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Keckley, Elizabeth Hobbs (1820?–26 May 1907), White House dressmaker during the Lincoln administration and author, was born in Dinwiddie Court House, Virginia, the daughter of George Pleasant and Agnes Hobbs, slaves. Her birth date is variously given from 1818 to 1824 based on different documents that report her age. The identity of her father is also uncertain; in later life Keckley reportedly claimed that her father was her master, Colonel A. Burwell. George Pleasant, who was owned by a different master, was allowed to visit only twice a year and was eventually taken west....

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Randolph, Martha Jefferson (27 September 1772–10 October 1836), lifelong confidante to her father, was born at “Monticello” in Albemarle County, Virginia, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson and Martha Wayles (Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson). After the death of her mother in 1782, Martha Jefferson, known to her father in childhood as “Patsy,” became his most trusted and beloved female companion. Throughout her life she moved in a rarified intellectual and social atmosphere. After spending two years in Philadelphia, in 1784 she and her father moved to Paris, where he served as U.S. minister to France. There she continued the formal education she had begun in Philadelphia by attending the elite Abbaye Royale de Panthémont convent school. Her father maintained an avid interest in her education, frequently writing her letters filled with advice and encouragement; “the more you learn the more I love you,” one of his missives averred. During her years in France Martha Jefferson was also introduced to fashionable society, counting as her friends ...

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Rutledge, Ann (07 January 1813–25 August 1835), a disputed character in Abraham Lincoln's early life, a disputed character in Abraham Lincoln's early life, was born in Kentucky, the third of nine children of James and Mary Ann Miller Rutledge. Her family migrated to southeastern Illinois when she was three years old and then later to central Illinois, where Ann's father cofounded a frontier village, New Salem. She grew to adulthood in a two-room cabin known as the Rutledge Tavern. A loft accommodated farmers in town to have their grain processed at a mill that James Rutledge had also cofounded. Ann and her elder sister helped their mother prepare food for lodgers and others who took meals at the tavern. It was a simple, rustic life and Ann by all accounts enjoyed it with cheerful vigor. Firsthand sources describe her as an excellent housekeeper who had a particular gift for sewing. Her brother Robert reported that she diligently applied herself to studies with the village schoolmaster. Ann Rutledge had dark blue eyes and auburn hair....

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Summersby, Kay (1908–20 January 1975), aide and confidante to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, aide and confidante to General Dwight D. Eisenhower, was born Kathleen Helen McCarthy-Morrogh on the island of Inish Berg, off the coast of county Cork, Ireland, the daughter of a British military officer. After her parents separated, she moved from her father’s estate on Inish Berg to her mother’s home in London. Bright, attractive, and vivacious, Kay attended art and business schools, then found work as a model and an “extra” in motion pictures. In the late 1930s she married Gordon Summersby, a publisher. They had no children and divorced in 1942....