I found Mr. Lincoln living in a handsome, but not pretentious, double-two story house…neatly but not ostentatiously furnished…
- New York Evening Post, May 23, 1860
Raised in a wealthy family, Mary Lincoln’s tastes were expensive and often influenced by French fashions. Mr. Lincoln’s tastes reflect his frontier upbringing: He spent his early years in one or two-room cabins, never had much money and was unconcerned with fashion or formal etiquette.
Lincoln Home Chronology
Photographs of Lincoln Home Through the Years
Teaching with Historic Places Lesson Plans Lincoln Home National Historic Site: A Place of Growth and Memory
The Lincolns’ house, the only home they owned, reflects a combination of the two. They had four sons but one died at three. The furnishings were chosen for sturdiness rather than style and reflected the tastes of a prosperous mid-19th century American family. They used the parlors for entertaining and for Mr. Lincoln to meet with clients. Books were important to both Abraham and Mary, and a large bookcase dominated the back parlor. Shells, flowers, and prints and busts of famous people reflected their broad interests. The sitting room was the boys’ play area. The family had a dog and cats. They had friends over for berry and cream parties, and went to the nearby church to see the tree on Christmas Day.
Upstairs, a guest bedroom provided space for overnight guests and, across the hall, Mr. Lincoln could meet with visitors in his room if Mrs. Lincoln was entertaining downstairs. Mrs. Lincoln’s room was the literal and figurative center of the home. Across from her room was, oldest son Robert’s room, later taken over by his younger brothers. The hired girl occupied a small, plain room at the end of the hall.