A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (Vintage Books)

A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (Vintage Books)Until recent times, not many people would have recognized the name Martha Ballard as a name of historical significance Though relatively unknown by the masses, most scholars agree that her written diary profoundly contributed to current knowledge of early New England women s lives, especially those in the field of midwifery It was the great effort of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in her Pulitzer Prize winning book, A Midwife s Tale The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785 1812, which uncovered the knowledge that illuminated the life and significance of women and midwives during the late seventeen hundreds and early eighteen hundreds Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is a professor at Harvard University and is a widely known author of books concerning early New England life She was also the winner of the Bancroft Prize, the Joan Kelly and John H Dunning Prizes of the American Historical Association, and Winner of the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women Book Prize The diary of Martha Ballard is important because as Ulrich says, By restoring a lost substructure of eighteenth century life, it transforms the nature of the evidence upon which much of the history of the period has been written p 27 Women of the late seventeen hundreds and early eighteen hundreds held an undoubtedly vital and important place in history Though official documents did not include details concerning women s contributions, the diary of Martha Ballard gave a consistent and relatively thorough insight to the contributions made by women and midwives She was a woman who moved to Hallowell, Maine with her husband, who was a surveyor The profession of midwifery was one that many women held during that time because giving birth was a social event Ulrich s research revealed that younger women were also present during births and it was not until Martha moved to Hallowell that she was considered an experienced enough woman to hold that official position Though she held the title of midwife, her job was much encompassing than birthing babies In the words of Ulrich, She was simultaneously a midwife, nurse, physician, mortician, pharmacist, and attentive wife p 40 Martha Ballard farmed herbs for salves, teas, and poultices She administered these remedies as they were needed on men and children in addition to the women she served She was also instrumental in assisting her husband with the upkeep of their property and in transforming crops such as flax seed into cloth to sell The writings in her diary simply elaborated some of the hard work that many women of the time did in order to help their families survive.Ultimately, A Midwife s Tale The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785 1812, written by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, was an extremely interesting book containing much insight into how women carried on during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries I liked the book because it showed a human and thoughtful side to life that included daily details such as the weather, family problems, and how communities dealt with them together I specifically liked the references to the medicines that she created One of the downsides to the book was trying to read Ballard s entries Though Ulrich changed much of the wording in order to make it understandable, the misspellings were still a great barrier Anyone interested in studying women s history, midwifery, or daily life in early New England times will enjoy this book immensely A Midwife s Tale The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785 1812 is a very important work that bridges the gap between ordinary historical accounts and the real life accounts of women experiencing late eighteenth and early nineteenth century life. Though seemingly aimed at an audience who eat up popular history like its cake, Thatcher s book is well researched and obviously the child of a social historian It may actually be in its favour to be so accessible by those that don t live in the same world as Thatcher in terms of gaining understanding of it and the implications Thatcher s work holds for both gender and medical history While some parts are questionable in terms of putting thoughts on the person of Mrs Martha Ballard, A Midwife s Tale helps stitch together gender history and medical history in her social history of late 18th and early 19th century New England Ultimately, this is a book that should be read by anyone endeavouring to study medical history or gender history The life surrounding Martha Ballard encapsulates the problems and tribulations as experienced by women helping settle at the time a frontier that seemed so foreign As such tension between gender role and necessity, especially in light of changing medical opinion concerning the involvement of women are exemplified in Martha Ballard s life. I kept journals fairly religiously while I was in high school They are so full of rampant sentimentality i.e boy craziness that reading them now makes me want to fetch the lighter fluid and matches straightaway Martha Ballard avoided this problem neatly by keeping her entries brief, factual and largely devoid of emotion or interpretation She kept careful track of her work as a midwife, her gardening and household chores, and the comings and goings of friends, family, and neighbors basically, the daily happenings in her life Consequently, her diary of 1785 1812 was long dismissed as not of general interest and trivial and unimportant by historians Ulrich, however, chose to take another look, and the result is A Midwife s Tale, winner of the Pulitzer Prize On its most basic level, this book is a fascinating look at life in Maine in the decades following the American Revolution Each chapter uses a passage from Martha s diary to explore a specific topic midwifery, the religious environment, the legal system, the role of women, marriage, and so on History buffs will certainly enjoy this glimpse into day to day life in Martha s time and place.On another level, however, this book is a detective story The format of the book each chapter is an excerpt from the diary, followed by Ulrich s commentary allows us a glimpse into the brilliant detective work that Ulrich undertook to craft this book Take, for example, the sentence, Was Calld in at Mrs Husseys To a casual reader, Martha simply visited her friend Mrs Hussey, nothing Ulrich knows better Throughout the diary, Martha speaks of going to Mr Bullins or Capt Coxes or Mr Goodins In Martha s world, houses belong to men So why refer to the house as belonging to Mrs Hussey Ulrich can tell you why and she does, in the Introduction, so you don t have to read far , and she tells you how she came to her conclusion so that we can share in the feeling of discovery I enjoyed Ulrich s writing style It was scholarly lots of footnotes, for you footnote lovers , but readable and laced with humor I did find it impossible to keep track of all the people in the book Martha did know most of the people in town after all Ulrich warns her readers in the Introduction that this can happen and that it shouldn t really matter , but it made my head spin nonetheless In spite of this very, very minor annoyance, I quite enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all history lovers. An interesting account of one woman s day to life in the late 1700 s to early 1800 s in New England. I am so thankful to live in the age of modern medicine Martha Ballard was a