When the private papers of Millard Fillmore, thought to have been destroyed in 1889, were discovered they proved to include a large number of letters to Fillmore from Dorothea Dix, the renowned crusader for the humane treatment of the insane. Almost simultaneously, the letters of Fillmore to Dix, which had lain forgotten in a private collection since 1887, became available.
Thus overnight a correspondence of more than a hundred and fifty letters, spanning nearly twenty years, opened new perspectives upon two prominent Americans whose friendship was known to few during their lifetimes and had long been forgotten by historians.
All the extant correspondence between the thirteenth President of the United States and the humanitarian reformer is published here for the first time. Charles M. Snyder provides an illuminating background on the principles and a running commentary on the events that shaped their lives and their relationship.
The Lady & the President provides a wealth of raw material for a reinterpretation of these two neglected figures, offering new insights into their warm personal relations, their roles as national leaders, and the perilous times in which they lived.