Genealogy Adventures

Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House

Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House

An autobiographical narrative, Behind the Scenes traces Elizabeth Keckley’s life from her enslavement in Virginia and North Carolina to her time as a seamstress to Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House during Abraham Lincoln’s administration. It was a controversial book at the time of its release – an uncompromising work that transgressed Victorian boundaries between public and private life, and lines of race, gender, and society.

Keckley’s first 30 years were spent as a slave.  The cruelties and injustices of her life are related clearly and succinctly. This enlightening memoir recounts:

  • the harsh treatment she endured while enslaved;
  • how she became a dressmaker to support her master and his family;
  • how she was determined to purchase freedom for herself and her son;
  • how her friends in St. Louis came to her aid;
  • how she became Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker and close friend; and
  • her perspectives and experiences from her inside view of Lincoln’s White House.

Keckley emerges as a calm and confident person who speaks of a very tumultuous period of American history.

Description

Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House

An autobiographical narrative, Behind the Scenes traces Elizabeth Keckley’s life from her enslavement in Virginia and North Carolina to her time as a seamstress to Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House during Abraham Lincoln’s administration. It was a controversial book at the time of its release – an uncompromising work that transgressed Victorian boundaries between public and private life, and lines of race, gender, and society.

Keckley’s first 30 years were spent as a slave.  The cruelties and injustices of her life are related clearly and succinctly. This enlightening memoir recounts:

  • the harsh treatment she endured while enslaved;
  • how she became a dressmaker to support her master and his family;
  • how she was determined to purchase freedom for herself and her son;
  • how her friends in St. Louis came to her aid;
  • how she became Mary Todd Lincoln’s dressmaker and close friend; and
  • her perspectives and experiences from her inside view of Lincoln’s White House.

Keckley emerges as a calm and confident person who speaks of a very tumultuous period of American history.

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