Elizabeth Keckley biography
Born a slave in Dinwiddie, Virginia, in February 1818, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley purchased her freedom in 1855. By 1860, Keckley had become as a dressmaker in Washington, D.C., and attracted the notice of U.S. first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, to whom she would become a companion and confidante. Keckley lost her clientele after publishing details of the Lincolns' private lives in Behind the Scenes (1868), and spent her last 40 years in obscurity. She died in Washington, D.C., in May 1907.