Lincoln's Ladies: The Women in the Life of the Sixteenth President
First published in hardcover asThe Women in Lincoln's Life,this paperback is a revised and expanded version with a foreword by Frank Williams, chairman of the prestigious Lincoln Forum, sidebars, and an appendix on the Lincoln-Rutledge romance and engagement.
Abraham Lincoln was no ladies' man. Part of his awkwardness with women was due to his lanky, rough appearance, but he also floundered in no small part due to the emotional burdens he bore after the death of his mother when he was only nine years old, the death of his sister when he was eighteen, and the death of his first love, Ann Rutledge, shortly after they had become engaged (a point that author H. Donald Winkler explores and asserts).
As a result, Lincoln cultivated an emotional barrier that antagonized some women who tried to be close to him. He may even have been incapable of loving anyone as he did Ann Rutledge, and so he fumbled his way through other courtships and two rejected proposals of marriage. Then he stumbled into an unlikely relationship with aristocratic Mary Todd. Their tumultuous twenty-three years together were the scuttlebutt of Springfield and the gossip of Washington.
Yet there were other women in Lincoln's life, and Winkler cites thirty of them in this book. Though they were not always romantic relationships, they affected his personally and professionally. And despite his awkwardness, these relationships were as positive for the women as they were for Lincoln himself.