On May 19, 1875, Mary Todd Lincoln was arrested and tried for lunacy before a jury of twelve men in the Cook County Court in Chicago. The charge had been filed by her son, Robert Todd Lincoln, and the state of Illinois required a civil trial to rule on the issue. Robert's "Application to Try the Question of Insanity" requested that "Mary Lincoln be declared an insane person after due hearing and proof, and that a Conservator be appointed to manage and control her estate."
On May 20, Mary was confined to Bellevue Place, a private sanitarium in Batavia, Illinois, where she would remain until she successfully engineered her release on September 10.
On Sunday, March 26, at 2 p.m., Sara Gabbard will present "The Insanity Files: The Ordeal of Mary Todd Lincoln" exploring the events and personalities surrounding Mrs. Lincoln's trial and commitment. The program will be held in Meeting Room A of the Allen County Public Library's Main Library at 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne. Letters and documents from the Insanity File Collection will be on display.
The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Allen County Public Library and is free and open to the public.