday. a solemn seen it was indeed, and was made more affecting to me by the presidents of general washington, whose confidence was a serene and unclouded as the day. he seemed to me to enjoy a triumph over me and i have heard him think i am fairly out and you are fairly and. [laughter] see which of us will be happiest. when the ceremony was over he came and made me a visit and cordially congratulated me and wished my administration might be happy, successful and honorable. i had not slept well the night before and didn't sleep well tonight after. i was on well and i didn't know whether i should get through or not. i did, however. how the business was received i know not. only i have been told that the
treaty publisher said we should lose nothing by the change for he never heard such a speech in public in his life. all agree that taken together it was the sublime ever exhibited in america. >> john was whether his family suffered too much for his lack of attention during a quarter-century he contributed to the creation of the nation. abigail pushed him to go forward without regret. >> philadelphia, december 17, 79 feet. my dearest friend, i began to doubt whether i was in the way of my duty and a free in gauging public life. my family of children not to have stayed at home minded their education and sought their advancement in life is too late for this chemistry now. it is cast and i am not far from
the end of my life. i've done all for my children than i can and all for the best. what have i not suffered? what have i ever enjoyed? all of my enjoyment have been up on my farm. that might children and grandchildren were all parts. >> december 28, 1798. my dearest friend, the reflections and observations recall what so many painful ideas that i cannot be otherwise and happy when i reflect upon them. in silence i do reflect upon them daily. i wish it were otherwise for them. with respect to what had passed it is intended for the past and has the satisfaction of knowing that you have faithfully served
your generation and at the extent of all private consultations and you do not know whether you would have been happier in private than you have been in public life. the times were such as called you fourth. you consider yourself performing these duties. with this consideration you have not any cause for regret but what remains to us we must expect to have checkered with a good and evil and let us patiently endured the one and rejoice of the other as those who have a better hope and a brighter prospect beyond the grave. stat john and abigail spent the final years of the presidency largely together though john was alone for his first night in the newly built white house in
washington, d.c. his blessing on that house written to get a deal now graces the fireplace of the state dining room. will be for congress to lead the electoral count in february 18th of 01, john knew he had lost the bid for reelection resigned to the end of his long public service he prepared to clean up his final obligations including filling previous judicial vacancies. abigail left washington in mid february. john wait until the morning of thomas jefferson's and on terrorist to leave the inauguration on march 4th. the letters from another were written from the trip north to the last she monitored his political decision. >> the president's house, washington d.c.. november 2nd come 1800. my dearest friend. we arrived here last night or rather yesterday at 1:00 and here we dined and slept. the building is to be inevitable
and now we wish for your company could i shall say nothing of public affairs. i am very glad you can center to come on. it is proper that you and i should retire together and not one before the other. before the end my letter, i pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall inhabit it. may none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof. washington, february 16th, 1801. my friend, but the election will be decided this day in favor of mr. jefferson as it is given out by good authority. the burden upon me nominating judges and councils and other officers in delivering over the furniture the ordinary business
at close of the session and in preparing for my journey of 500 miles through the mire is and will be very heavy. my time will be taken up and i pray that you continue to write me. my anxiety for you is a very distressing addition to all of my other laborers. >> philadelphia, february 24, 1801. sir, i shall leave the city had to mauro. i believe there is scarcely a lady who ever came to the drawing room that has visited me. either old or young and very many gentlemen. as to the return of their visit, they cannot expect it. i believe they have made a point of it. who published by a rifle in the papers i know not. but the next morning by 10:00, as rainy as it was committee began to come and as continued
by the throngs of persons. i think them for their attention and politeness though i shall never see them again. my friend i wish you well through the remainder of your political journey. i want to see the list of the judges. [laughter] >> in the years that followed the selection and john and abigail's return to quincy, the atoms' continue to be active intellectually and socially. the exchange no additional letters. there was no need to as they were rarely separated for free than a few days. the retirement years were not always easy. they had no income beyond what the farms produce and they lost most of their savings from a bank failure in 1803. fortunately john quincy and resources to help them maintain financial security.
but that couldn't protect them from personal tragedy. their beloved daughter passed away in 1814 after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. abigail herself provided several illnesses but continued to enjoy life in quincy especially when her children and grandchildren joined her. she and john remained pillars of the community. in the fall of 1818 however she became dangerously six with a tie for fever. in the early afternoon she died. john was with her at the end he wrote of the passing to her son, john quincy. >> quincy, november 10th. 1818. ever affectionate, ever dutiful and deserving son this is passed. but gramm is so terrible to
human nature has nothing left for me. my consolations are more than i can number. the separation cannot be so long as the 20 separation's heretofore. the anguish have not been so great as when you and i embark in 1778. the sympathy and the benevolence of all of the world has been such as i shall not live long enough to describe. i do not have the strength to do justice to individuals. your letter of the second is all and no more than all that i expected. never was a more dutiful son never a more affectionate mother never love to your wife may you never experienced the loss.
in gettysburg pennsylvania. >> and this is not mary todd lincoln and sanity trial title that jim hickey found in a book from those documents was edited and written by the late general. where did we meet? we met at kildee and at manchester vermont the home of the last home of robert todd lincoln, brian nigh to the historian is here with us which is a strange place to me since it was robert todd lincoln who is responsible for for the short term confinement of mary lincoln at bellevue and the story goes on that jason had told harold holzer and by about these long lost letters we encouraged him
to write about them we recommended to sylvia frank rodriguez and editor at southern illinois university press as we did his forthcoming book on robert todd lincoln and the southern illinois university press credit they published the madness of mary lincoln which we hope all of you will see. so we are very pleased to welcome you, jason, has a first presenter from first time presenter here we expect so much more from new and we will see it, too. welcome, jason emmerson. [applause] >> thank you, frank and her role as well it is a pleasure to be here. in august of 1875 after having
lived at bellevue sanitarium for more than two months by their son robert declared insane by a chicago jury mary lincoln road to her friend it does not appear god is good to have placed me here. i endeavor to read my bible and offer my petitions three times a day. but my heart feels the and falters in prayer. i have worshiped my son and no unpleasant word ever passed between us, yet i cannot understand why i should have been brought out here. these are questions that have been asked for decades and still are asked today. namely was mary lincoln really crazy? and just why did her son have her committed to an essay in san asylum. i address these questions in my book the madness of mary lincoln, and as said, my book was begun based on my discovery of her missing letters from the asylum. i found 25 letters, 20 written by mary, five by other people about mary written between the
years 1872 and 1878, and they were written mostly between mary and her friend am i rabun attwell a chicago abolitionist. but you know, what was exciting of course is historians have been trying to find those letters for eight years or so which made me feel pretty good when i found them. but even before people asked me do i think that mary was really crazy the first question i almost always get it how did you find those letters. we don't like talking about it today. i will get to that in a few minutes. a lot of scared faces. [laughter] to understand the institutional as asia and the is a lot of things you to understand first. there are two main theories about mary's mental health and mental state.
