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A Hairdresser's Experience in High Life - North Carolina Scholarship Online
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A Hairdresser's Experience in High Life

Eliza Potter and Xiomara Santamarina


This book represents a landmark in early African American literature: Eliza Potter's 1859 autobiography. Potter was a freeborn black woman who, as a hairdresser, was in a unique position to hear about, receive confidences from, and observe wealthy white women—and she recorded it all in a revelatory book that delighted Cincinnati's gossip columnists at the time. But more important is Potter's portrait of herself as a wage-earning woman, proud of her work, who earned high pay and accumulated quite a bit of money as one of the nation's earliest “beauticians” at a time when most black women worked ... More

Keywords: African American literature, hairdresser, Cincinnati, black women, elite white women, class structure, working-class status

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780807833353
Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014 DOI:10.5149/9780807898666_potter


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Eliza Potter, author

Xiomara Santamarina, editor