Friday, January 30, 2009

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker: The Unlikely Friendship of Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker: The Unlikely Friendship of Elizabeth Keckley and Mary Todd Lincoln by Lynda Jones
"Sometime in February 1818, on a platation in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, Mammy Aggy gave birth to her daughter, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Hobbs..."
Readers witness Elizabeth Keckley in her many roles: from fashion designer to abolitionist to caretaker. They follow her through the Civil War, the evils of slavery, and the many challenges faced alongside the First Lady. Handsome duotone illustrations include daguerreotypes, photos, paintings, and illustrations of the Lincoln's, Mrs. Keckley, and her masters. The book’s elegant design emphasizes period fashion and the art of dressmaking. Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker tells the remarkable story of a forgotten figure whose influence ran deep and offers a revealing insight into an extraordinary relationship at the very heart of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. Elizabeth made this quilt with leftover scraps of material that she used to stitch Mary's dresses. It is 85 1/2 inches square.In response to the financial scandal after Mrs. Lincoln left the White House, Elizabeth Keckley wrote her own story, Behind the Scenes, in 1868 to "attempt to place Mrs. Lincoln in a better light before the world" and to "explain the motives" that guided Mrs. Lincoln's decisions regarding the "old clothes" scandal. Elizabeth enlisted the help of a man named James Redpath, an editor from New York and friend of Frederick Douglass to help Keckley edit and publish the book. Contrary to Mrs. Keckley's serious intentions, advertisements labeled the forthcoming book as a 'literary thunderbolt' and the publisher, Carleton & Company joined in by declaring it as a 'great sensational disclosure'.-Wikipedia

1 comment:

La-la said...

A very insightful book about the life of Elizabeth Keckley, who made the beautiful gowns that Mrs Lincoln wore before and during the time her husband was president of the United States.
It also gave us a peek into the life and troubling times of Mary Todd Lincoln.
It was an interesting friendship these two women, from such different backgrounds, forged through their lifetime.