the currently prominent theory was popularized by gene baker in her 1987 biography of mary lincoln called mary todd lincoln a biography, and basically gene baker's thesis is that mary lincoln was a perfectly same woman whose problems were be faulted everyone else that she was the victim of a male chauvinist society and that robert was a horrible coldhearted rapacious bastard of a son who wanted to steal her money and lock her up and get her out of the way because she was so embarrassing. the other theory which was less prominent is that mary was crazy and that robert did what he had to do to protect her. of course that doesn't get a whole lot of play. the closest you'll find to it is probably the insanity final, which frank mentioned by mark kinealy and which cannot in 1976. interestingly, both of those books utilized the same source mainly robert todd lincoln's personal insanity file which was a complete documentary record of
robert having his mother institutionalized. despite this fact that both books use the same evidence they came up with completely into medical conclusions which have led one historian to wonder whether evidence even matters in the matters of historical importance. [laughter] which i think is a salient point. of course i use the insanity finally my book. of course of years the lost letters that i found and i also found a lot of other unknown unpublished letters in my researchers, newspaper articles that have never been used and including some wonderful psychiatric evaluations of mary, written by psychiatrists in the psychiatric academic journals which i was surprised no one ever cited before. and then of course i taught 20 years of subsequent research since the other books. but i also used psychiatric experts because i'm not a doctor and it was amazing it really opened my eyes to a lot of
aspects of her mental illness and even of robert and why he did what he did and the experts pointed out to be a lot of things i did not see, and a lot of things i probably would not have seen without their assistance. i'm happy to see my main expert actually wrote an essay of his professional opinion of the mental illness based on my factors the appendix of my book that's really interesting and i was pleased that she did that for me. the mental illness is not a subject, find simply to her which is another reason it is so fascinating and deals with her and her family of course you have to understand her relationship with her husband as a family and then also dealing with abraham lincoln as president and the white house but also includes aspects of the civil war, the reconstruction period, the gilded age, legal, medical and social history, gender issues, the history of psychiatry and what i think is one of the most important things is to have to understand robert
todd lincoln which i don't think anybody really does. no historian that i have read the entire historiography no one has ever tried to figure out why robert did what he did. they either dismiss it or judge him morally. what a horrible man he had his mother committed but they don't try to understand his motivation is and my book is as much about robert as it is about mary, who he was and why he did what he did and if you have to understand that robert was a quintessential victorian era a gilded age gentlemen who was full of the notions of duty and honor and he believed very strongly in family privacy and he got a lot of that in his schooling in new england he was at harvard for four years and at the academy for one year and he believed then throttled his letters you can see that it was his duty to protect her he was the last, the oldest son and said many times to his aunts and
other people one particular he said i've done my duty as i know and providence must take care of the rest of course you also have to look at his mother's symptoms and what other people were telling him advising him to do because he didn't act alone he consulted with seven medical experts as well as three of his father's closest friends and advisers, david davis and john todd stewart all of whom knew mary lincoln for more than 20 years and john stuart was even a cousin and they all agreed that she wasn't insane which i will get to later. my conclusion is that she did have very serious mental illness. if you look at her life one can easily discerned early manifestations of manic depressive illness or what today we call bipolar disorder. she had symptoms of depression, the illusions of persecutions, poverty of various illness, she suffered hallucinations, narcissism or set inflated self esteem, insomnia, mood swings,
and course the thing we all know is her spending which they call monomaniac. these early manifestations later developed into full-blown psychotic episodes with the symptoms usually magnified and eventually she devolved into threats of physical violence against other people family her son robert from she threatened to murder and whom she said she hired men to murder and she tried to commit suicide. the multiplicity of her psychotic episodes show she did not suffer one psychotic episode in 1875, which led to her institutional the station but in my book i trees her mental illness all the way back to her childhood and you can see that it stands her entire life. of course you cannot judge her by that alone and you cannot understand her if you do not understand also that she lived a very, very tragic and traumatic life, and we cannot separate that from whatever mental
illness she had. of course she suffered the early death of her parents, the death of three of her four sons, the murder of her husband whom she was sitting next to and holding his hand and of the numerous relatives during the war, the estrangement of the family and friends during the white house years of unrelenting criticism of the press, the apathy of the american people after she left the white house, and of course the shiastan of congress who did not want to give her any money or a pension or anything because she treated them badly during the white house and they didn't want to help her out. if you look at all -- if you look at her entire life, you can see that a lot of her psychotic episodes really revolved around some of the main traumatic events. if we just take the major episodes when her son died in 1850 when he was four, which was in the span of six months her son died, her father died and mary was completely destroyed and she wouldn't eat, she wouldn't leave her room, she wouldn't change her clothes and
finally a him lincoln had to plead with hurt you must eat for we must live. and if you go out and she got a little bit better than 1862 willie died in the white house and elizabeth ackley and other people said mary was completely inconceivable and again, she wouldn't leave her room or eat or do anything and finally, abraham lincoln as elizabeth ackley said she took her to the window, went to be as an asylum on the hill and said you must try to control your grief or it will drive you mad and we will have to send you there. and it's interesting that for all of the for having her committed it was abraham lincoln who suggested she might have to be committed and during my research i found three instances where abraham lincoln had an opinion on his wife's mental illness which was exciting because it until there were quite some money which will spoil all of those in the book. some people including robert
fink said mary's troubles really began with the assassination. of course mary -- the was other traumatic event for her. she had another psychotic episode there and then she got a little bit better and then it had died in 1971 and some think it was his death of really unhinged her and that is what i think it really did most of the damage because if you look at her life, abraham lincoln was her anchor to sanity and what she said in a wonderful little 1969 she said mr. lincoln was by all, my lover, my brother, my friend called all to me and he really helped keep her same and was the buffer between her and a society that she needed. of course when he died, she was gone but she latched onto it had been for the next six years the went to europe, she barely let him out of her side and there would be an interesting research topic to look at tad's life.
i don't know how happy it could have been because there is one instance when they were in chicago and robert was going into the city and robert said you have to ask your mother and she wouldn't let them go because she didn't want to let them out of her sight. there are many reasons for that. but it was really after the death in 1871 when mary had nobody left of her children were gone, she alienated family and friends and was the only one left. she had a thriving law practice in chicago and didn't have the time to give her what she needed or what she wanted. then she turned into a homeless wanderer and hired a nurse to go with her but her anchor to sanity was gone. now what is known that by 1873 she was getting fairly constant medical treatment by the doctor for what he called fever and nervous arrangement of the head some of her symptoms are well known to the people she said that the indians feared was removing and replacing her scalp
that he was pulling thone bones out of hershel and wires of her eyes, she heard voices and spoke to people through the walls and floors, and force again, her extravagant spending on items that she didn't use or need, which in my opinion that is the least of her problems but that is the best moment. now, by 1875, mary was wintering in florida and robert was in chicago and mary suddenly had this delusion that robert was on his deathbed and nothing anybody did or said could convince her otherwise and so she went up to chicago, hop on the train and was very surprised to find that he was perfectly healthy. of course after that she really did all of the next few months with all of her symptoms, hallucinations, delusions, various things and that is when robert decided to consult with experts and his father's friends and try to figure out what to do and this was in the first inkling that he had of this.
