Rachel Ann Lee worked her canvaswork picture at the school operated by the Oblate Sisters of Providence, founded in 1829 under the auspices of the Catholic Church to provide education for African American girls in Baltimore. A variety of needlework skills were taught in regular classes, and an extra hour was reserved at the end of each day for additional study and needlework. Rachel Ann was the daughter of a free laundress, which was by no means a lucrative occupation. Her mother paid two dollars in May 1846 for Rachel Ann’s tuition. Since no other payments are recorded, Rachel may have attended school for only three months.