Keckley, Elizabeth

Keckley, Elizabeth (Hobbs)

(c. 1824–1907) dressmaker; born in Dinwiddie, Va. She purchased her freedom from slavery in 1855. By 1860 she was a Washington, D.C., dressmaker; she attracted the notice of Mary Todd Lincoln, to whom she became a companion and confidante. Keckley lost her clientele after publishing details of the Lincolns' private lives in Behind the Scenes (1868) and she spent her last forty years in obscurity.