in 1867 after the scandal he wrote a letter to his future wife in which he basically said people ask me why i don't do something about my mother but it's very hard to deal with someone who is seen on every subject but one. and you can see that he really tried to leave it alone for about eight years by about 1875 he felt that there was nothing more he could do. under the illinois law he had to put her before a jury trial or the declared her in same. and after about ten minutes of the deliberating after three hours of testimony, they declared her insane and she was sent to the sanitarium. the letters i found do much to eliminate her life. of course to talk about her physical ellis of which she suffered quite a lot. her mental health of course is in there. one of the things most fascinating to me is that the letters show exactly how mary got herself released from the asylum eight months early. in fact in the trunk of material
that i found in the very first letter that she ever wrote from the asylum. the letters show that she was not the orchestrator of the release of which is what people tend to think. she got married out of the asylum. she was, as i said a feminist and abolitionist. she would have been an attorney. she passed the bar but the illinois state supreme court declared that she couldn't be an attorney because she was a married woman, not a woman but a married woman, and the united states supreme court upheld that decision. but her husband was an attorney and was on the state legislature but since she couldn't be an attorney, myra brad will begin publishing the chicago legal news which was the most influential and highly circulated legal newsletter in america. she was one of mary lincoln's friends and people think that because she helped mary that she got all started but really these
letters the life of show that it was mary aplington who began her quest for freedom and orchestrated everything and that myra was her accomplice however willing and able she may have been but it was mary lincoln who knew to harness the power of the press to make it seem that she was being imprisoned against her will and that was horrible plight that she was suffering. ..
it just shows she was perfectly for. i think it shows that the asylum actually converse. then of course a lot of the stressors in her life for god. she called robert dickey made. the press is not after all the time. she was kind of away from congress. she still writing for them to get pension. so a lot of the stressors are gone, but that does not mean her symptoms were gone. some of the letters that survive you can see still there. a lot of rather symptoms were still there as well. as i said, many historians have tried for about 80 years. and the 1930s come historian debbie at a evidence is also a doubt what a wonderful book called mrs. abraham lincoln of her personality and influence him again. he tried to find the letters and his conclusions is that it's not
the last of the letters. in the 1950s, she declared that the letters had vanished. in the 1970s, then that and veteran justin turner wrote mary lincoln inside life and letters also try. they could not find the letters and they declared that robert lincoln must have destroyed them because they were so damning to him. of course he strides have been looking for the letters because we know they are out there and went to see the days they, but really i think people want to see them because they really think there's some great details in there and they showed that mary really was saying. it was a kangaroo court and he was an aberration as bastardy didn't deserve linking. what was really interesting is the letters in fact do not show that at all. they showed that as a theory that was going on. but that is not really what happened. of course when i was -- probably
the most interesting letter of that people will find most interesting is when the area's most famous letters she wrote to robert wright after she got out of the asylum, writing and coming to crane his see free saying you tried your game frog rethought en masse. it's a horrible, heartbreaking letter that a mother would write to her son. and the track i found a letter that barrier to bradwell one day before the letter to robert. it's almost a dresser or so for that letter and its heart raking in victory all an anger against roberts. she calls them all sorts of names. at the end of the letters she not only call us names, that tries to enlist there are bradwell to get revenge on robert and publish stories and lies about him in the newspaper, which did not happen. but it surprised me that very tried to do that. now, i found the letters -- sigh
of relief, yes. he's going to talk about it. when i found the letters in 2005, i was very doing research for my upcoming biography of robert todd lincoln and i went there on a cold, dreary, rainy bramante in march. it was close to that time. it was open to visitors. i met with the curator bragg and 90 to take me up to the house. so robert lincoln study is intact in the city has a wonderful wall. in the study has a wonderful wall. in the study has a wonderful wall. robert notes with archival boxes in all of his papers were in there. so boring to me up. he set me up on robert lincoln's dining room table with a big portion of robert overlooking me in a very cold folding metal chair. he wasn't even out of the house. he showed the roberts study and said okay, go ahead. it was amazing. many boxes had inches of dust on
them, no fingerprints at all. i don't think in historian at in their other than bring the curator since the 1970s. so it was amazing to go through these letters that no one had ever really seen. i came across a letter written by robert's attorney, frank towers to catherine hill, robert's cousin and the one and only sole authorized biographer of mary lincoln. in the letter said basically this is lincoln had a surprise today. mrs. martin prichard, granddaughter of bradwell came to say that she on 35 letters written by mary lincoln and she had written a book about it and she had a publishing contract and was just calling it as the courtesy to let us know it's going to be publish skull which was amazing. of course i like all lincoln scholars note the missing letters throughout aircon assignee with this knew what this is about. i found another letter by frank towers saying mrs. lincoln would love to meet you in washington.
maybe we can help you with your boat. but he found later as mary lincoln did not try to help her. she tried to stop her come which he eventually did. so i photocopied those two letters and brought them home. i set them aside for a while and they pick them up again. and researching i realize those letters had never been quoted or mentioned anywhere in any of the lincoln historiography. no one even knew they existed. so i decided to take a little deeper. i didn't ever think an archived various and there's nothing about think in an her missing letters. so i decided to check on bradwell. and it took me a few months and i read a book called by her bradwell, america's first woman lawyer. and i found the bradwell's last living relative, mr. james gordon who lived in wisconsin at the time. he was a very nice man and he had a folder full of legal document, which discussed the
sale of the letters, the unpublished manuscript in the quashing of the publishing contract between minor prichard and mary lincoln. and he was very nice. he let me have copies all of that stuff. once i realized it is a legal matter it is better to track and roberts attorneys because he does seem attorney for 20 or 30 years. after a lot of archival research in google searches, telephone calls to complete strangers who probably thought i was crazy, i finally tracked down freddie towers and the son of robert's attorney. he was a really nice man at a sedate writing a biography. restarted for 10 or 15 minutes. it was great. as let's say well, the reason i called was -- you said you know, we just found in the attic daddy's old trunk from the lincolns. i'm in there there's some letters that mary wrote when she
was in the asylum. do you think they're worth anything? i said that's why i was calling you. i was -- it was amazing. a moment every historian dreamed of. mr. towers is a great guy. i said i'm writing about it. you think i can look at that? sure. you know, he had two sisters and nato summit truck. it had been in their attic for 40 years and they they were moving, which is how they found it. and he was one week before he found them. i kahnawake center he's been sorry don't have anything college as i amazing to me. said he wanted to consult his two sisters because they were in the process. they didn't have to do with all. they were assured they should keep it, sell it, donate it to museum. they're even thinking about destroying it because they knew robert lincoln had destroyed some family papers and the letters. everything showed that kerry harper lincoln destroyed a lot of things. and so, mr. towers concerted
with his sisters and they were not quite so quick to let me see them. so i sent them every article i've ever read. i just finished a huge article about the insanity case, which was good for me. if i met them in person i would've gotten down on my knees and said please, let me look at the letters. so finally they got is probably the best person to read the book a miss is that we look at everything and i went to their house in new york city. it was actually in silver spring maryland, but the sister had in new york city. it was an amazing moment. as a steamer trunk full of thousand -- hundreds of lincoln family documents, among which were very slightest, the unpublished book. it was very interesting book. so you know, i got to do that. as i said, it was every historian stream. as i was going to the trunk and
the letters and doing my other research, a lot of my opinion and positions about merrymaking changed. i am an objectivist in history -- i believe objectivism is i believe you find facts and pilot the other to to the conclusion that leads you to come and not the other way around. you don't start with the conclusion of both around it. but we all have opinions. when i started the book, i never thought barry was crazy and i still don't. but it was that maybe she was kind over the emotional woman who was just traumatized by the assassination and she just never recovered from that. but the more that i read and of course reading her letters and then do another research, you know, the more i realize she had very serious mental illness. there was a lot of things i found that it never been published. a couple things that struck me was mary had a horrible, horrible fear of fire and
