This collection documents the publication of Carl Sandburg and Paul M. Angle's Mary Lincoln, Wife and Widow (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1932). In particular, it documents the role of Oliver R. Barrett in the publication of the book.
In 1930, Logan Hay, a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, and president of the Abraham Lincoln Association, alerted Paul M. Angle, secretary of the Association, to Mary Lincoln's earliest known letters, written in 1840 and 1841, before her marriage to Abraham Lincoln. At Hay's suggestion, Angle brought the letters to the attention of Oliver R. Barrett, a Lincoln collector, and Carl Sandburg, Lincoln biographer and poet. Out of their meeting came plans for the preparation of Mary Lincoln, Wife and Widow, a major contribution to Lincoln studies.
The collection primarily consists of correspondence between Oliver Barrett, Paul Angle, Carl Sandburg, and others, regarding research about Mary Todd Lincoln and the publication of Mary Lincoln, Wife and Widow. It also includes drafts and typescripts of sections of the book, copy for the printer, proofs, and illustrations.
Clarendon Van Norman, Jr., donated the collection to the library in 2013. His father, Clarendon Van Norman, Sr., acquired the items in an auction of Oliver Barrett's estate in 1952. Additional items related to Barrett can be found in the Oliver R. Barrett Papers (MS 1014) at the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections.