In The News

Lecture examines 19th-century courtship

This story originally appeared in The Midweek

SYCAMORE – “Love’s Young Dream: Courtship and Weddings in the Lincoln Era” will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 14, at the Sycamore History Museum, 1730 N. Main St., Sycamore.

For three years after moving to Springfield, Mary Todd’s suitors came courting at her sister’s home and squired her to parties, weddings, railroad excursions, and informal gatherings. The culmination of these courtship activities came on Nov. 4, 1842, when 23-year-old Mary stood in a borrowed dress in her sister’s parlor and became the bride of 33-year-old Abraham Lincoln. Drawing on period letters, diaries, etiquette manuals, and reminiscences, this illustrated talk will examine the nature of courtship and weddings in Lincoln-era Springfield to establish a social and cultural context for the Lincolns’ experience.

The event is being produced in part by the Illinois Humanities Council’s Road Scholars Speakers Bureau. Erika Holst, curator of collections at the Springfield Art Association, will present the program.

“Her talk will be a perfect complement to our exhibit, ‘General Dutton’s America,’” Michelle Donahoe, executive director of the history museum, said. “Dutton and his wife, Rosina, were married in 1863. This presentation will help us gain a better understanding their courtship and wedding.”

The event is free and open to all audiences. For more information, visit or call 815-895-5762.