Maid of All Work: The Women Who Worked for the Lincolns

Like most middle-class women of her time, Mary Lincoln relied on hired help to manage her household. These women worked and sometimes lived in her house, cleaning, cooking, and caring for the children alongside her. Who were these women? What were their duties? What was their experience like within the household? What were the Lincolns experiences living and working intimately with a cross-section of society that they might never have encountered otherwise? Drawing on letters, reminiscences, and county records, University of Illinois at Springfield's Sangamon Experience Director and Curator, will examine the nature of domestic service in the Lincoln household in Springfield, Illinois, to attempt to answer these questions. In doing so this program aspires not only to establish a social and cultural context for the Lincolns’ experience but to flesh out the experiences of working-class women who are often on the margins or outright invisible to history.

"Mr. Lincoln gave [me] an extra dollar each week on condition that she would brave whatever storms might arise, and suffer whatever might arise, and suffer whatever might befall her, without complaint.” -Miss. Mary Johnson

Anne E. Moseley is the first Director of Engagement and Curator of the Sangamon Experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) and a Master’s degree in Public History from the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS). Before she began her position at UIS, she was the director and curator of the Lincoln Heritage Museum at Lincoln College. Anne was awarded the Illinois State Historical Society’s Malkovich Award for Young Museum Professional in 2015 for her outstanding contribution to Collections Management and Exhibit development at the Lincoln Heritage Museum. Her research focuses on Lincoln's life in Illinois and the social history of antebellum Illinois. Recently she has been writing a book called A Maid of All Work: the women who worked for the Lincolns. She has published an article for the Sangamon Link, The Lochridge brothers, Pawnee merchants. Moseley currently serves as an advisory board member for the Lincoln Forum, National Association for Interpretation Region 5 member, and a steering council member for the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.

This program will livestream on Looking for Lincoln's Facebook page and YouTube Channel. The event is FREE. Please do not click on any links that take you to pay page. Our free Facebook events will never ask you for a credit card. If you have trouble finding the event, check the main news feed on the page, and do not click on links in the comments. 

Event Information

When: Wednesday, March 1, 2023 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM