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Program 422

1. Robert Berks’ Lincoln bust
2. the Mary Todd Lincoln House
3. the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program
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Franklin County

For more information:
Kentucky Historical Society, 100 W. Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601, (502) 564-1792

Producer: Ira Simmons

Mr. President

Robert Berks’ bust of Abraham Lincoln

Among the decorations at the headquarters of the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort is a bust of one of Kentucky’s best known native sons—Abraham Lincoln. The bronze sculpture is by internationally known New York artist Robert Berks. In this segment, taped as the work was nearing completion, Berks describes how his research gave him a new understanding of the 16th president and how that understanding is reflected in the sculpture.

Lincoln was born near Hodgenville on February 12, 1809; the site is now a national historic park. The family moved to another farm nearby, on Knob Creek, in 1811, and then to Indiana in 1816, when young Abe was 7. But Lincoln’s Kentucky ties were reinforced 26 years later when, as a young lawyer in Illinois, he met and married a fellow ex-Kentuckian, the subject of our next segment ...

Watch This Story (5:33)

Fayette County

For more information:
Mary Todd Lincoln House, 578 W. Main St., Lexington, KY 40508, (859) 233-9999

Producer, videographer: Treg Ward

Mrs. President

The Mary Todd Lincoln House

Mary Todd was born to two of Lexington’s most prominent families in 1818. On her father’s side, in fact, she was descended from Levi Todd, who had helped establish the town. Her mother was a Parker, and therefore a leading member of Lexington society. After Eliza Parker Todd died in childbirth when Mary was 6, Robert Smith Todd remarried, and he, his new wife, their children, and Mary established a household in a large brick home on West Main Street.

Mary continued to travel in good circles. She went to John Ward’s school and then Charlotte Mentelle’s boarding school, which was right across the street from the Lexington estate of U.S. Senator Henry Clay. In all, she completed 12 years of schooling—a rarity for young ladies of her era.

As a well-bred young woman, Mary was also expected to marry well. At 21, she left Lexington to live with a sister in Illinois. There she met a rising young star of the local legal and political scene whom she hoped would fulfill those expectations—Abraham Lincoln. They married in 1842. Fewer than 20 years later, Mary was America’s first lady.

But from that point on, her life was filled with tragedy, from stinging criticisms of her own “extravagance” as first lady to rumors that she was a Confederate sympathizer to Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. She also lost two children and was committed to an insane asylum by her only remaining son.

This segment, though, remembers happier times—Mary Todd’s Lexington childhood—with a visit to the restored family home. It is open for individual tours from mid-March to the end of November and for group tours year-round.

Watch This Story (7:19)

Franklin County

For more information:
Kentucky Craft Marketing Program, 2100 Capital Plaza Tower, Frankfort, KY 40601, (888) KY-CRAFT (592-7238)

Producer: Cheryl Beckley

The Jury Is In

Kentucky Craft Marketing Program

Once just a cottage industry, the making and selling of traditional craft items is now big business, with a large economic impact on Kentucky. Our final segment goes behind the scenes at an annual competition organized by the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program. Artists and craftspeople submit their best work to this select jurying process. The prizes for the winners include display at a prestigious annual show and a marketing boost with retailers around the country.

Watch This Story (8:10)

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