When Mary Lincoln and her 17-year-old son Tad returned to American after nearly three years in Europe, they traveled from Liverpool, England to New York City on the steamship “Russia.” They were noticed immediately by the press when the ship docked, and shortly after they checked into their hotel, a female reporter from the NY World called on them for an interview. Not many people know the full interview in Q&A format was printed in the World on May 13, 1871. I have attached pdf scans of the interview. Enjoy!
Lincoln Lore magazine published an interview with Jason regarding Mary Lincoln for the Ages, in its Fall 2019 issue.
Sara Gabbard: Your book is defined as “an analytical bibliography.” Please explain how you chose this particular approach.
Jason Emerson: This approach — this entire book, in fact — really just came about organically. While I was preparing for publication an edition of a previously unpublished manuscript about Mary written in 1927 (Myra Helmer Pritchard, The Dark Days of Abraham Lincoln’s Widow as Revealed by Her Own Letters, published by Southern Illinois University Press in 2011), I wondered where that book, if it had been published at the time, would have fallen in the timeline of works about Mary Lincoln. I started to create a simple bibliography, and the more I dug for resources the more I realized that no extensive bibliography of Mary Lincoln had ever been done. So I decided to do one myself because I thought it would be fun and I thought it would be a great addition to Mary Lincoln scholarship. I decided to make it analytical (originally I called it “annotated” but my editor at SIU Press, Sylvia Frank Rodrigue, suggested that “analytical” was a more accurate description) because, in my experience, people refer to books and articles about Mary all the time without understanding the true value or accuracy of the references. I wanted to offer up descriptions and analyses of the works to help people know what the references truly say and what I, as a Lincoln scholar with more than 20 years of research and experience under my belt and the person who has researched and published more about Mary Lincoln than any other scholar ever, think about them.
Mary Lincoln for the Ages is part narrative historical inquiry and part analytical bibliography. It contextualizes Mary Lincoln’s life and thoroughly reexamines nearly every word ever written about her. In doing so, this book becomes the prime authority on Mary Lincoln, points researchers to key underused sources, reveals how views about her have evolved over the years, and sets the stage for new questions and debates about the themes and controversies that have defined her legacy.