Emily Mattie Lou O’Kelley (1908-1989) was born in Georgia and grew up on a farm in the rural community of Maysville, the seventh of eight children. As a girl, she helped around the house and farm, quilting blankets and canning vegetables, among other chores. Mattie attended school only to the ninth grade because she was needed at home. She never married, and lived a quiet, reclusive life after the death of her parents. She worked at a variety of jobs: a seamstress, a cafeteria cook, and later a worker in a mop yarn mill. At the age of 50, Mattie retired from the mill and four years later ordered canvas and oils from the Sears and Roebuck Catalog. Her paintings brought her both national and international recognition. Her subjects center on the life she lived and commemorate the nostalgic scenes of her childhood.