Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth H. Keckley
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Behind the Scenes
By Elizabeth H. Keckley

Behind the Scenes

Formerly a Slave, but More Recently Modiste, and Friend to Mrs. Lincoln; or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House New edition

By (author) See other recent books by Elizabeth H. Keckley
Edited by Frances Smith Foster See other recent books by Frances Smith Foster
Format: Paperback

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Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth H. Keckley

Book Description

"Born into slavery, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (ca. 1824-1907) rose to a position of respect as a talented dressmaker and designer to the political elite of Washington, D.C., and a confidante of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. In this unusual memoir, Keckley offers a rare, behind-the-scenes view of the formal and informal networks that African Americans established among themselves, as well as an insider's perspective of the men who made Civil War politics and the women who influenced them.As an enslaved young woman, Keckley was moved to the rough frontier city of St. Louis, where she began working as a modiste, or dress designer. She eventually was able to buy her freedom and went to Washington, D.C., where she established herself as modiste to some of the wives and daughters of high-level politicians and officers. Before long, she was supplying not only beautiful clothing but also a sympathetic ear to Mary Todd Lincoln.Keckley's descriptions of the Lincolns at home reveal touching, unguarded moments of laughter, discussion, and affection. She witnessed the grief of both parents at the death of their son Willie and Mary Todd's prostration after the president's assassination. In dire financial straits, Mary Todd turned to Keckley, who spent several months in New York helping the former First Lady sell her elegant clothing.President of the Contraband Relief Association and a friend of Frederick Douglass and other prominent African-American leaders, Keckley emerges as a remarkable, resourceful, and principled woman who helped mediate between black and white communities. Frances Smith Foster's introduction traces the book's reception history and fills in biographical gaps in the text."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780252070204
ISBN-10: 0252070208
Format: Paperback
(190mm x 127mm x 23mm)
Pages: 344
Imprint: University of Illinois Press
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publish Date: 18-Dec-2001
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author Elizabeth H. Keckley

Behind the Scenes in the Lincoln White House by Elizabeth H. Keckley Behind the Scenes in the Lincoln White House, Paperback (September 2006)

A former slave who was a dressmaker and confidante of Mary Todd Lincoln, Keckley witnessed the happy times as well as the tragic events that unfolded within the Lincoln White House.

Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth H. Keckley Behind the Scenes, Paperback (September 2005)

This fascinating autobiography describes one woman's life as a slave and subsequently her four years in Lincoln's White House during the Civil War.

» View all books by Elizabeth H. Keckley

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