Local author to host book signing at Hildene


MANCHESTER >> Author C.J. King will sign copies of her book, "Four Marys and a Jessie: The Story of the Lincoln Women," at Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home this Saturday.

King will be at the Hildene Museum Store from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. Admission into the museum is not required to attend the signing. King moved to Vermont in the late 80's, after her great aunt revealed that she was a distant cousin of Mary Harlan Lincoln, the wife of Robert Lincoln, president Abraham Lincoln's oldest son. This knowledge piqued King's interest, so she moved to Vermont in order to be near Hildene, the home that Robert and Mary built in 1905.

Four Marys and a Jessie was first published in 2005, but was revised for a second edition after new documents were found that provided additional details about the lives of Mary Harlan and Mary Todd, Abraham's wife. ""We write history based on what is known when we write it, but historians are always looking for new evidence," said King, "After my first edition was published, two collections of information that gave new insight into the lives of the Lincoln women came to light, and I wanted those to be included in my story." The first collection is a series of letters that details the life of Harlan as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, Scientist. The second collection is a manuscript detailing Todd's struggles with insanity, which was purchased by Harlan and suppressed in 1928. Harlan's lawyer kept a copy of the manuscript, however, which was discovered shortly after King's book was published.

"Above all else, Four Marys and a Jessie is the tale of five women with an extraordinary family heritage," said Hildene press director Paula Maynard, "As the wife, daughter-in-law, granddaughters, and great granddaughter of President Abraham Lincoln, their lives were constantly overshadowed by his. Their lives span more than a century and a half, seventy of those years for some included life at Hildene. The reader sees change unfolding page after page, from a time when people argued against education for girls to the ever expanding role of women in modern society."

King, originally a resident of Indiana, graduated summa cum laude from Ball State University which a bachelor's of arts in journalism. She received her master's degree, a master's of fine arts in English, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The title of her thesis was "Her Middle Name Was Lincoln: The Life of Mary Lincoln "Peggy" Beckwith." After moving to Vermont, King, from 1992 to 1997 was a reporter, photographer, and arts editor with the Bennington Banner and the Manchester Journal. She is currently a resident of town of Jamaica.

Hildene, located on Route 7A in Manchester, is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is $18.00 for adults and $5 for children 6 to 14. Members, volunteers and children under 6 are admitted for free.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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