Elizabeth Keckley, Mary Lincoln's Talented Turncoat

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Here is a very in-depth, academic paper on the Keckley/White House story. It's heavy reading, but very thought provoking. Especially read beginning page 548. The article is "Behind the Seams: The Colored Historian of the White House and Her Parodists".

https://www.academia.edu/37932243/Behind_the_Seams_The_Colored_Historian_of_the_White_House_and_Her_Parodists?auto=download
Unfortunately, at least for me here that page requires to register and log in to read that paper. Could you maybe quote that paragraph you want us to pay special attention to?
 
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Unfortunately, at least for me here that page requires to register and log in to read that paper. Could you maybe quote that paragraph you want us to pay special attention to?
Sorry you are unable to directly download the article. It should work for most members. Perhaps your location?
The article in general focuses on and explains society's negative views on Black Americans who tried to write and publish post-Civil War. It specifically analyzes a scathing published parody of Keckley's book "Behind the Scenes....". The parody released soon after the Keckley book appeared is extremely racist while completely vilifying Keckley's memoirs. It is entitled:
"Behind the seams; by a n----r woman who took in work from Mrs. Lincoln and Mrs. Davis".
There are references on the web claiming Robert Lincoln wrote the parody because of his displeasure that Keckley in the appendix of her book released private, disparaging Keckley-Lincoln letters. This allegation is utterly false---Robert Lincoln had no association with the parody.
 
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Perhaps your location
I'm afraid so! We have new copyright and data protection laws in the EU that have recently inhibited me from accessing a lot of US sources.

Thanks for the summary of what is said there.
So it seems Keckley's book was not so much devoured by the public for its intimate details, but it's reception was more critical, even to the point that it was ridiculed? Did the resentment towards a Black American female author prevail the lust for juicy gossip, as could be expected from a title that reads "Behind the Scenes …"? To be honest, that seems a bit far fetched to me. But then again, I could not read through the article and follow the argumentation.
 

mofederal

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People seem to forget Lincoln served as an officer in the Black Hawk War. Even the militia members would have received a pension later, but it would not have amounted to a lot of money. It is easy to overlook militia service in smaller conflicts.
 

wbull1

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An interesting sidelight was that a Confederate apologist falsely claimed Elizabeth Keckley did not write the book. From:
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/how-one-amateur-historian-brought-us-stories-african-americans-who-knew-abraham-lincoln-180968215/

David Rankin Barbee, a Washington, D.C., gadfly who regularly sought to explicate and defend the white South to outsiders told up-and-coming Washington journalist Bess Furman that Jane Grey Swisshelm, a Civil War–era correspondent from Minnesota was the real author of Behind the Scenes. Furman believed him and filed her story on this supposed new discovery in the Washington Star on Saturday, November 11. Four days later the paper published John E. Washington’s refutation. Keckly (also spelled Keckley) had indeed lived and that, while others might have helped her write the book, Keckly had taken “full responsibility” for it.

Barbee quickly countered with his own letter to the editor a few days later, claiming he had never denied Keckly’s existence but, instead, had argued that “no such person” had written Behind the Scenes. He maintained that position, reiterating that Swisshelm was the real author and that Behind the Sceneswas a work of fiction. No one, he told a friend in private correspondence, could “find in all the United States of 1869 [sic] one negro He also claimed (incorrectly) that Mrs. Lincoln bought all her dresses in New York and Paris and had no need of a fine seamstress in Washington.

On learning of black Washingtonians’ strong objections to Barbee’s claims, Furman decided to investigate further. “Someone who knew Madame Keckly turned up,” she recorded in her calendar a few days after the initial story ran. She headed to the home of Francis Grimké, Keckly’s former pastor, who had a photo of Keckly and talked extensively about having known her and preaching at her 1907 funeral service. Soon Furman was at Washington’s home, interviewing him about Keckly and taking down the names and addresses of other black Washingtonians who could attest to her existence. Furman’s new story, which she privately called a “correction,” went over the AP wire and appeared in the Washington Star on December 1. Barbee’s assertions had “brought Negro leaders forward in spirited defense of Elizabeth Keckly as an author,” Furman wrote. “In old albums they found photographs of her to prove her a decidedly dressy and intelligent person.”
 
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I'm adding it to my list now. You know what they say, "Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery." I think you guys are good influences on me!
@Eleanor Rose , I have just finished Elisabeth Keckley's book and found it interesting that she had been a slave in the Garland family (and maintained very warm feelings for the Garlands later in life). The name "Garland" of course rang a bell - James Longstreet 's first wife Maria Louisa's maiden name was Garland - and indeed she was a cousin of Ann Garland's - Miss Ann, as Elizabeth Keckley called her. Mrs. Longstreet even appears in the book. But Keckley reports that Mrs. Longstreet told her that Keckley knew her before as "Betty Garland". I guess that can't be true, what do you think? Maria Louisa was known as Louise, but not as "Betty"?!
I was inclined to believe everything Keckley told in her book, but that episode made me think twice...
"In the fall of 1865 a lady called on me at my apartments in Washington. Her face looked familiar, but I could not place her. When I entered the room, she came towards me eagerly:
"You are surprised to see me, I know. I am
just from Lynchburg, and when I left cousin Ann I promised to call and see you if I came to Washington. I am here, you see, according to promise."
I was more bewildered than ever.
"Cousin Ann! Pardon me--"
"Oh, I see you do not recognize me. I am Mrs. General Longstreet, but you knew me when a girl as Bettie Garland."
"Bettie Garland! And is this indeed you? I am so glad to see you. Where does Miss Ann live now?" I always called my last mistress, Miss Ann.
[...]
"I should be delighted to go to them. Miss Bettie, I can hardly realize that you are the wife of General Longstreet.; and just think, you are now sitting in the very chair and the very room where Mrs. Lincoln has often sat!"
She laughed: "The change is a great one, Lizzie; we little dream to-day what to-morrow will bring forth. Well, we must take a philosophical view of life. After fighting so long against the Yankees, General Longstreet is now in Washington, sueing for pardon, and we propose to live in peace with the United States again."

https://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/keckley/keckley.html
 

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But Keckley reports that Mrs. Longstreet told her that Keckley knew her before as "Betty Garland". I guess that can't be true, what do you think? Maria Louisa was known as Louise, but not as "Betty"?!
I have never read anything that referenced Maria Louisa Longstreet as Betty. I have read some interesting tidbits about Elizabeth's connection to Ann Garland. Ann's Find-a-Grave memorial states that Elizabeth was her half sister. I've read that in 1842 or 1843 the Garlands were loaned two of her mother's slaves, the future Mrs Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, and her son George. I have also read that Hugh and Ann Burwell Garland, legally owned Elizabeth and her son. Both versions agree that Elizabeth Keckley was allowed to purchase her and her son's freedom for $1200. Did the book clarify any of this Andrea?
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Keckley's book is a little infuriating to read, really, when she speaks of having to buy her own freedom and that of her elderly mother and son. By the time she achieved it, friends had gotten involved too- what a long, frustrating and arduous process! The family was loathe to give up someone as potentially lucrative as Elizabeth.

Someone cautioned me against believing 100% of this incredible woman's book and not for any reason necessarily deliberately devious on Keckley's part. There are parts I flatly disbelieve and just, plain couldn't figure out- the parts which shattered her friendship with Mary Lincoln. To get the book published Keckley had to revise it- I'm not sure I'd have done the same thing and in fact can say I wouldn't but did not go through Keckley's experiences. I'm not the best person to remain subjective though, not being exactly patient with we girls and our unfortunate tendency to host feeding frenzy banquets over the reputational corpses of other women.
 
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