Twenty-four-year-old Katy Leary was hired by Samuel Clemens (better known as author Mark Twain) and his family in 1880, and for the next 30 years she worked as their seamstress, nursemaid, nanny, and lady's maid. According to Clemens family friend and author Mary Lawton, Leary "seemed so a part of the household–so vital and yet so unobtrusively a factor in the life of the family." Clemens himself wrote about Katy, "Fidelity, truthfulness, courage, magnanimity, personal dignity, a pole-star for steadiness–these were her equipment, along with a heart of Irish warmth, [and] quick Irish wit…"
When Katy was 70 years old–after the death of Mark Twain, his wife Olivia, and two of their three daughters, leaving daughter Clara to care for her father's literary estate–Ms. Leary sat down with Mary Lawton, a lifelong friend of Clara Clemens, and recounted her experiences with the family.