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Robt. Todd Lincoln / Ben Bradlee | by dbking
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Robt. Todd Lincoln / Ben Bradlee

Former home of:

Robert Todd Lincoln (Son of Abrahm Lincoln, Chairman of Pullman Railroad Co.)

Ben Bradlee (Newspaper Executive "Washington Post")

Location: 3014 N Street NW


---This home, with an original center portion dating back to 1790, was built for the rich

tobacco merchant John Laird and inherited by his daughter, Barbara, wife of local judge James Dunlop. Lincoln blocked Dunlop's career advancement because of his southern sympathies during the Civil War.


---The Dunlop family owned the mansion until it was bought in 1912 by Abraham Lincoln's only surviving son, Robert Todd Lincoln, who lived between this home and his beloved "Hildene" in Vermont until his death in 1926.


---Robert Todd Lincoln was treated like royalty because he was the son of the legendary 16th president.


---Neighborhood children in the 1920's were known to be in and around the yard of Robert Todd Lincoln's home here and remeber him yelling at them to stay away.


---One of Robert Todd's nicknames was "The Prince of the Rails" since he had become chairman of the Pullman Railroad Company


---Unlike his father who stood 6'4" tall, Robert Todd was a mere 5' 9.5" tall. His schoolmates called him "cockeye" because he had a squint in one eye.


---In 1983, the mansion was bought by Ben Bradlee, then executive editor of the Washington Post and an icon of journalism for steering the paper thru the Watergate scandal.


Robert Todd Lincoln (August 1, 1843 – July 26, 1926) was the first son of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Ann Todd. Born in Springfield, Illinois, United States, he was the only one of President Lincoln's four sons to reach adulthood.


Robert Lincoln graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy, then studied at Harvard University from 1861 to 1864 where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. (Later in life, Lincoln also joined the Delta Chi fraternity.) He then enrolled in Harvard Law School. However, he did not graduate and in 1865 joined the Union Army. He held the rank of Captain, serving in the American Civil War as part of General Ulysses S. Grant's immediate staff, in a position which sharply minimized the likelihood that he would be involved in actual combat.


Following his father's assassination, in May of 1865 he, his brother Thomas (Tad) Lincoln (1853–1871), and their mother moved to Chicago where Robert completed his law studies at the University of Chicago (a school different from the university presently known by that name). He was admitted to the bar on February 25, 1867. On September 24, 1868, he married Mary Eunice Harlan (September 25, 1846 – March 31, 1937), the daughter of Senator James Harlan and Ann Eliza Peck of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. They had two daughters and one son:


Mary "Mamie" Lincoln: October 15, 1869 - November 21, 1938

Abraham Lincoln II (nicknamed "Jack") - August 14, 1873 – March 5, 1890

Jessie Harlan Lincoln - November 6, 1875 – January 4, 1948


Lincoln began legal proceedings against his mother Mary in 1875, which resulted in her committal to an insane asylum in Batavia, Illinois. She was released after a three-month stay. The committal proceedings led to a profound estrangement between Lincoln and his mother; they were never reconciled.


In 1877 he turned down President Rutherford B. Hayes' offer to appoint him Assistant Secretary of State, but did accept an appointment to become the US Secretary of War from 1881 to 1885, serving under Presidents James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur.


Following his service as Secretary of War, Lincoln helped Oscar Dudley in establishing the Illinois Industrial Training School for Boys in Norwood Park in 1887 after Dudley discovered "more neglected and abandoned children on the streets than stray animals." The school relocated to Glenwood, IL in 1889, beginning to enroll girls in 1998. Under the name Glenwood School for Boys & Girls, the school continues to operate as a haven for boys and girls whose parents are unable to care for them.


In addition, he served as the US ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1889 to 1893 under President Benjamin Harrison after which he returned to private business as a lawyer. He became General Counsel and subsequently the President and Chairman of the Board of the Pullman Palace Car Company where he worked until his retirement in 1922. He made his last public appearance at the dedication ceremony in Washington, D.C. for his father's memorial on May 30th of that year.


A serious amateur astronomer, Lincoln constructed an observatory at his home in Manchester, Vermont, and equipped it with a refracting telescope with a six-inch objective lens. Lincoln's telescope still exists, restored and used by a local astronomy club.


Lincoln died at his Vermont home on July 26, 1926, and was later interred in Arlington National Cemetery next to his wife Mary and their son Jack, who died of blood poisoning at the age of 16 in London, England.


There is an odd coincidence in regard to Robert Todd Lincoln and presidential assassinations. The night his father was shot, Lincoln was invited to accompany his parents to the theater, but declined. When President Garfield was shot in a Washington, D.C. train station in 1881, he was present at Garfield's invitation. When President William McKinley was shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in 1901, Lincoln was present at McKinley's invitation. However, he was not an actual eyewitness to any of these assassinations. After McKinley's death, Lincoln let it be known that he wanted no further invitations from any US president, as three of them had invited him to be present at their assassinations.


