Editors' Note:


The next four letters and images were clipped together. For continuity purposes, we have elected to present this material on one page. The images have been positioned according to the relevant text.

 
                               
                               

Accessories A and B
                               
                             
 

 
                               
 

  Springfield, Feb. 5, 1978

 
                               
  My dear Mr. Bauman:  
                               
 

I am not at liberty to divulge certain aspects of the conspiracy at this time, but I will relate to you that the painting in your lab was offered to a local restorer for treatment. While it would not be genteel for me to reveal or discuss her "abilities," I will divulge the reason the painting found its way to her studio. She happens to be the daughter of your boss. These individuals are Accessories, A and B, in this perfidious crime.

I have obtained her treatment letters from November 9, 1977 and January 12, 1978. These were written to William Alderfer, State Historian, for the Illinois State Historical Library and I submit the following specious excerpts from the 1978 letter.

 
                               
                               
   

The painting of Mary Todd Lincoln is nearing completion. It is looking quite nice, the cleavage having flattened out nicely. In this procedure of unveiling the original artist's intent, there have been a few changes in the sitter's accessories and appearance.

The two bracelets on each hand were altered in design.

There is a cross around the neck of the sitter that was painted out.

The last restorer added a bow which was not part of Carpenter's design.

There were other slight alterations in the body and face of Mary Todd Lincoln which added years and poundage to her presence. Now after these have been removed, her portrait has more character and is a clearer version of the original artist's vision of the subject.

As our policy, we believe that the original intent of the artist is what the painting should be brought back to. The only addition we plan on leaving is the pin of Abraham Lincoln on Mary's dress. We believe this to be a later addition, or if it was original it was completely destroyed in the past history of the painting.

   
                               
                               
 

Don't you see the nervousness here? The word "original," cited four times above, was used seven times in the letter. If the pin was non-original shouldn't it have been removed?--how can you infer that it was there "originally" and then "completely destroyed?"

As with the southern rebels, these two were confederates in the crime. They injure themselves far more than they could do me, by their lies and villany. God does not allow sin to go unpunished, they have a fearful account yet to render to their Maker.

I fear I am in villanous hands. (29)

 
                               
 

I remain very truly

M.L.

 
                               
                               
 

Editors' Note:


We found the use of the term, "the sitter's accessories," to be an ominous self-incriminating reference. The restorer's letters and treatment photos are linked at the end of this journal in Appendix B.

 
                               
                               
                               
 

 
                               
  Springfield, February 5, 1978  
                               
  My dear Mr. Bauman:  
                               
  I closed and sent off my letter before I had finished all I had to say. You are still a young conservator and there is much for you to learn. It will be many years before this will all come full circle, but I can not keep it from you any longer--the two paintings are one and the same. What enemies we do have to contend with. (30)  
                               
 

Milch Galleries 1929 Appearance

 

After Treatment 1978 Appearance

 
                               
 

God what a change! Did ever a woman have to suffer so much and experience so great a change? You would not recognize me now. (31)

When these individuals completed their work, they knew there was a problem, but decided, instead, to write a three-page letter to Alderfer justifying the painting's after-treatment appearance. This odious letter is dated January 12, 1978, and I offer the following villanous excerpts.

 
                               
                               
   

The work on the Mary Todd Lincoln portrait is progressing nicely.

Conservators now limit their inpainting to lost areas alone, and do not paint over the original paint.

In order to get back to what was left of the original artistic intent, we decided with your approval to go back to what was left of the original. The treatment removed the heavy handed restoration that was used on the face and arms and hair.

We found that the Chicago Historical Society had the fan that Mary Todd Lincoln is holding.

She never wore bracelets of the kind that were pictured. She wore heavily jeweled, ornate jewelry ensembles quite like the bracelets and earings that had been overpainted.

And although many an artist idealizes their sitter, and this is true even of what we have found under the overpaint on the face, there is more character in these original paint layers.

You mentioned that the brooch in this painting is known to have been worn by Mary Todd Lincoln. We have left it for it is an important part of the painting.

We feel with the removal of the previous restoration the painting is closer to the original intent of the artist based not only on our knowledge of paint films and former restoration work, but also due to our research on Mary Todd Lincoln and her tastes in fashion.

   
                               
                               
 

They want us to pass their imperfections lightly by, and excuse so miserable of a production. Severe retribution will yet visit these wretches. What a vile, vile set they are. If their day of reckoning does not come in this world it will surely in the next for their falsehoods. (32)

Please modify & improve many of my expressions--which I used concerning these villains--for instance when I referred to their falsehoods--you can express it--in a gentle yet sarcastic manner--also clothe the language more elegantly, only conveying the same strong meaning always...quote my letter as a very private one, written entirely for your own perusal, entre nous.

I fear you will not be able to decipher this scrawl, it is most hastily written, for I am quite an invalid person. (33)

 
                               
  Mrs. A. Lincoln  
                               
  "P.S."
I have sent you two photographs of myself. If you could favor me with one of yourself it would bring a particular pleasure for me. Trusting you will pardon the liberty I have taken, I remain very respectfully, Mrs. A. Lincoln. (34)
 
                               
                               
 

Editors' Note:


Two days later, and before our father had a chance to reply to the above, Mrs. Lincoln wrote the following letter.