dilution that things were on fire and ice because of the great chicago fire of 1871. she was in chicago during that time. robert, seven doctors robert consulted all agreed and said anyone that has a dilution like that could at any minute think that the renaissance fire and jump out of a window. i mean, to me that is enough to have his mother committed just for her own safety. the reporter visited mary and me sanitarium and the article is fascinating. i can't recall seeing it published anywhere either. the reporter is talking about how merrily, sit at the table for hours and have conversations with president and his cabinet. for she was said at the table and have conversations with her dead son. i mean, serious hallucinations she was having. there were many other things, too. it really struck me and changed my mind on things. but the one thing they did not
change from the israelis that you lincoln as a person who deserved a lot of sympathy and not a little bit of pity. on top of her innate mental illness, she had this horribly tragic and hermetic life. i don't think you can necessarily blame her for a lot of things she did when you really understand what she went through. the likewise, i don't see simply robert lincoln for what he did. if you try to understand the time his f10, his whole belief is that it taurean gentlemen, the sufficiency consulted, friends of lincoln he consulted, you really can't blame him for acted the way he thought was best for protecting himself from other people. unfortunately this has been a great road bike and understanding the institutionalization episode is people think that if you are defending are trying to understand either robert or married that that means you're automatically vilify and the
other one. it's really developed in recent years in my opinion to this he said she said argument. if you try to stay mary had on us, people attack you for being misogynist or whatever and vice versa with defending robert. but i think that if you try to really understand the events in the context, you can really see that to defend one or the other and understand it's not to defile the other one. you need to objectively look at this event in all the facts surrounding that. i think only then can we truly understand what happened to mary and why. thank you. [applause] >> questions? yes, please go to the
microphone. and you can line up. after all, we are talking about mary lincoln now. >> i have a question about the history of psychiatry. he said you address that in the book. we have terminology, you know, the whole history first begins with freud. did they know more than that we give credit for the terminology has just changed? >> i was kind of expect dean, you know, one flew over the cuckoo's nest was some kind of medieval thing. but i read a lot of issues but american insanity. that is back in the 1860s and then of course current books and articles on the history of medicine, articles in medical journals today. they did understand quite a bit.
mary had the best treatment possible. from what i understand that then they restate hospitals that were kind of one flew over the cuckoo's nest. there were people in there and they've been there. before that, most people who had mental troubles were put in prison actually before they try to diagnose and understanding cure it or they would be put sometimes in the house until her sometimes they be kept at home and maybe even locked in the basement. barry was treated with moral therapy, which was the current theory of time, which was a good diet, a lot of rest, eating, walking, distract them a mind like gardening or talking in very, very little medication if any at all. there's no evidence that mary took education while she was there. it's very interesting to see. of course there were things they did not understand. but they get thought was interesting is if someone disheveled in their test, they didn't brush the hair that they
were insane. seems a little simplistic to me. they did hint that women were more prone to insanity and then. but it was surprisingly -- i don't know if modern is the right term. i thought it would be much more misogynist or a much more against women than it actually seemed to me to be. of course as i said i'm not a medical expert for my research. it does seem they're about to trying to cure people. >> thank you, only. >> see how many women hot tub when you ask her questions. maybe you could speak to this a little bit. it's been sometime since i read about mary lincoln. but these days we frequently encounter overmedication. and i maybe wrong on on this, but i'll run time back in the springfield days, i think there
is a record in their pharmacy that opium was a commonly prescribed cure for migraines to which mary was subject. some of the side effects were some of these things which you discuss, hallucinations and so forth. would you address this whole topic of medication? maybe there's someone medical in the audience who is also the database. thank you. >> well, i've looked at george store records in a ticket opm, that none in very great amount that all that would suggest anything other than normal household use. and all my research i was surprised to find i only found two actual primary mentions of mary taking drugs at all. one was mary's sister. she was trying to excuse -- mary told me she was taking too much coral in florida and that's why she got agitated. a fairly recent letter to
unaided to the presidential library in which mary requested for more pills because she darty taken the fight he gave her. she doesn't say what they were. chloral hydrate and things like that weren't usually diagnosed, so i couldn't figure out what she was talking about. if there is lincoln took medication, i'm sure she did, but you know, there's no evidence i could find that she took huge amounts, she was the date to do it. i did a lot of research on specific medication. and primaries mental systems, the most common medication was chloral hydrate laud them for opm are any kind of mixture of the three. and there is a lot in the journal of american insanity, a lot of articles about those drugs. were they a tape give? over their effects? what were their benefits? is really interesting that chloral hydrate, the most common
in people say merry took was not addictive. at all. but you know, when she was in the asylum, there is a daybook of every day she was there. it never mentions they gave her medication, that she ask her medication, that she suffered from a straw for medication. nothing at all about medication. before she was in the asylum, her dirt is a homeopathic surgeon -- homeopathic doctor, which believes in extreme dilution, 99% water. even if she was taken on a lot of medication, it was most likely deluded. and all of my research, i've done practically nothing about mary taking medication, which really surprised me. and i address it the book, but i don't think that had anything to do with governmental symptoms. >> yes, your talk makes this
question. do you know, and if so will you share with us but the family did the con tents at the track? >> absolutely. the chunk is on now and the library of congress and the manuscripts division. you cannot read it if you like. i actually had to verify something a few months ago and it was really exciting to see all catalog and folders since it turned think i saw this. [laughter] >> my name is mark zimmerman and on my florida. and thoughtfulness is always something that's interested me. i'm not a psychiatrist, but a quick story about manic depression. my question is how is job nesbitt and anything it was, she was diagnosed as manic depressive. as of this sinks come i do very close colleague of night, just psychiatrist to my in the summer
of 2006 anopheles medications can intro from florida to new york and was arrested for attempted murder and kidnapping. and this is a gentleman who is a wonderful, caring, loving individual. it is two months ago he got out of rakers. so you can see that manic depression is a significant illness, a diagnosis if it is untreated can cause some major problems in individual lives. i'm wondering if indeed part of the question was answered and you're not sure what medication she receives if any. took a very diagnosis and with it manic-depression back then? >> he did not have to diagnosis back then. in the daybook, the very first entry said mrs. flint can admit it today -- i think it just said mental trouble beginning with the assassination of her has been gotten worse over the past four months. but you know, as i said it was
fever and nervous arrangement of the head. dr. patterson, her physician -- i can't give any specific term he ever used other than mental illness. one thing that was interesting as you are talking about the ups and downs of manic depressive, you know, i found going back to mary's childhood can can her cousin said when mary was a child she was much like an april day, sending oliver one minute in the next crime is so her heart would break. and springfield headbangers or both and branding his bid it was commonly note that mary was either the kerry or the seller. my favorite was stoddard, one of lincoln's secretary's daughter wrote the best thing where he said i just cannot understand how a woman who was so kind of a generous and so warm and nothing can the next minute be so vicious and sofa and didn't so
mean. it was really quite an interesting quote to see that. it was obvious to people. her relation, her depression. but that was interesting. i could not find anything. dr. burris in the appendix does an interesting job of tracing more history and turned in for a in things like that. >> very good. yes, sir. >> we now understand there may be a strong genetic component to many mental illnesses. what do we know about history of suicide or mental on this and mary todd lincoln's family? >> there was a lot actually. michael burlingame who is coming up at the biography of abraham lincoln found any shared with me i think 14 members of the todd family are commanded to asylums. 12 of them died there. a number committed suicide. a few types who just got to be be a little crazy.
