Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Donna D. McCreary  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1958 in Frankfort, Germany

-- Website --
-- Donna D. McCreary on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Donna writes books about Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln - both Illinois subjects of interest.

Biographical and Professional Information

Donna McCreary’s lifelong interest in history and the Lincoln family led her to begin portraying Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the 16th President, in 1992. Since then, she has extensively researched original documents for information to take her audiences into America’s turbulent past. She has performed for various schools, organizations, and museums throughout the Midwest, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois and the Mary Todd Lincoln House in Lexington, Kentucky. As a member of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, she is a recipient of the ''Outstanding Mary Todd Lincoln Award'' in 1997 and 2000; the Glenn Schnizlein Memorial Award in 2005; and the Lincoln Legend Award in 2007.Several of her articles about the Lincoln family have been published. Her book ''Fashionable First Lady'' offers insight to the personality of Mary Lincoln through study of her exquisite wardrobe, and her book ''Lincoln's Table'' is a collection of recipes for food that Lincoln enjoyed from his boyhood through his presidency.In recognition for her work as an educator, author, and Mary Lincoln presenter, McCreary has been included in several editions of Who’s Who in America and has also received numerous civic and professional awards. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in secondary education from Indiana University SE, and is a member of the Society of Midland Authors. McCreary resides near Charlestown, a southern Indiana community.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Lincoln's Table: A President's Culinary Journey from Cabin to Cosmopolitan
ISBN: 0979538319

Lincoln Presentations. 2008

Despite a common belief that Abraham Lincoln had little or no interest in food, research shows that he actually did have many favorite foods. Family stories, observations of his friends, and White House menus indicate those favorites - many of which he had enjoyed since his childhood. Survival in the Kentucky and Indiana wilderness where Lincoln grew to adulthood depended in great part on good nutrition, and young Abraham was fortunate to be part of a family that boasted of several good cooks. The boy's hearty appetite was satisfied by such foods as wild game, pork, fish, vegetables and fruit grown on the family's farm, and corn cakes that he laughingly said he could eat "twice as fast as two women could make them." As an adult his palate was introduced to other favorites - oysters, pecan pie, lemon cake and many other dishes that were enjoyed by the American aristocracy of the nineteenth century. Lincoln's Table: A President's Culinary Journey from Cabin to Cosmopolitan, is more than just a recipe book: It is also a social commentary, a chronicle of Abraham Lincoln's life through the foods he ate, from the simple fare of the frontier to the most elaborate meals that befitted a President. The reader is allowed a glimpse into the dishes that literally made Abraham Lincoln the man he was, and to experience firsthand a true taste of American history.

Fashionable First Lady: The Victorian Wardrobe of Mary Lincoln
ISBN: 0979538300

Lincoln Presentations. 2007

To the Victorian eye, first appearances and the way one was dressed made a lasting impression, and proper ladies of that era wanted very much to leave a positive lasting first impression. Women paid attention to the details of their attire and their accessories, for one mistake could lead to social ostracism. As a member of the aristocratic Todd family, Mary Lincoln was able to adhere to the latest fashions made from the finest fabrics. As a young woman, Mary was one of the belles in Lexington, Kentucky and in Springfield, Illinois, then a bustling frontier town. She was a member of the social plan where ladies were concerned about the width of their ribbons, the length of their skirts, and the latest Parisian fashions. Even in widowhood, Mary kept abreast of the latest fashions. Mary Lincoln enjoyed shopping. For her it was almost an art form. But other than a few gowns which became famous because she wore them for photo sittings, little is said about Mary's choice of dress. How did they relate to the fashion of the era? Did she dress like other Washington women of society? Where her dresses outstanding because they were different and more elaborate than anyone else's? And what is discovered about Mary's personality by examining her wardrobe? Fashionable First Lady: The Victorian Wardrobe of Mary Lincoln answers these questions and more. Each of Mary's known costumes is examined. When available, detailed information such as the width of a sleeve and the color of piping is given. In addition to information about Mary's gowns is information about 19th century fashion, mourning attire, and photographs of Mary's fashion choices. Information about White House social functions and stories about the Lincoln's entertaining helps the reader gain new insights into Mary's personality and understand her fashion choices.

Lincoln's Table: Victorian Recipes from Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois to the White House
ISBN: 1578600898

Clerisy Pr. 2000

Lincoln's Table: Victorian Recipes from Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois to the White House is a collection of recipes, each one of which has been traced to Lincoln's dining table at some point in his life. That table may have been the rough table made by his father, or the beautiful elaborate dining table used for state dinners in the White House. Some recipes were enjoyed by the Lincoln family in Springfield. Others were relished in fine New York restaurants, the homes of friends, or boarding houses where Lincoln stayed when he was a circuit lawyer. They all share one common thread - Lincoln enjoyed them. A sampling of the recipes included are: Sorghum Cake Fried Green Apples Nancy's Pork Chops and Greens Young Abe's Gingerbread Men Beaten Biscuits Mary Todd's Courting Cake (or Burnt Sugar Cake).



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

, contact author at 812-256-2370 or via email

Donna's formal presentations include

  • Fashionable First Lady- (about 1 hour)

    A power point presentations taking a look at Mary Lincoln's exquisite wardrobe and the fashion behind the wardrobe choices she made. Also discussed are general fashion trends for the 19th century, mourning customs, and the importance of dress and style to the aristocracy to Victorian society.

  • ''Mary, the Quintessential Hostess'' - (about 1 hour)

    A look at entertaining in the Lincoln Home and the Lincoln administration of the White House. Was Mary Lincoln a gracious hostess as reported by her sister, or the stingy hostess described by a member of the Lincoln family.

  • ''Mary's Legacy, according to her son Robert Lincoln'' - (1 hour)

    What we know and do not know about Mary Lincoln, we can attribute to the diligent work of her son Robert. The Lincoln Legacy fell upon his shoulders, and he left it somewhat contradictory. It was through Robert's work and guidance that early historians began creating an image of the Lincoln's - both good and bad.

  • ''The Gift of Love The Relationship between Robert Lincoln and the Todd family'' - (about 1 hour)

    After his mother's death, Robert Lincoln was able to do what his mother never did - forgive and embrace the Confederate members of the Todd family. Through letters written between the Robert Lincoln family and his aunt Emily Todd Helm's family, a relationship developed that centered on a mutual family love and forgiveness. Robert embraced the Todd's; and many of them depended on him.

  • ''Mourning It's a Way of Life'' - (about 50 minutes)

    Just because a woman was dressed in mourning attire did not mean she was always a widow. This program takes a look at mourning rituals throughout the 19th century and the impact they had on American women. Special attention is given to the mourning of Mary Lincoln.