In another odd coincidence, Robert Lincoln was once saved by Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth, from possible serious injury or death. The incident happened at a railroad station in Jersey City in 1863 or 1864, when Robert was traveling from New York City to Washington, and was recounted by Lincoln in 1909.


Robert Lincoln is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Benjamin Crowninshield Bradlee (born August 26, 1921) is the vice president of the Washington Post. As executive editor of the Post from 1965 to 1991, he challenged the federal government over the right to publish the Pentagon papers. He became famous for overseeing the publication of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's stories documenting the Watergate Scandal. For decades, Bradlee was one of only four publicly known people who knew the true identity of Deep Throat, the other three being Woodward, Bernstein, and Deep Throat himself.


Benjamin Bradlee was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard University, graduating in 1942. Bradlee married Jean Saltonstall, the daughter of Senator Leverett Saltonstall. After graduating Bradlee joined the Office of Naval Intelligence and worked as a communications officer. His duties included handling classified and coded cables. After the war, he became a reporter at the New Hampshire Sunday News in 1946. He started working for the Washington Post in 1948 as a reporter. Bradlee also got to know Philip Graham, Eugene Meyer's son-in-law, and associate publisher of the newspaper. In 1951 Graham helped Bradlee to become assistant press attaché in the American embassy in Paris.


In 1952 Bradlee joined the staff of the Office of U.S. Information and Educational Exchange (USIE), the embassy's propaganda unit. USIE produced films, magazines, research, speeches, and news items for use by the CIA throughout Europe. USIE (later known as USIA) also controlled the Voice of America, a means of disseminating pro-American "cultural information" worldwide. While at the USIE Bradlee worked with E. Howard Hunt and Fred Friendly.


According to a Justice Department memo from an assistant U.S. attorney in the Rosenberg Trial, Bradlee was helping the CIA to manage European propaganda regarding the spying conviction and the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on 19 June 1953.


Bradlee was officially employed by USIE until 1953, when he began working for Newsweek. While based in France, Bradlee divorced his first wife and married Antoinette Pinchot. At the time of the marriage, Antoinette's sister, Mary Pinchot Meyer, was married to Cord Meyer, a key figure in Operation Mockingbird, a CIA program to influence the media.


Antoinette Bradlee was also a close friend of Cicely d'Autremont, who was married to James Jesus Angleton. Bradlee worked closely with Angleton in Paris. At the time Angleton was liaison for all Allied intelligence in Europe. His deputy was Richard Ober, a fellow student of Bradlee's at Harvard University.


In 1957 Bradlee created a great deal of controversy when he interviewed members of the FLN. They were Algerian guerrillas who were in rebellion against the French government at the time. According to Deborah Davis, author of Katharine the Great about Katharine Graham, this had all the "earmarks of an intelligence operation". As a result of these interviews, Bradlee was expelled from France.


As a reporter in the 1950s, he became close friends with Senator John F. Kennedy who lived nearby. Bradlee served as a reporter in various assignments at the Post until 1961, when he became a senior editor. He maintained that position until 1965 when he was promoted to managing editor. He became vice president and executive editor in 1968. In 1978 he married fellow reporter Sally Quinn. Bradlee retired as executive editor in September 1991 but continues to serve as vice president of the paper.


In 1981, Washington Post reporter Janet Cooke won a Pulitzer Prize for "Jimmy's World", a profile of an eight-year old heroin addict. Cooke's article turned out to be based on faked information; there was no eight-year old addict. As executive editor, Bradlee was roundly criticized in many circles for failing to ensure the article's accuracy. After questions about the story's veracity arose, Bradlee (along with publisher Donald Graham) ordered a "full disclosure" investigation to ascertain the truth. At one point during the investigation, Bradlee angrily compared Cooke with Richard Nixon over her attempted cover-up of the fake story. Bradlee personally apologized to Mayor Marion Barry and the Chief of Police of Washington, DC for the Post's fictitious article. Cooke, meanwhile was forced to resign and relinquish the Pulitzer.


Bradlee published an autobiography in 1995, A Good Life: Newspapering and Other Adventures. He had an acting role in the 1993 remake of the 1950 romantic comedy Born Yesterday. He also appears as a character in the 1976 film All the President's Men, where he is portrayed by Jason Robards.


On May 3, 2006, Bradlee received a Doctor of Humane Letters from the prestigious Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Prior to receiving the honorary degree, Bradlee taught occasional journalism courses at Georgetown.


In the fall of 2005 Jim Lehrer conducted three, two-hour, interviews with Bradlee on a variety of topics from the responsibilities of the press to the differences between Watergate and the Valerie Plame case. The interviews were edited for an hour-long documentary called Free Speech: Jim Lehrer and Ben Bradlee, which premiered on PBS on June 19, 2006.


Sources: "Georgetown Homes and their Residents"


Brochures from Hildene










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Taken on August 14, 2006