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Original Essays | September 4, 2014

Edward E. Baptist: IMG The Two Bodies of The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism



My new book, The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism, is the story of two bodies. The first body was the new... Continue »
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Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly: The Remarkable Story of the Friendship Between a First Lady and a Former Slave

Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly: The Remarkable Story of the Friendship Between a First Lady and a Former Slave Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A vibrant social history set against the backdrop of the Antebellum south and the Civil War that recreates the lives and friendship of two exceptional women: First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln and her mulatto dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckly.

I consider you my best living friend, Mary Lincoln wrote to Elizabeth Keckly in 1867, and indeed theirs was a close, if tumultuous, relationship. Born into slavery, mulatto Elizabeth Keckly was Mary Lincoln's dressmaker, confidante, and mainstay during the difficult years that the Lincolns occupied the White House and the early years of Mary's widowhood. But she was a fascinating woman in her own right, independent and already well-established as the dressmaker to the Washington elite when she was first hired by Mary Lincoln upon her arrival in the nation's capital. Lizzy had bought her freedom in 1855 and come to Washington determined to make a life for herself as a free black, and she soon had Washington correspondents reporting that stately carriages stand before her door, whose haughty owners sit before Lizzy docile as lambs while she tells them what to wear. Mary Lincoln had hired Lizzy in part because she was considered a high society seamstress and Mary, an outsider in Washington's social circles, was desperate for social cachet. With her husband struggling to keep the nation together, Mary turned increasingly to her seamstress for companionship, support, and advice--and over the course of those trying years, Lizzy Keckly became her confidante and closest friend.

With Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly, pioneering historian Jennifer Fleischner allows us to glimpse the intimate dynamics of this unusual friendship for the first time, andtraces the pivotal events that enabled these two women--one born to be a mistress, the other to be a slave--to forge such an unlikely bond at a time when relations between blacks and whites were tearing the nation apart. Beginning with their respective childhoods in the slaveholding states of Virginia and Kentucky, their story takes us through the years of tragic Civil War, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the early Reconstruction period. An author in her own right, Keckly wrote one of the most detailed biographies of Mary Lincoln ever published, and though it led to a bitter feud between the friends, it is one of the many rich resources that have enhanced Fleischner's trove of original findings.

A remarkable, riveting work of scholarship that reveals the legacy of slavery and sheds new light on the Lincoln White House, Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly brings to life a mesmerizing, intimate aspect of Civil War history, and underscores the inseparability of black and white in our nation's heritage.

Synopsis:

Almost no one knows about the mulatta seamstress and ex-slave Elizabeth Keckley except professional historians and biographers of the Lincolns. "Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckley" is the first book devoted exclusively to the friendship that existed between these two women during the Civil War.

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 327-360) and index.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780767902588
Author:
Fleischner, Jennifer
Publisher:
Random House
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
People of Color
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Women slaves
Subject:
Presidents' spouses
Subject:
First Ladies
Subject:
Female friendship
Subject:
African-American women
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
2002-211606
Publication Date:
April 2003
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9.64x6.40x1.26 in. 1.42 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » US History » Presidents » Lincoln, Abraham

Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckly: The Remarkable Story of the Friendship Between a First Lady and a Former Slave
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$ In Stock
Product details 384 pages Broadway Books - English 9780767902588 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Almost no one knows about the mulatta seamstress and ex-slave Elizabeth Keckley except professional historians and biographers of the Lincolns. "Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Keckley" is the first book devoted exclusively to the friendship that existed between these two women during the Civil War.
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 327-360) and index.
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