Eliza Potter

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Eliza Potter (born 1820) was an African-American hairdresser in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1859 she published her autobiography, A Hairdresser's Experience In High Life.[1]

Potter, a free black woman of mixed race grew up in New York. Upon marriage she moved to Philadelphia and gave birth to two children. According to her memoir, she left her marital home to go "roving". She traveled widely, including in Europe, and learned her trade. [2] Potter's autobiography provides an intimate glimpse of the experiences of a mixed-race beautician at the hands of her white employers in Cincinnati. She also travelled widely, and recorded the various social customs of New York, Saratoga, Canada, Paris and London.[1]


  1. ^ a b Olson, Debbie Clare (2006). "Potter, Eliza (1820-?)". In Elizabeth Ann Beaulieu. Writing African American Women: An Encyclopedia of Literature by and about Women of Color. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 724–5. ISBN 0-313-33197-9. 
  2. ^ A Hairdresser's Experience in High Life Edited and with an Introduction by Xiomara Santamarina UNC Press, 2009.