Read Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley Free Online
Book Title: Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House|
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The author of the book: Elizabeth Keckley
Edition: Oxford University Press, USA
Date of issue: December 1st 1989
ISBN 13: 9780195060843
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 659 KB
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Part slave narrative, part memoir, and part sentimental fiction Behind the Scenes depicts Elizabeth Keckley's years as a slave and subsequent four years in Abraham Lincoln's White House during the Civil War. Through the eyes of this black woman, we see a wide range of historical figures and events of the antebellum South, the Washington of the Civil War years, and the final stages of the war.
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Read information about the authorElizabeth Hobbs Keckley (February 1818 –May 1907) was a former slave turned successful seamstress who is most notably known as being Mary Todd Lincoln's personal modiste and confidante, and the author of her autobiography, Behind the Scenes Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Mrs. Keckley utilized her intelligence, keen business acumen, and sewing and design skills to arrange and ultimately buy her freedom (and that of her son George as well), and later enjoyed regular business with the wives of the government elite as her base clientele.
After several years in St. Louis, she moved to Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1860, where she had the country's most elite women of the time requesting her services. Through shrewd networking and hard work, she ended up making gowns and dresses for more notable wives such as Mrs. Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis, and Mrs. Mary Anne Randolph Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee. Of all her clients, she had the closest and most long-standing relationship with Mary Todd Lincoln, devoting many of her days during Abraham Lincoln's administration to being available to her and the First Family in a myriad of ways.