A Midwife's Tale, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

[asa book]0679733760[/asa] A book I consult on a regular basis is Martha Ballard’s diary, by means of the wonderful and important study written by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Whenever I fear that I’m losing focus in the novel at hand, Martha reminds me that people were living their lives behind the scenes, mostly untouched by the war and whatever things of great moment might have been happening elsewhere. In February of 1810 she wrote in her diary:

Clear. I have washt, done hous wk and knit. mr Petengail took [ ] our Cow for Taxes. what we are to do God only knows.

In 1812, in the same week:

Cloudy, raind at Evng. I was Calld by Levy Cowen to go and See his wife in Labour. Shee was Safe deld at 4h am of a Son which Expired at 5. Shee had a fall not long Since which probably was the Cause. Hannah & Nabby wint to hear mr Tappin this day & Evng.

The whole diary is available at this website, where you can explore materials about Martha’s life and world. It never fails to amaze and teach me something.

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