Susan

The Sister Who Dated Lincoln First: Frances Todd Wallace

In the 1830s, Miss Frances Todd, living with her married sister Elizabeth Edwards in Springfield, Illinois, went out once or twice with one of the town’s up-and-coming lawyers, but found him to be insufficiently social, so the relationship, if it ever amounted to that, fizzled out. Fortunately, Frances’s younger sister, Mary, was more impressed with …

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The Other Henry and Clara

(Originally published in The Surratt Courier, a publication of the Surratt Society) Among its other consequences, Abraham Lincoln’s assassination would upend the lives of not one, but two young couples named Henry and Clara. The first—Henry Rathbone and his stepsister/fiancée, Clara Harris—are well known; the second, Henry Ritter and his new bride, Clara Pix, are …

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The First Lady and the Rebel: An Outtake

Like most novels, The First Lady and the Rebel underwent revisions on its path to publication (look for it on October 1!). This is the epilogue in the first draft. It was replaced by one that I felt was more in keeping with the focus of the novel: the relationship between the two Todd sisters …

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Life Goes On

I bought this 1862 letter mainly because of the patriotic letterhead, which depicts Elmer E. Ellsworth, an early casualty of the Civil War, shot while he was exiting the Marshall House hotel in Alexandria after removing a Confederate flag from its roof. As the transcript shows, however, it’s a nice reminder of how ordinary life …

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Benjamin Hardin Helm’s Last Will and Testament

As long-term readers of this blog will know, I’m fond of wills, and I was pleased to find that one major character in The First Lady and the Rebel, Emily Todd Helm’s husband Benjamin Hardin Helm, left one behind. (Abraham Lincoln, married to Emily’s sister Mary, died intestate.) A graduate of West Point, Hardin, as …

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A Memorial Day Tribute to Charles P. Tidd and Carrie Cutter

This Memorial Day, I’m remembering, Sgt. Charles P. Tidd, and his friend and nurse, Carrie Cutter, both of whom died in service to their country. Tidd, one of John Brown’s raiders, evaded capture after the raid. After the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the 21st Massachusetts Infantry under the assumed name of Charles …

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What’s New?

Recently, I added this nifty carte-de-visite to my modest collection of Lincoln memorabilia–a memorial photograph that’s a composite of photos taken during his presidency. Aside from what’s new in my collection, what’s new in my writing? While awaiting publication of The First Lady and the Rebel (coming in October!) I’ve been busy working on another …

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Guest Post by Heather R. Darsie: When Anne Met Henry

I’m delighted to be one of the stops on Heather R. Darsie’s blog tour for her new biography of Anne of Cleves, one of the least-studied of Henry VIII’s six wives. Over to Heather: Anna of Cleves Meets Henry VIII: An Excerpt By Heather R. Darsie I have always been intrigued by the claims that …

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