On September 17, 1867, a woman checked into a room in the posh St. Denis Hotel (below) on Broadway and 11th Street.
Her reservation was made under the name Mrs. Clarke. But with her real name written on her luggage, she was quickly recognized as presidential widow Mary Todd Lincoln.
This was hardly Mrs. Lincoln’s first trip to the city. After her husband was elected in 1860, she was a frequent visitor to New York.
Her trips weren’t about politics, however. She was mainly in Gotham to shop the city’s many expensive stores—like A. T. Stewart, Lord and Taylor, and Tiffany & Co.
Mrs. Lincoln was what today would be called a shopaholic. Perhaps she bought so many things to dull the pain after her 11-year-old son Willie died in 1862. Or maybe felt that the president…