Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mary Todd - Traveling Doll

My husband and I have been involved in living history for over a decade now; historic preservation is very important to us. We were pleased to help in a very special fundraising project:

The Kentucky Soldiers Aide Society in support of Camp Nelson Heritage Park, Nicholasville, KY is raffling off an 1855 Jenny Lind Style reproduction China doll. Named Mary Todd Lincoln in honor of the Lincoln Bicentennial, the doll has traveled all over the United States, gathering souvenirs and accessories to her wardrobe as she travels. She has visited The Lincoln Home in Springfield Il. and was the guest of the sites park rangers. She was allowed to be photographed in Mary Lincoln's bedroom!. She has been to the Lincoln birthplace in Hodegenville KY, the Mary Todd House in Lexington, KY along with Whitehall the home of Casious Clay and Ashland, home of Henry Clay. She was a special guest of KY state representative Charles Miller at the state capital in Frankfort. States she has visited have included, Wisconsin, Massachusetts,New York, Texas, Connecticut,Florida and Michigan.

Included with the doll will be her extensive wardrobe, scrapbook of her travels complete with photos, her travel journal including brochures, tickets and other souvenirs of her many visits to historic sites, and all other trinkets and treasures that she has been given as gifts by her hosts along her travels. Join us helping to preserve Camp Nelson, an important supply depot and largest training center of USCT during the Civil War.

If you would like to purchase raffle tickets, please contact Kay Dodge at, please put Mary Todd in the subject box. Tickets are 5 for $6.00 or $1.50 each. The drawing will be held in mid-April at Camp Nelson.

Mary Todd came to visit us on Mackinac Island this past October. I hope you enjoy the following recounting of her stay.

October 6

I have arrived today at Mackinac Island along with my travel companions, Mr. and Mrs. Dorman via steamer from Detroit. It is more usual to visit this locale during the summer months, but as Mr. Dorman has business to conduct (the fishing industry has great need of coopered items), we visit in the autumn. We are staying at Island House, which has a lovely view of the harbor, but it is a bit noisy being so close to all the comings and goings. I have been promised a dinner featuring the local delicacy, whitefish.
October 7

Mrs. Dorman and myself spent a delightful afternoon visiting the officer’s ladies at Fort Mackinac. The ladies are at great pains to keep current, they take Godey’s, but in the winter it arrives via dogsled! After tea, we were escorted about the fort; the view is breathtaking. We also visited the Post Cemetery; the graves are well tended, including those of a number of unknown soldiers, most heartbreaking.

October 10

Today Mr. Dorman escorted us about the town, I was able to purchase some lovely lace items at one shop and an intoxicating smelling balsam pillow offered by a native woman. I also had my image taken; the backdrop is one of the local natural curiosities which I hope to see in person soon.
October 11

Today we toured the woodland and Mrs. Dorman introduced me to a most delightful pastime – botany. We collected many fine specimens as we viewed the interesting rock formations, such as “Sugar Loaf” and “Arch Rock”, which abound on this island. I have the beginnings of my own herbarium - and the memories of a beautiful day.
October 14

Our final day, as tomorrow we must depart. We hired a buggy and driver and drove to the far side of the Island to British Landing, a place of note during the War of 1812. Even in the summer very few are willing to brave the cold and currents to bathe in the waters here, however we did a bit of exploring at Brown’s Brook with its softly murmuring waters as company. It will be difficult to depart this beautiful “fairy isle”, but further travels and adventures await.

Mary Todd received a lace capelet and lace headpiece ornamented with a tiny beaded dragonfly during her stay on Mackinac and her herbarium is in progress.

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