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March 8, 2012

Mary Lincoln’s ring on display in museum

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Mary Lincoln always tried to dress and look well, never more so than in her White House years. Abraham Lincoln is known to have given her gifts, and it is known that she purchased jewelry on her own, too. Mary Lincoln’s jewelry will be on display this summer in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

After Abraham’s death, she continued to buy jewelry, though it is not know which if any pieces she wore to accompany her mourning dresses. During the year when she was judged mentally unbalanced by doctors and a jury, she requested that a box of her jewelry be taken out of storage and sent to her. So it was.

Among the pieces now in the Presidential Library and Museum’s collection are a ring of five diamonds; a simple red coral necklace and matched earrings; a much more fanciful red coral necklace, emblazoned with three carved cherubs; a pair of black onyx teardrop earrings and matching brooch with gold borders; and the pièce de résistance, a diamond necklace in the shape of a heart. Family lore tells that Lincoln presented it to her and said, “I give you my heart.”

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield houses more than 52,000 Abraham Lincoln artifacts.

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    March 12, 2010

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