and so there is a lot. even robert lincoln. it's really interesting, he certainly has a lot of anxiety as his mother did and that's her father, robert todd had a lot of anxiety. robert todd lincoln suffered, seem to be bouts of depression. it did not affect him or incapacitate him like his mother. i can't say why. and of course he also had a lot of physical ailments like his mother did. he like his mother was a bit of a hypochondriac actually. there's quite an extensive family history. >> if i understand correctly, you said that she consulted some psychiatrists and they lead you to believe it might be bipolar disorder. was very differential diagnosis also giving? >> actually no. he looked at it. it was interesting he saw the
article in american heritage and issa psychiatrist in l.a. and he deals with kind of normal people who have minor problems and he's also had a psychiatric ward who deals with really, really insane people. it is interesting he told me had a case almost identical. a woman her same age at the same symptoms and her son had her committed. she was committed for a few weeks. they put on medication and that she was better. she admitted she was better. she admitted that medication that helped her and yet she never forgave her son for having her committed, even though she knew that it helped her. you know, he did his own thing. i didn't and pinch my opinions on him and he came back and thought it was bipolar. the other two i consulted with eugene taylor at harvard. he does a lot with spiritualism
and he hopes to tap are. and professor mary washington university in fredericksburg where he lived all say with some of the history aspects. but you know, they all thought it was bipolar. in my book i do a little historiography of what physicians have thought about barry's case. i found it really interesting. i found two great articles written by professionals. one in the 1940s by -- his name just left me. he actually is considered the father of modern psychiatric diagnosing criminals and he helped catch the boston strangler actually. his name is saluted me right now. he's written great books in a newspaper he said she had chronic headaches. that was his diagnosis. which i don't know what that's supposed. in the 1960s, a man named john suarez published a paper in the journal of the american psychiatric association.
and he said that mary lincoln was clearly mentally troubled with a danger to herself and others. and i today, meaning 1966, any jury or doctor in america would have her committed. that is an interesting paper as well. he said -- i don't remember if he put a name and what he thought, but he listed all of her symptoms. and of course in 1999, saltman and norbert hirschhorn are both doctors come about from the physiological viewpoint is that mary suffered from posttraumatic stress disorder, which is the kind of center in 1865. they didn't really opine on her mental state. >> thank you very much. any other questions for jason? thank you very much.s an hour.
he has a lot of things to tell. he's written a book called "my dear president." without further ado, welcome. [applause] >> well, thank you. when i was covering up, i couldn't spell to words, and this is the end cincinnati because they were too many double letters and i could never get them straightened out. but fortunately found that today you can actually get the cincinnati without knowing how to spell it. so i felt good about that. first of all, i want to thank joseph for hosting this event. i want to thank my two editors, laura ross and iris newsom for correct the many of my mistakes and i want to thank my daughter, in for coming up with the idea for the companion book is called
first daughters. and i want to thank my wife for embarking on one last book. authors are late politicians. they last spoke -- their next book is always the last book, but it never is. the key to this book is that the passion and intensity as spouses is the key to understanding presidents and their first ladies and their personal and public life. all but one of the president said the united states had been married and their spouses play critical roles in their lives. many of these men would not have achieved the presidency or even aspire to it had it not been for their spouses. we undertook this book is a companion to first daughters.
as they were on it, it took on a life of its time because the content and intensity of the letters themselves. i think is a look at some of them, you'll see that although there is public dissidents in many of these letters, the private assertiveness that the spouses in particular is particularly interesting. tonight think as time goes on, the dissidents of lies such as america washington, dolly madison, lucretia garfield gave way to the spouses, such as pharaoh pope and helen taft and virtually all of the presidential wives in the last 50 years who now pretty much have taken an equal share in their presidential run.
now, i want to read a couple of letters as we go along so you can see how this change in the dissidents that the people. this is a letter that dolly madison wrote to her husband, james when he was secretary of state. and dolly madison was in philadelphia recovering from an injury to her knee. at this time, spouses wives were not considered to be a fact that in the administration as they are now. but i want you to listen to this part of the letter and tell me what she's saying about what dolly is saying that she writes this letter. i wish he would insult me with some information, respect in the world with bated in disagreement with england as it is such an
unexpected year that i am at a loss what to surmise. you know i am not much of a politician, but i am extremely anxious to hear this piracy may think proper what is going forward on this subject. i believe you would not desire the active partisans such as her neighbor, mrs. al, nor will they be the slightest danger while she is conscious of her want to talents and her dissidents and expressing her opinions, always imperfectly understood by her sex. so dolly madison is the same age the role of the good spouse. now, compare that to abigail adams letter, written even before this time.
abigail is writing to her has been, john adam's in 1776, before the declaration of independence is past. and abigail is one of those people who is very free with advice to both her has been into anybody else who would listen. certainly not a dissident wife. she writes to her has been john, a lot to hear the issue have declared an end tendency. and by the way, and the new code of laws, which i suppose it will be necessary for you tonight, i desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous than favorable to them stay in your own ancestors. do not put that unlimited power into the hands of the has-beens. remember, all men would retiming says they could.
particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation. that's your sex are naturally tyrannical as a truth so thoroughly established as to admit no dispute. such a view of his wish to be happy unwillingly give up the harsh title of master for the bartender and endearing one as friend. why then not put it out of the power of the vicious and lawless to use this with cruelty and indignity and impunity. then it sends an all ages, accord those customs, which triggers only as baffled scum i regard as as being placed by providence under your protection and an imitation of the supreme
beings make use of that power, only for our happiness. so, abigail is telling john very much what is on her mind. now, many of these presidents would not have been there had it not been for their spouses. sir polk, mary link in, helen taft, allen nervous about, rosalind carter, probably nancy reagan. these are all people who very much pushed their spouses into the limelight. sir polk told her husband before she would marry him that he had to be alike did to the state senate of tennessee because she was going to see she very much wanted a political career. and she was so much a part of
his administration that his opponents called her the president trusts. and she was very astute in her political advice. here is a letter that she wrote to her husband, james polk. this is in 1844, when he wants the opportunity to become president. and she writes, dear husband, the whigs i am told are in good deal of concern since the death of their president. that's william henry harrison. not matter what tyler will do, et cetera, et cetera. according judgment, the same powers will control client. the banner is still harping on your two addresses.
