Elizabeth Keckly, Modiste to Mary Todd Lincoln
Elizabeth Keckly was born into slavery as Elizabeth Hobbs in 1818 in Dinwiddie County to Agnes (“Aggy”) Hobbs, who had taken the last name of her enslaved husband, George Hobbs. Aggy was a slave in the household of Armistead and Mary Burwell, and Lizzie, as she was called, later learned from her mother that Armistead Burwell was her biological father. George Hobbs, who lived on an adjoining farm, subsequently moved away with his owners, and so the members of the family were separated.
Editor’s note: Want to learn more about the African American experience from the arrival of the first Africans in 1619 to present day? Mark your calendar for the Determined: The 400-year Struggle for Black Equality exhibition.