|Mary Seacole, on the cover of the original edition of her autobiography Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole , 1857. |
Moving Here catalogue reference (MOL) 2001.60/1
Mary Seacole was one of the very few Black women to publish an account of her life during the 19th century. She was born in 1805, in Jamaica to a Jamaican mother and Scottish father, but lived in London for over 30 years. Most of what we know about her life comes from her autobiography, Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands , which was published in 1857, after she shot to fame following the end of the Crimean war.
Seacole's autobiography does not include many dates, so it is difficult to situate her in particular locations at particular times, but according to her account she first visited England as 'a young woman'. Her most vivid memory of this trip was the efforts of street-boys to poke fun at her complexion and that of her companion. Seacole described herself as 'a little brown', only 'a few shades duskier than the brunettes whom you all admire so much'. Her companion, however, was a darker woman and according to Seacole, 'a fair subject' for the boys.
Creators: T. Caroline A. Bressey