Mary Lincoln stopped wearing mourning clothes for her beloved Willie on New Year’s Day 1864. Facing a presidential election ahead, the Lincolns started the year on a high note at a traditional public reception at the Executive Mansion.
Mrs. Lincoln wore a dark dress with a train.
The start of the social season meant Mary Lincoln would once again face off with Kate Chase Sprague, who served as hostess for her father, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase.
Mrs. Sprague, younger and more beautiful than the first lady, often sniped about Mrs. Lincoln’s Southern roots. Sprague was proud of her own Yankee lineage.
Source: Mary Lincoln: A Life by Catherine Clinton