Springfield, July 16, 2011

  My very dear Barry Bauman:  
  What is to be is to be and nothing we can say, or do, or be can divert an inexorable fate, but in spite of knowing this, one feels better if one has had a brave, whole-hearted fight to get the better of destiny--and we did. Justice is now rendered to the conspirators for their evil deeds. (63)  

Lew Bloom

Principal Conspirator



The most villanous plot has come to a close. Prayers will scarcely avail in Bloom's case I think. My heart fails me, when I think of the contrast between himself and my noble glorious husband who freed the slaves. The only trouble about me, in all my sorrows and bereavements has been, that my mind has always been too clear and remembrances have always been too keen, in the midst of my griefs. (64)

Bloom needed the Milch Galleries, the treacherous plot was his. He did it all: he repainted the portrait; he painted out the betraying cross for I'm not Catholic; he added a Carpenter signature and date; and he even went so far as to include a brooch of my beloved Husband so no one would question the painting's "authenticity." (65)

He, is a smooth faced, avaricious villain and he got up his story for his own peculiar benefit. Again, the love of money is the root of all evil. What is so disturbing is his shameful use of Susan's good name in his villanous scheme. (66)


Edward Milch



  Milch was suspicious of Bloom's story but still was all too willing to participate. It was he who requested the notarized statement as exculpatory evidence to protect his "good name."...It was he who inveigled the New York Times in order to gain a profit...it was he who extended the fraud and widened the conspiracy. I believe in my heart I was used as a tool. Alas, revenge is sweet, especially to womankind...Milch was a dirty dog. (67)  

The New York Times. The Chicago Tribune. National Geographic.
Carl Sandburg. Hildene.

Unknowing Participants


  So many falsehoods were told in these papers. What a world of anguish this was for me and how I have been made to suffer. None of these "publications" checked their facts--they advanced the most evil lies and treachery. They were all too easily seduced. (68)  

Previous Restorers

Accessories A and B



The previous restorers acted as if everything was "coming along nicely." They never mentioned the fact that the false signature and the brooch were lying on top of the varnish. They removed Bloom's overpaint, in other areas, but left the spurious signature and brooch in place.

They stated, "We found that the Chicago Historical Society had the fan that Mary Todd Lincoln is holding." Was there ever such a perfidious lie? Just look at the two. The one in the painting is thin, decorated with reds and bright ochres, and metal edged. I am brought to tears as I enclose a photograph of my mourning fan with scalloped edges. These individuals are scandalously guilty of framing and promoting an insidious deception.



Mary Lincoln Mourning Fan
Chicago History Museum

William Alderfer/James Hickey

Accessories C and D



Alderfer and Hickey, never mentioned a thing when the painting was returned. In fact Alderfer wrote the restorer that he "applauded her efforts." Didn't they even look at the painting? Couldn't they see it wasn't me? I wouldn't be caught dead wearing such jewelry. They know nothing about me. They had their opportunity, and what did they do? They continued brewing a cauldron of lies exhibiting the painting at the Governor's Mansion. (69)

Concerning the brooch, Alderfer said, "We feel this is the John Henry Brown miniature, painted on ivory, which is now in the National Portrait Gallery." By likening the brooch to something that I owned, they created an atmosphere of "credibility," similar to the previous restorers and the fan. The brooch is not Brown's miniature; it's actually based on the enclosed Alexander Hesler photograph from 1857. They should have known there are no photos or paintings of me wearing an image of my noble Husband. (70)



Alexander Hesler "Abraham Lincoln" 1857
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C.

Jessie Harlan Lincoln--Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith

Presidential Pardons

  Even my own granddaughter and great-grandson were taken in by these swindlers. The case, with all its details, are now quite familiar to you. Robert acquired the portrait after sweet Jessie bought the painting in the 1930s--and it was Robert who gifted the painting to the Illinois State Historical Library. I have signed a petition for mercy and understanding to my noble Husband and he, as was often the case during the War, has seen to remit all sentences against their fine names. (71)  

All of the above conspirators, unknowing participants, and accessories are now held accountable for their villany, for God does not allow sin to go unpunished. Only the impression, that you were absent from River Forest has occasioned my silence in the expressions of my feelings of deep heartfelt gratitude in return for your unparalleled efforts in my behalf. Words are inadequate to express my thanks, for all your goodness to me. With many apologies for this hastily written scrawl, and with assurances that your untiring devotion to the cause will always be prayfully remembered by me. I look forward to communicating more directly with you in the near future. (72)

I remain always
Most truly, your friend


Editors' Note:

We asked our father, "who then was the sitter for the painting?" He replied, "In this case, it doesn't matter who she is, it only matters who she isn't." Our father, Barry Bauman, passed away on July 16, 2011, on the anniversary of Mrs. Lincoln's death and did not have an opportunity to reply to her last letter.

