Book Club

Books at Bowers [Onsite]: Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley


Join us to discuss Behind the Scenes: Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley, dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln. This autobiography, first published in 1868 and reprinted in 1989, is the life story of Keckley, who raised enough money while enslaved to purchase her freedom and work as a seamstress and dressmaker for the wives of influential politicians in Washington, D.C. Through the eyes of this black business woman, the memoir depicts a wide range of historical figures and events of the antebellum South, the Wash-ington of the Civil War years, and the final stages of the war. Biographers of the Lincolns have quot-ed extensively from Keckley's text of 400 pages which is considered one of the most important 19th-century accounts of life in the White House. (The White House Historical Society) Book Club partic-ipants may also wish to read Jennifer Chiaverini’s historical novel entitled Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, which details their relationship as an interesting perspective on the cultural and social lives of the times. (published 2013, 352 pages) A docent led tour of Guo Pei: The Art of Couture follows the book club discussion as we compare the fashion creativity of two influential designers past and present.

LOCATION: Norma Kershaw Auditorium | Onsite Book Discussion

Free book club for Bowers Museum members. To RSVP, click button at top of page. Space is limited to 25 members. A confirmation email will be sent to participants.

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Event details

February 16, 2023 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


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