 
                               
                               
 

Accessories C and D
 
                               
                               
 

 
                               
 

Springfield, February 7, 1978 

 
                               
  My dear Mr. Bauman:  
                               
 

You know how innocent I have been of the intention of doing wrong. I am very miserable and broken hearted over all of this. My Gethsemane is ever with me. (35)

I write again for I failed to disclose the third and fourth accessories to this heinous crime. When the restorer wrote Alderfer about the Lincoln pin, he asked James Hickey, Curator at the Illinois State Historical Library, what should be done. Alderfer was told to leave the brooch, for it was a representation of my ivory miniature by John Henry Brown. (36) Below is Alderfer's hand-written question, and the answer.

 
                               
 

They want a decision from me. What should I tell them (or do you want to talk with them now.
I'd appreciate that.
)

Leave the brooch. [illegible] John Henry Brown miniature painted on ivory which is now in the
National Portrait Gallery.
 
                               
  Alderfer replied to the restorer's second letter on February 3, 1978. I enclose a copy of this letter.  
                               
 

William Alderfer Letter
February 3, 1978
 
                               
 

I will not discuss this now. You will understand, in time, how William Alderfer and James Hickey perpetuated the conspiracy, and became Accessories C and D to this tearful situation. I know you don't understand what this has to do with you, but you will, in due course.

It will be many years hence before I correspond again. Please favor an understanding that time makes all things right. Affectionately. (37)

 
                               
  Mary Lincoln  
                               
                               
                               
                               
 







2/10/78

River Forest, Illinois


Dear Mary Lincoln,

 
                               
 

I can't believe these images are the same painting. The facial features are so different. The after-treatment appearance looks like a piece of hardened granite, a formula face with far less character, not more, than the before image. There is more to this story than I first imagined.

Per your request, I enclose a picture of myself with a 1614 painting I'm working on by Frans Snyders. (38)

Sincerely,

Barry

 
                               
 

 
                               
                               
                               
  Editors' Note:

Attached to this letter were the 1929 and the 1978 images of the painting, shown below. They are both from the 1995 reprint of Carl Sandburg's 1932, Mary Lincoln Wife and Widow. The publisher, Applewood Books, Massachusetts, didn't realize it was the same painting. Note the dates and owners. The actual painting is signed and dated 1864. The inscription "Applewood Books--Unknowing Participant--not once, but twice" was written on the verso of each image. The 1978 image was also reproduced in Dan Santow's Mary Todd Lincoln, Children's Press, Canada/U.S., 1999, p. 54.
 
                               
 

Mary Lincoln

From a painting by Frank B. Carpenter, White House resident in 1864 and author of "Six Months in the White House." An idealized portrait executed some time after the war. (Courtesy of the Milch Galleries, New York)

Cover


Francis Bicknell Carpenter portrait of Mary Lincoln. Circa 1865. Courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Library.

 
                               
                               

 Page 9

 
                               
                               
                               
 

Notes

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

 
   
                               
                               
 

Notes:

29. They injure...lies and villany. Turner. p. 443. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 10/13/1867. God does not allow...Maker. Turner. p. 634. Letter to Edward Lewis Baker, Jr. 4/11/1877. I fear I am in villanous hands. Turner. p. 461. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 11/23/1867.

30. I closed...to say. Turner. p. 450. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 11/9/1867. What enemies we do have to contend with. Turner. p. 261. Letter to Anson Henry. 7/17/1865.

31. God...great a change? Keckley. Kindle Loc. 1412. You would not recognize me now. Turner. p. 441. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 10/8/1867.

32. Pass my imperfections...a production. Turner. p. 19. Letter to Mercy Ann Levering. 7/23/1840. Severe retribution...these wretches. Turner. p. 599. Letter to James Knowlton. 8/3/1872. What a vile...they are. Turner. p. 440. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 10/8/1867. If their day...in the next. Turner. p. 443. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 10/13/1867.

33. Please modify...own perusal. Turner. p. 569. Letter to James Smith. 6/22/1870. entre nous. Mary Lincoln uses this expression in numerous letters. I fear...an invalid person. Turner. p. 599. Letter to James Knowlton. 8/3/1872.

34. It...me. Turner. p. 108. Letter to Montgomery Meigs. 10/4/1861. Trusting...respectfully, Turner. p. 81. Letter to William H. Seward. 3/22/1861.

35. You know...all of this. Turner. pp. 441-442. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 10/9/1867. My Gethsemane is ever with me. Turner. p. 627. Letter to Elizabeth Todd Edwards. 3/19/1877.

36. In an email dated 4/21/11, Ms. Cindy Molnar, Head of Conservation, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., stated: "The John Henry Brown miniature of Abraham Lincoln was commissioned by Judge John M. Read. Judge Read gave the miniature to Mary Todd Lincoln when she asked for it. The piece then passed to Robert Todd Lincoln, his daughter Mary Lincoln Isham, and then to her son Lincoln Isham. The NPG acquired it from his estate through a dealer in 1975."

37. Time makes all things right. Turner. p. 466. Letter to Elizabeth Keckley. 12/27/1867.

38. This 1982 image by John Mahtesian was taken when our father was thirty-four years old. Mahtesian has several photographs in the Art Institute's collection. The imaged painting is by Frans Snyders, 1614.

 
                               
                               

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Barry Bauman Conservation
Contact: Mr. Barry Bauman
1122 N. Jackson Ave., River Forest, IL. 60305
Ph.(708)771-0382  Fax.(708)771-1532
e-mail:barrybbc7@yahoo.com