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The Boston Globe

Nation

Mary Todd Lincoln portrait, and legend behind it, are frauds

Story behind portrait was part of scam

NEW YORK - For 32 years, a portrait of a serene Mary Todd Lincoln hung in the governor’s mansion in Springfield, Ill., signed by Francis Bicknell Carpenter, a celebrated painter who lived at the White House for six months in 1864.

The story behind the picture was compelling: Mary Todd Lincoln had Carpenter secretly paint her portrait as a surprise for the president, but he was assassinated before she had a chance to present it to him.

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