After my mother died my father refused to let anything leave the house. My father
standing guard over the museum of my mother. He is in charge of her estate.
My father and his executive privilege.
Take everything—I remember my mother whispering to me on her deathbed. Take it now.
Maybe she suspected the embargo that would occur afterward. No photographs could
leave the house. My father grudgingly let me make copies.
All property was confiscated.
Take everything, she whispered.
Russian soldiers painstakingly cataloged 837,000 women’s coats and dresses, 44,000 pairs
of shoes, and 7.7 tons of human hair.
Pillow sheets to grab heirlooms. Oil paintings. Doorknobs melted for their metal.
Mary Todd Lincoln attempted to sell her old clothes. It didn’t go over well. The incident
was a major source of embarrassment for her son Robert, who later put her away. The
press characterized her as an eccentric nearing lunacy.
The spectacle of the unraveling woman.
Oh the house the clean house