Program descriptions

A Visit with Mrs. Lincoln

Mary Lincoln comes to life as presented by Valerie Gugala.  She sets the historical record straight as she takes listeners through her life as a young woman born into a wealthy Lexington, KY family, and the transformation she made from that life to become the wife of a young man whose background was just the opposite. Mrs. Lincoln takes the audience through the Lincoln family’s life in Springfield, Abraham’s political career and election to the presidency, and their life in the White House during the Civil War. Time for questions from the audience for Mrs. Lincoln is included in this 1 ½ hour program.

For Younger audiences (K-4)

Mrs. Lincoln talks about Mr. Lincoln’s education & love of reading, her own education, and what life was like for her children in the mid 1800s. She shares some toys that the children played with and tells stories of their time in Springfield and in the White House. 30 minutes in length.

  Divided: Mary Lincoln & Emilie Todd Helm

It is December 1863. The Civil War rages on without an end in sight. At the White House. Mrs. Lincoln’s younger half sister Emilie is visiting. Emilie and Mary discuss their lives leading up to the war, and reminisce about happier times in Lexington, KY and Springfield, IL. They discuss the war years and the tradegies that have befallen their family. The war has torn their family apart, will it tear the sister apart as well? This 1 hour program can include a question and answer session with Mrs Lincoln & Mrs. Helm.



Out of Character Lectures

“Was Mary Lincoln Insane?”

This is the question that audiences ask any time Valerie performs or speaks about Mrs. Lincoln. In this lecture, Valerie explains what has become known as the “insanity episode”. Who decided that Mary should be declared insane? What did her family think? Was she actually insane, or was she a misdiagnosed and over medicated victim? Hear the facts of the case and make your own decisions about this much maligned first lady. 1 hour in length, plus a Q and A session.

“Mary Lincoln as a Mother”

Mary Lincoln’s relationship with her children is explored in this program. Springfield neighbor’s recollections and Mary’s own words are used to show how she viewed marriage and motherhood, and how she dealt with her grief at the death of her sons. 45 mins, plus a Q & A session.

“Mary Lincoln and the Spiritualists”

After the death of her son Willie, Mary Lincoln held seances in the White House to try and contact him and other deceased relatives. Why did Mary (and many other bereaved families) believe in the spiritualist movement? What happened at these Seances? Did Abraham Lincoln ever attend one? This lecture will answer these questions and more. 45 mins plus a Q & A session.

Custom lectures

Is there a topic about the Lincoln family that you and your group are particularly interested in? With at least 2 months advance notice, Valerie can create a lecture customized for you. Call or email for more information. Fee will vary with lecture length requested.

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