Auditorium seating for both events is no longer available. However,
an additional 100 auxiliary seats are available at both the Chicago
and Springfield events, allowing patrons to see live video of the
retrials projected on a large screen. Tickets for the auxiliary
seating are $15 each and may be reserved through the event website,
www.wasmarylincolncrazy.com. In addition, details concerning
broadcasts of the retrials will be finalized in the near future,
allowing a much wider audience to view the proceedings.
retrials will take place in Chicago's Murphy Auditorium at 50 E.
Erie at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 and at the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Museum in Springfield at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 1. The
events are produced and sponsored by the Illinois Supreme Court
Historic Preservation Commission and the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library and Museum.
The retrials of Mary Lincoln will occur in a courtroom setting to
give her a hearing using current laws regarding her alleged
insanity. The participants will use their own words and strategies
to make their cases. Actors portraying Robert Lincoln and Mary
Lincoln, in period costume, will testify, as well as an expert
witness -- a mental health professional -- for each side. Following
instructions to the jurors (the audience), Mrs. Lincoln's fate will
be in the hands of those attending each event.
The Hon. Maureen Connors, who serves in the 2nd Division of the
1st District Appellate Court, will be the presiding judge at the
Sept. 24 retrial in Chicago. The petitioner, Robert Todd Lincoln,
will be represented by the Hon. Warren Wolfson, Distinguished
Visiting Professor of Law at the DePaul University College of Law,
and the Hon. Erica Reddick, of the Cook County Circuit Court, Child
Protective Division of the Juvenile Court. Mary Todd Lincoln, the
respondent, will be represented by the Hon. Lorna Propes, of Cook
County Circuit Court, and the Hon. Mark Drummond, Circuit Court
judge in Adams County. Expert witnesses will include Dr. Bennett L.
Leventhal, professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at New York
University and an internationally renowned psychiatrist; and Dr.
James Cavanaugh, professor of psychiatry at Rush Medical Institute.
Famed broadcast journalist Bill Kurtis will be the narrator for the
The presiding judge in the Oct. 1 Springfield retrial will be the
Hon. Michael P. McCuskey, chief U.S. district judge for the Central
District of Illinois. Representing the petitioner will be the Hon.
Ronald D. Spears, circuit court judge in Christian County, and the
Hon. M. Carol Pope, appellate court judge for the 4th District of
Illinois. The respondent will be represented by the Hon. Lisa Holder
White, Macon County circuit judge and the supervising judge for the
Criminal Law Division of the 6th Judicial Circuit, and the Hon. R.C.
Bollinger, associate circuit judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit in
Decatur. Expert witnesses will include Terry Killian, M.D, who has a
private practice of general psychiatry in Springfield, and Lawrence
Jeckel, M.D., a board-certified psychiatrist, forensic psychiatrist
and psychoanalyst in Champaign. Former Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar will
narrate the Springfield event.
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Springfield resident Pam Brown will portray Mary Todd Lincoln at
both retrials. Brown has portrayed the former first lady in numerous
stage productions and in two National Geographic documentaries:
"Lincoln's Last Night" and "Secret Lincoln." Chicago actor Zach
Kenney will portray Robert Todd Lincoln. He has appeared in numerous
Chicago-area productions: at the Steppenwolf, Goodman, Biograph,
American Blues, Victory Gardens, and TimeLine theaters.
The retrials are part of a yearlong series of events marking Mrs.
Lincoln's life and emphasizing the evolution of mental health laws
in Illinois. Funds raised beyond the cost of the events will be used
for the preservation of historic documents owned by the sponsoring
Mrs. Lincoln was tried in 1875 at the instigation of her son
Robert on allegations of insanity, which ultimately led to her being
declared a "lunatic" and placed in the Bellevue Sanitarium in
Batavia. Mary Lincoln obtained an early release from Bellevue with
the assistance of her friend Myra Bradwell. One year after the
original insanity trial, another jury found her sane, restoring her
legal control over her assets. Even today, historians disagree
whether the evidence against the first lady was "trumped up,"
whether the procedures used constituted due process and what would
occur if today's modernized health laws were applied to the same
Another event in the series, the "Culture of Clothing," will
feature Mary Todd Lincoln's life and fashions as a homemaker, as
first lady and as a widow in mourning after the loss of three sons
and a husband. This special show will take place on Nov. 12 in the
Driehaus Museum in Chicago, where the dresses she had made, the
jewelry she wore and the long-lasting elements of design that she
created will be used to demonstrate the changing roles of women
through fashion. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in
Springfield will have a similar event on Nov. 19. Tickets are $50
for the Chicago event and $25 for Springfield and must be purchased
in advance through
www.wasmarylincolncrazy.com. Only a limited number of tickets
remain for these two events.
A theatrical project bringing the relationship of Mary Lincoln
and her advocate, Myra Bradwell, to life will be developed from
their correspondence and portrayed by Springfield actors Susan
Jeffers and Aasne Vigesaa. Performance dates in Chicago and
Springfield will be announced.
The Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library and Museum, the nation's largest and most
visited presidential library complex, immerses visitors in Lincoln's
life and times. The
Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission assists
the Supreme Court in acquiring, collecting, documenting, preserving
and cataloging documents and artifacts important to the history of
the Illinois judicial system.
file received from the