Mary Todd Lincoln funeral ledger found in Springfield
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An itemized list believed to be from former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln’s funeral has resurfaced after two of the oldest funeral homes in Springfield, Illinois, merged.
The list shows her 1882 funeral cost almost $280, with expenses ranging from $225 for a casket to $1.50 for crepe and ribbon, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported.
The list was included in stacks of fragile ledgers acquired by Butler Funeral Homes of Springfield after last year’s buyout of Boardman-Smith Funeral Home.
Butler Funeral Homes is creating a “Lincoln Room” where the Mary Lincoln Todd ledger entry will be displayed with other documents tied to Springfield’s funeral history. Among the other items are a pair of funeral biers thought to have ties to the Lincoln family, but they haven’t been verified.
Butler Funeral Homes president Chris Butler said employees of Boardman-Smith, which was founded in 1848, had taken care to store and label dozens of expense ledgers dating to the mid-1800s.
Butler said Boardman-Smith’s connection to the Lincoln family is one of the attractions that prompted his company to go through with the merger.
At one time, Boardman-Smith was marketed as “The Lincoln Funeral Home” and was called upon to assist with the transfer and preparation of President Abraham Lincoln’s body after his assassination in April 1865, according to company history.
Historians say Mary Todd Lincoln welcomed her own death in many ways after the death of her three sons and her husband. She outlined specific instructions for a funeral that was still eight years away in a letter to her son, Robert, which is among the collections at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.
She died in July 1882 at age 63 at her sister’s home in Springfield.