We wish to thank all readers for their time and interest in reviewing these discovered letters. We trust they offer an unusual insight into the overlapping lives of Mary Lincoln and Barry Bauman. There was one extra photograph, inscribed, "Mumler. 1872," that was found with the letters. We are unfamiliar with the image reproduced below. (73)

William Bauman
Edward Bauman

February 2012


Mumler. 1872
Unknown Photograph

                      Page 14   


Page 1--Editors Introduction

Page 2--You Must Not Fail Me

Page 3--An Artistic Conspiracy

Page 4--Principal Conspirator

Page 5--Co-Conspirator

Page 6--The Affidavit

Page 7--Unknowing Participants

Page 8--Accessories A, B, C, D

Page 9--Springfield

Page 10--Cleaning

Page 11--All That is Excellent

Page 12--Smoking Gun

Page 13--Judgment

Page 14--App./Acknowledgments



63. What is to be...of destiny. Recorded by Helm. p. 111. Undated.

64. The most villainous plot...my griefs. Pritchard. p. 118. Letter to Myra Bradwell. 6/18/1876.

65. Bloom's obituary includes the following, "Mr. Bloom was an art expert and dabbled in oil paintings." Helm, pp. 116-117, records "Mary Lincoln was a 'dyed-in-the-wool Presbyterian.'"In Washington they joined the N.Y. Avenue Presbyterian Church.

66. He, is a smooth faced...peculiar benefit. Turner. p. 336. Letter to Alexander Williamson. 2/17/1866. The love of money is the root of all evil. Baker. p. 304.

67. I believe...a tool. Turner. p. 448. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 11/2/1867. "Revenge is sweet" especially to womankind...[Milch] was a dirty dog. Turner. p. 415. Letter to David Davis. 3/6/1867.

68. So many falsehoods were told in these papers. Turner. p. 450. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 11/9/1867. What a world...to suffer. Turner. p. 450. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 10/8/1867.

69. They know nothing about me. Baker. p. 318. In a May 15, 2011 email, jewelry experts Elyse Karlin and Yvonne Markowitz stated, "I wanted to get back to you after I spoke to Yvonne who is in agreement with me. None of these pieces look like specific pieces MTL owned that we are aware of."

70. Dr. James Cornelius offered the brooch's proper provenancial reference.

71. The case, with all its details, are now quite familiar to you. Turner. p. 142. Letter to Edwin D. Morgan. 11/13/1862.

There is a handwritten James Hickey note in the painting's file stating, "This is a painting of Mary Lincoln owned by R. T. L. Beckwith [1904-1985] in 1970. Beckwith is the great grandson of Mary Lincoln and said his mother [Jessie Harlan Lincoln, 1875-1948] purchased painting back." Robert Beckwith was the last living descendant of Abraham Lincoln. It is possible Beckwith's mother purchased the painting from the Milch Galleries in 1929, and from her it went to Beckwith, and then finally to the Library. The 1929 accounts of the Milch Galleries were reviewed and there was no record of a Carpenter sale, a sale of an image of Mary Lincoln, or a payment to Bloom. The records were obtained from the Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C.

The cited 1965 Chicago Tribune article states, "At Neafie's death in 1884, the portrait passed to his nurse, Susan Deborah Bloom, and finally, about 1930, to Mrs. Lincoln's great-grandson, Robert Lincoln Beckwith. Lincoln authority Ralph Newman of Chicago discovered the portrait in the Beckwith home several months ago and persuaded Beckwith to loan it for display in the Illinois State Historical Library during the recent 8th national assembly of the United States Civil War commission." The incorrect Neafie reference would have come from the affidavit, but one must infer that the writer spoke to Newman, who lived in Chicago, and it was Newman who recounted what Beckwith told him concerning ownership "about 1930." In an email dated 7/20/11, Dr. James Cornelius stated the painting was formally deeded to the Illinois State Historical Library on September, 15, 1976 and it arrived from Hildene two weeks later on October 1, 1976. The painting was then placed on long-term loan to the Governor's Mansion.

72. God does not allow sin to go unpunished. Turner. p. 634. Letter to Edward Lewis Baker. 4/11/1877. Only the impression...Mary Lincoln. Turner. p. 576-577. Letter to Charles Sumner. 9/7/1870. Signature from original Mary Lincoln letter courtesy of Dr. James Cornelius and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.

73. Image based on the below last known photograph of Mary Lincoln from 1872 by William H. Memler.


William. H. Mumler "Mary Lincoln" 1872
Library of Congress
Washinton, D.C.



Barry Bauman Conservation
Contact: Mr. Barry Bauman
1122 N. Jackson Ave., River Forest, IL. 60305
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