and there articles now a word to you what they never did he for, that she would be able, talented and great leader in the works are in danger of another defeat. i am told that they have become here very uneasy, fearing there will be a democratic legislature. they say in the articles, you are hereby a leaping dangerous foe. so i think it will level artillery against you. there are more respectful toward do anywhere in former times. they make no new charges them out they have said does not amount to much in my judgment. this area is really giving james some instructions on what is likely to happen. now, there is a vocal person, helen taft, who was even more
forceful in what she wanted her husband to do. william howard taft wanted nothing more than to become a supreme court justice. but helen taft didn't want to have any part of the. she made him turn down two offers to go on the supreme court became president. there is a nice lettering here that i'm going to read part of tu, and that she to her husband, william, when he was seeking the nomination for the presidency. it has to do with the meeting she had with theodore roosevelt, who was then president of the united states. and she writes to her has been, william taft, about the meeting she had in the white house. and she says after lunch, the
president, theodore roosevelt, said he wanted to talk to me and share me off to sit down in the window. as usual, it was about you but i'm a new tact. he seems to have think i am consumed with and ignored in its ambition to be president and that he must constantly warn me that you may never get there. and he now says that while you are his first choice, that in case you are not crowded to the powers that be, it may become necessary for him to support someone else like you for instance should he live in new york. i felt like saying dmu, support who you want for all i care. but suffice it to say, i did not. so despite her outspoken minister has been, william howard taft was very careful not to offend teddy roosevelt, who
had a great deal that is going to succeed him as president. now, when venus other people also wanted their has-beens very much to be president, edith will send virtually acted as president after wilson had his stroke. you may recall that when woodrow wilson was canned evening for the treaty of peace after the war that was going to end all wars, he suffered a massive stroke and was in bed for almost a year. edith wilson virtually ran the white house. in fact she did good she would lead anyone to see him. she would take messages from cabinet on her since she was so
into the bedroom where -- where her husband was and then she was come out and say, the president wants you to do this. when in actuality, the only one who is deciding this edith wilson. not best truman and lady johnson actually ran their has-beens congressional or senate arial offices before they became president. and harry truman responded to criticism with running his office by saying that not only was she good, but she was cheap and you didn't have to pay her. even when he became president, best truman continued to add it all with his speeches. and you can be sure that she was
giving him advice. of course, eleanor roosevelt had her agendas and rosalind carter is not the first presidential wife to want to sit in on cabinet meetings. she actually did. but edith roosevelt, teddy roosevelt's wife also volunteered to sit in on cabinet meetings. so as you can see, the wise they think throughout this, played a very strong role in the presidency. the other thing that comes through in these letters very matches the personal passion and intensity. despite the many occasions of unfaithfulness, dare i at least three known instances, where presidents had illegitimate children. these couples still had very
solid relationships based on love and in many cases based on ambition. you can see this same issue in blogging and lost lost in my letters. virtually all of them were separated for long periods of time. i like to say you don't get to be president by trial in the lower 40. these people were, lot. and so, these letters become the replacement for president. there are many letters in here that i think are very interesting. i think i have been surprised in talking to people's been a number of call-in shows that people thought these letters were too intimate to be published. but i'm going to read some of them to you anyway.
there actually are some letters that i decided not to include in the book because they or i think a little too steamy for this kind of boat. this was supposed to be a nice friendly family type boat. so i did leave some of the letters out. but this is a nice letter that theodore roosevelt wrote to alice leahy, who he was engaged to. i'm a slave first wife. and he writes to her just a few days before her wedding. he's 22 and she's made team. he writes, many tourists love, you are too good to write me so often when you have so much to do. i hope that you are not all tired out with were. but at any rate, you will have two weeks complete rest at oyster bay.
and then you shall do just as you please and everything. they say that before the wedding. my darling, i do so hope and pray i can make you happy. i shall try very hard to be a sound selfish and sunny tempered as you are and i shall save you from every care i can. my own true love, you have eaten a happiness almost too great and i feel i can do so little for you in return. i worship you so that it seems almost desecration to touchier. and yet, when i am with you, i can hardly let you a moment out of my arms. my purest green, no man was worthy of your love is, but i shall try very hard to deserve it, at least in part. good vibe i am sorry.
now, there is another letter here from a man who is not normally can figure it a great romantic ether and that would be harry truman. this is a letter that hairy charming virtuous wife, best truman, when he was in military training camp at fort leavenworth and his wife had come to visit and. after she left, he wrote to her, teargas, i wanted to go home with you so badly last night i could hardly stand it. she just looked as if you needed a shoulder to put your head on. and i of course acted like a man usually does. i am sure you didn't feel a bit good and that i'm saying did not make you any better. well, it won't be but a couple of days more. i bet you'll feel fine. the interesting thing here is i
don't have the content of the letter, but the fact that harry truman thought his wife had saugerties when it turned out she was pregnant with her late daughter, margaret, so her illness didn't go away when he got home in a few days. but that was their only child they had and i'm sure they were very happy to have it. i'd like to reach are a part of another letter that is also woodrow wilson to his first wife, alan wilson. woodrow wilson wrote the most intimate letters of any of the president. in fact, he encouraged his first wife and second wife to write she had in detail, expressing everything they were thinking and he did, too. he wrote this letter to his
wife, helen. she was in georgia visiting her family. and he writes, when i come, how many things of all sorts have been putting off till that sweet time, principally lovemaking. you may not be based on the character of contents of some of my letters, that such a postponement has been very evident in this correspondence. but it has been very evident to me, almost in coach didn't unless i can say them to my lips and interpret them with my eye. not to know that sweet lovemaking in which there are no words spoken at all. i am coming and then we'll see if it isn't better. and then the letter goes on. as i said, which relates to write in great detail. when he was courting his second
wife, they would spend the evening together and then they would both go home and write to each other and describe in great detail what they had done in the previous several hours. those are the letters that are not in this book. there is a letter here that has to do with a person in this part of the world, james garfield. some of you probably know james and lucretia garfield had a rather rocky relationship because james garfield believed in what he called romantic relationships. what we would call it nowadays i guess open marriage for free love. honor the other other or maybe both.
