Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Abraham Lincoln (180965)
All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.
Attributed to ABRAHAM LINCOLN.Josiah G. Holland, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, p. 23 (1866), and George Alfred Townsend, The Real Life of Abraham Lincoln, p. 6 (1867). According to the latter, Lincoln made this remark to his law partner, William Herndon.
Lincolns natural mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died when he was nine years old and his father remarried the following year. His stepmother, Sarah Bush (Johnston) Lincoln, was loved and respected by Lincoln throughout her life, as evidenced in the many biographical studies of Lincoln. Benjamin P. Thomas says in Abraham Lincoln, p. 12 (1952): The boy Abraham adored her. Recollection of his own mother dimmed. And in later years he called this woman, who filled her place so well, my angel mother.
The Macmillan Book of Proverbs, Maxims, and Famous Phrases, ed. Burton Stevenson, p. 1627 (1965), comments that the remark referred to Lincolns stepmother. But the biographers of Lincolns natural mother claim the remark referred to her: Caroline Hanks Hitchcock, Nancy Hanks, p. 105 (1899) and Charles Ludwig, Nancy Hanks: Mother of Lincoln, p. 84 (1965).