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During the stress of the Civil War, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln found solace in a close relationship with her black seamstree Elizabeth Keckley. A former slave, Keckley had bought her freedom in 1855 and built a thriving clothing business in Washington. She won the job as Mrs. Lincoln's personal dressmaker in 1861, and soon became a fixture in the inner circle of the White House. She was one of the few who could calm Lincoln's nerves.


Wedding day photograph of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd taken November 4, 1842 in Springfield, Illinois after three years of a stormy courtship and a broken engagement.