but garfield as they said had many times romantic relationships other than his fiat faith or his wife. and this is a letter that lucretia wrote to james garfield before they were married. and she is writing to him because he has encouraged her. i was the other kind of strange thing. he would encourage his wife to become fast friends with the woman that he was having his romantic relationship with. so, she knew about the woman, rebecca satellite. so she writes to him, i blame you for not being. for whatever you may have time, i believe that our faithfulness
and gushing affection of your warm and impulsive nature to go out in all its fullness towards another than the one to whom you have pledged your all. all innocently as it was done, i cannot mean you. and could the effect with all the past of our intimacy might have over you be blotted out. i would say to you this hour, go and marry rebecca and hereafter, trust your heart so far. rebecca is a good and noble grow in many aspects from a superior. but she loves you know better. if however you love her better, she can satisfy the wants of your nature better and more than all, if you can with her become a good and noble man in spite of all the past, pronounce upon
your love his sister's blessing. you told me to adjust and prompted you another couriers. do you feel yourself an honorable, generous man you must take me alone to your heart. what feeling did take whatever it might. i have thought it would never allow that, that i would never be your wife and less every feeling of your heart seconded and decisions of recent. perhaps i asked too much, but james, to be an unloved wife, heavens i could not endure it. the letter goes on. they did get married and unfortunately for lucretia, she also had to endure james' scowling with other romantic relationships. however, they did stay married and i think one of the
interesting things about their marriage's was after james was assassinated, his wife, lucretia really send forth as a person. there may be a connection between these two things. and she lived a long and happy life, had a host in ohio and one in california and lived very well and enjoyed herself to no end and undoubtedly didn't have to worry about james is relationships and friendships. now, if these people were joined by both love and ambition, but many of the wives were actually opposed to their has-beens political ventures and virtually all the president had some
point, started with washing and working your way down to william clinton, promised a ride since sometime that they would not leave home the next time politics called, which of course never proved to be true. it's kind of like the authors who always say this is my last book and it never is. but the president's wrote and promised their wives often that they would pass up some part of their careers. this is a letter to george washington wrote to his wife, dolly. it's the classic letter of it has been either going off in this case to war were to send political campaign. sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between military campaign and political
campaigns. but george is writing in june of 1775. and he writes, my dearest and i think it's interesting just to notice the opening of the letter because we tend to think of washington as this very stiff, formal person. and very view of his letters have survived because after he dies, martha washington burned virtually every letter she could get her hands on. the only ones that survived are the ones that she overlooked. this being one of them that it's tough to decide it to a friend of george washington had purchased. this is how well from philadelphia. anyway, he writes to her, my dearest, i am now sit down to write you on a subject which
fills me with inexpressible could turn. this concern is greatly aggravated and increased when i reflect upon the uneasiness i know that it will give you. it has been determined that congress that the whole primary race for the defense of the american cause shall be put under my care and that it is necessary for me to proceed immediately to boston to take upon me to come the end of it. you may believe me, my dear patsy when i assure you in the most solemn manner but so far from seeking this appointment, i have used every in denver in my power to avoid it. not only from my unwillingness to part with you in the family, that from a consciousness of it being a trust to create for my capacity and that i should enjoy them more real happiness and solicit and one that puts you at
home than i ever had the most distant prospect of reaping abroad is my state were to be seven times seven years. i think church washington probably gave that speech to his wife every time he left home. first to be commander-in-chief and the two had the constitutional convention. then to be president. then to go back as commander of the army yet again. it is a statement that many people have made. ann rutherford behaves, and other local person wrote in his diary that public men seldom keep their promises to retire to private life. benjamin harrison, and other ohio resident promised his wife,
caroline, that no object of ambition arcane cadaver leads me away from the side of my dear wife and children. he wrote that when he was 32. of course he later became president. so i imagine that some point he did leave his place site. edith roosevelt, who is teddy roosevelt's second wife even drafted a letter for teddy roosevelt, renouncing the offer of the vice presidency in 1800 to serve with william mckinley. and of course william mckinley was soon assassinated and teddy roosevelt became at that point the youngest man ever to become president. ..
idea, so after her husband died in necessitated a remarriage by andrew and rachel. but anyway, andrew wrote to her in 1796 it is with the greatest pleasure i sit down to write you though i am absent my heart rests with you with what hopes on view the future period i should be restored to your arms there to spend my days in domestic sweetness with you the companion of my life never to be separated from you again during this transitory in fluctuating life. i mean to retire from the business of public life and spend my time with you alone in ste. retirement which is my only
ambition and ultimate wish. between 1796 and 1830, he was a u.s. senator three times lead american army into the war and was elected president, so you can see how well he kept his promise always to stay by his wife's side. unfortunately for rachel she died just after he was elected president so that she actually never did get to spend any time in the white house. but i think it's important to note that these people did pursue this career together, and i think that before there were current rock stars and movie stars and a celebrity athletes
first families with a national celebrities come and the first lady from martha washington and forward were in the spotlight of fame and virtually all of them complained they couldn't pursue their private life because they were living in as you like atmosphere and most of these people were first lady and president before there was the cocoon of the secret service to protect them and lucretia garfield wrote an interesting letter that i'm going to read part of here because after james was elected president, she decided that there were not any tailors in ohio that could properly outfitted her for the white house she went to new york to buy a new wardrobe and had to
go incognito because she was afraid that people in ohio would find out that she wasn't buying her clothes from the local merchant that she was going off to new york. so she writes this letter back to james garfield and says no word from home yet. yesterday we made effective by making some decisions final in regard to the two suits and released. the prices seem extravagant and have made large inroad into the amount you sent. mr. reed told me we had not been betrayed yet and shall not unless mrs. sheldon gets to address me as mrs. greenfield as some unguarded moment.
the carriage is at the door again so i must be excused for the delightful work again. james writes back to her and says your first letter came this morning and filled the house with gladness. a must have required garrey skill -- great skill to write in new york with prominent friends that it escaped the notice. you are developing fine diplomatic qualities. the president arrives in the public and in the press jousted back to work throughout the history of the country. both wilson and harry truman threatened different parts to ask reporters what to step outside over things they had
written about their stalls or children and teddy roosevelt who was particularly doubted by the fact that his oldest daughter alice love nothing better than to appear in the press in any way she could and was not a particularly diplomatic person was forever causing teddy roosevelt bad press and wrote to a publisher saying that he was going to try to keep his daughter and his wife at home to minimize unwanted publicity. now of course we have public relations people out advertising where the president and their spouse is going to become and despite all of the protests and
the spin, they wouldn't be anyplace without the publicity that they get. certainly they don't want to minimize it even if they want to control its. i think that it's also interesting to note that in putting this book together i found it very hard to find the letters of the lives of other than of the president's. i think for one reason family members seem to have a particular affection for their mother's letters, not that i blame them, but they are particularly fond of keeping the letters even after the letters of their husbands are in the presidential pyramids or libraries, whichever you choose. i tend to think of them as presidential pyramids. but many of the wives of -- the
letters of the wives are not there. flexible, bess truman, her letters are still with her daughter margaret, mamie eisenhower letters are still basically with her son. david, patrician axson's letters are still with their daughters, and a lot of eleanor roosevelt's letters are still with her family. now, of their letters for example jackie kennedy i had acquired two letters from jackie kennedy, john kennedy but when i wrote to the daughter of carol wind to get permission it turned all that jackie kennedy had put in her will a wish that none of her letters between she and john be published. so i had to pull those letters out of test of the book.
they were interesting letters but unfortunately, we felt it best to honor the wishes of the person who wrote them. many of the lives actually tried to destroy all their letters. sometimes the husband did, too. it's hard to tell whether they did this because the fall of the letters were to personal or they were mad at their husbands or what was going on, but dolley madison asked her nieces to destroy all of her letters to james madison. fortunately her niece's transcribed her letters before they burnt the originals. so we have the copies of the letters but not the originals. they did fulfill the technical wish to destroy the actual letters but not the content.
and as i said, martha washington burned all of her husband's letters to hers and hers to him and it's hard to tell exactly why she did this. i think partly because she thought they were very personal and also i think after she read washington's will she may have been a little irritated with him because george washington freed up all of his sleeves on the death of his wife dolly, and not being very unintelligent person i think what we perceived that if she didn't do something quickly somebody might speed up her death a little bit in order to gain their freedom. so she immediately freed at all of this slaves owned by george
washington. washington was the only presidential slave owner who actually did free the slaves and that provides funds for them. but i wonder whether martha was just a little bit irritated by the way that the quest was made. i think that one thing in general it's safe to say that in the future is going to be extremely difficult to do this kind of book because after 1960 there were very few letters between presidents and their and why it costs and a lot of telephone conversations. there are i presume e-mails out there somewhere, but for the most part, the letters that we have even of the president's who
became president after 1960 are letters that were written when they were younger, and the last people to really i think right letters as they got older were the reagan's. and they wrote letters on till they got to the white house but they pretty much stopped, too. i think that two things have happened. not only is there a great deal of speed and communication, but the fact that there's also speedy transportation so that husbands and wives, president and first lady's are not separated very much. and so there are just not a lot of letters available for us to use. i think that before i asked for
questions i think i'd like to read a few more letters. not very many because i see that we are and as usual preamble on through my time, but there's one that i particularly like because it kind of in bodies the kind of teddy roosevelt macho man roughrider type of letter and this is a letter that teddy roosevelt wrote after he was shot by an attempted assassination, and he wrote this
letter -- i can't find the page right now. i have it now afterlife early in paris myself by not being able to find it in my own book. one of the trouble with having 184 letters is that it's difficult to remember on which page every letter is. malae have eight. theodore roosevelt wrote this letter to his wife edith roosevelt. as i said, he was a few feet, trying to run for president again on the party and was shot by amana mo waukee wisconsin, and not only did he finished delivering his speech which was an hour and a half, he then finally made his way to the emergency room and wrote this letter to his wife and an
excellent shape the moon is a trivial one. i think they will find that it merely glanced on the ridge and went somewhere into a cavity of the body. it certainly didn't touch a long and isn't a particle more serious than one of the injuries any of them used to be continually having to read and at the emergency hospital at the moment anticipate going right on with my engagements. my voice seems to be in good shape. best left to ethel. that's his daughter. i think that this is a good letter to end on because it's kind of a high note for the president and embodies what we like to think of our presidents as courageous and forthright and
honest, and i think if you read the letters in this book you will find for the most part the spouses are in their letters to each other honest and forthright even if they don't always see eye to eye. if you have any questions i would be happy to answer them. >> in your knowledge do you know anything about the correspondence between the president warren harding and his wife florence? >> yes i do. >> anderson and from reading about them she is overbearing and when she found out this party do you know anything about that? >> well, they had a rough marriage because warren harding had a wandering eye. he didn't just have one
relationship, he had a whole series he also had an illegitimate child while he was in the white house, so poor florence did have something to be upset about and she liked some of the of their husbands did destroy most of her husband's correspondence to her. she stuck with the marriage partly because she was very ambitious. she made no bones about the fact when he was senator that she wanted him to be president, and so, she was willing to put up with a lot of his shannon against. oftentimes they would have a public reception of the white house and florence would be downstairs greeting guests and warren with the upstairs with
his cronies and his friends playing poker and drinking whisky. they had an interesting relationship. >> i enjoyed your contribution to the c-span presentation. >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> you mentioned with for wilson and the relationship between he and the second wife to go through the train wreck of the second term did he perceived as a kind of new kernel or did she pursued her herself or what is the dynamic between the two of them? >> she perceives herself as i would say the vice president. she, for example, urged wilson to five-year william jennings bryan as the secretary of state,
and he did. she tried to push the colonel assigned she was pretty much a woman that knew what she wanted and set out to achieve it. they had a very i think warm relationship not only tied in with ambition, but when they were courting their letters are very torrid, and a friend of edith said that when woodrow proposed she fell out of bed. [laughter] so, i think they had a close
relationship and she did have aspirations. i think many of these women and rightly so felt they knew as much or more about running the country than their husbands did and that they realize it was only because of the culture of the country that they were restricted to being a kind of a backup person, and that tells you get into the 20th century, the y jeeves found it more and more to shut tuesday in the background. yes? >> based upon the letters and the relationship of the different couples who would you say had the most compelling relationship and why? someone that you would want to write more on just on that koppel. >> i think there are a number of
them that had interesting relationships. i think that from the letters that exist i think lyndon johnson and lady bird johnson's letters make their relationship very interesting because the early letters are very detailed and very close, and then as they progress through their career, their letters become less and frequent, but often times you wonder whether lyndon actually wrote the letters himself. but i think that they have a very interesting relationship because she clearly wanted a husband who had aspirations to be president. william taft had aspirations to become a justice in the supreme court.
his father had been attorney general of the u.s. under a grant, and i think that they wanted it to be a justice of the supreme court. so william taft salles this as the height of a career, and the way that they -- the whole dynamic of their courtship and the letters they wrote trout i think showed this kind of push and pull relationship and they wrote a very long and detailed letters even late in life, and i think that they really are quite good. i'm surprised that no one actually published a volume but they are excellent letters but there are a lot of really good relationships.
eleanor and franklin roosevelt, there's a relationship that, you know, went from a mountaintop to the valley back to the mountaintop and in between. there was a relationship in which sometimes you wonder whether they were actually in the same house together. there is a great letter in here in which franklin roosevelt rights to his wife saying because of the new federal income tax on world war ii they are going to have to cut back on money that they have to spend because the tax is going to take 50% of the income and he suggests that well they should cut back on the food. they should have won a get breakfast and no second helpings and send the help home to get their dinner and feed them and seems to be totally unaware of the fact that his wife was
making a lot of money on her own but wasn't spending any of this in their household. she made a thousand dollars a speech when she was the first lady. she gave over 700 speeches, so she made $700 which she kept for herself. apparently franklin wasn't in on this part of her life. just as she was not in on the part he had with lucey mercer so maybe there was the trade-off. but it is interesting. you wonder sometimes how in this relationship to what they actually did, and i think that
love and sex cannot quite strongly the those are the main two things, the passionate subject gets lost in the middle. >> even though you are a presidential scholar did you find any surprises about how more intelligent or less intelligent some of these people were in the public perceptions? >> i think in general i was surprised at how forceful and articulate the spouses were in writing to their husbands coming and i think that that is true for martha washington and on. i was also surprised at how articulate for example