caring, talented midwife who helped to deliver hundreds of babies She also nursed neighbors through their illnesses and prepared the dead for burial She had a strong faith in a sovereign God which gave her much comfort in the many trials she encountered.Ulrich weaves a tapestry of the social, political, economic, familial, religious, medical ways of Martha s day along with her journal of the every day work she faithfully performed.I was fascinated.2018 A biography The topic of the book is Martha Ballard and how she represented women in late 18th century America It focuses on the role of midwives, women in the home, in a market economy, sexual relations of the time period, family hierarchy and structure, a women s place in society as a whole The book is an analysis of her life and her work It is represented as a true eulogy to early American women and their often unrecorded lives The story takes place in the town of Hallowell along the Kennebec River in Massachusetts, what is now Augusta, Maine It covers the time period from 1785 1812 with an epilogue detailing Martha s descendants actions pertaining to her diary This time period was from when Martha Ballard moved to Hallowell from Oxford, MA until her death in 1812 The central argument is that women in late 18th century America, while often over looked, played a major role in all aspects of society In fact each chapter of the book focuses on a different aspect of Martha Ballard s impact on her surroundings These individual themes include women s impact on the local economy, the definition of women s work, women s influence on local politics, the nature of sexual relations at the time, the nature of childbirth, the nature of marriage and family interdependence, how women coped with local and often intimate scandals, and how the role of women was changing during the time period The author concludes that women had significant influence in several areas of local life including the market economy, medicine, and childbirth These different aspects of the diary combine to tell the tale of the American women at the turn of the 19th century The primary source for the analysis was the diary of Martha Ballard However, the author, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, cross references the diary with documents from the time period These documents include court transcripts, prison logs, land records, wills and testimonies, newspapers, sermons, census records, town records, maps, and other diaries This detailed work of scholarship let Ulrich piece together much of the story about the surrounding area than the diary alone would have allowed her The thesis is very well constructed I believe that Ulrich s argument is foolproof Women most certainly had a crucial, if often unrecorded effect on society and daily life The close look at the experiences of Martha Ballard was extremely enlightening I especially found the nature of the market economy of the time to be captivating Women often had an entire economic structure all their own The author s separation of topics and themes by chapter also was useful as it allowed a segmented and detailed study of the different topics Her cross referencing of the diary with other sources paints a broader picture of the time period and allows certain of Martha s sometimes mundane or unnoticed comments to stand out The book was informative as to the nature of family and sexual relationships and also neighbor and town associations As a whole it explained the role of women during the time period extremely well The book itself is rather boring but for anyone interested in the topic it is an excellent piece of scholarship. This was a unique read So each chapter starts with a section of Martha Ballard s diary She was a real person who lived in Maine and worked as a midwife there The diary covers her day to day notes between 1785 1812 Women s journals from this time period are not at all common to have been preserved to modern day, but her family descendants preserved her writings all these years, and thank goodness they did Her journal tells us much about life at that time and place, as well as medicine at the time If you ever think your life is boring and you have nothing to write in your journal, this book will show you that even a record of the mundane details will probably be of interest to people hundreds of years later Life was tough for women then, but in different ways Keeping a house and garden was an endless chore Illness and discomfort were prevalent Some perks were that, in Martha s case at least, neighbors lives were very intertwined and synergistic Also, her strong faith in God s goodness helped her remain steady thought she saw lots of tragedies, illness, and adversity On the downside for women It was a little shocking how women who were raped were shamed into silence Martha herself told a women who claimed she d been raped never to tell anyone about it Eek I found the loose sexual morality of the time period a little surprising I was expecting something Puritan and chaste, but it turns out, Martha attended quite a few deliveries for unwed mothers, which weren t considered scandalous as long as a wedding soon followed.From an editing point of view, there were a few times when I would have advised the author to move things around For example, the author will mention something several times without explaining it, and only explain it much later in the book Like the reason Martha is paid different sums for different deliveries, mentioned often but not explained until the 3rd chapter I think Also, the book is written like a scholarly historical paper rather than a readable novel, so it could be a little dry for some readers who aren t used to that style But kudos to the author for wading through all those years of journal entries and sharing the most relevant bits That must have been a monumental task. This book is a labor of love Laurel Ulrich Thatcher who is LDS, incidentally sifted through thousands of journal entries period documents to reconstruct the life of Martha Ballard a woman history forgot The result is stunning You get to know, intimately, what life was like for an average American woman in the late 18th early 19th C This is not idealized portrayal, just wonderfully realistic.And of course, the reason I first picked this book up is that I m obsessed with midwifery and care of women BY women I was curious what the community of women at that time was like, and if it was really all I d imagined it to be Their relationships were complex and rewarding just like today.I highly recommend this book When I read the simple statement from her diary How great is my toil I felt an instant kinship with this woman You will fall in love with Martha, this nondescript woman who did nothing remarkable but live her life, one day at a time A man works from sun to sun, but a woman s work is never done Martha Moore was born in 1735 in the town of Oxford, MA She married Ephraim Ballard in 1754 and gave birth to nine children, lost three of them to diphtheria and eventually died in Maine, in 1812 at the age of 77 Between 1785 and 1812, Martha Ballard kept a diary Without it her life would ve been just a succession of born and died dates in some town registry We would know nothing about her We would not know she was a midwife That she delivered 816 babies during that time period with a higher living birth rate than some countries today She kept an exhaustive record of her travels from house to house, helping not just the pregnant women but the sick and afflicted, her daily accounts of the weather, and her business dealings We hear of her gardening, her cooking, the washing, and the spinning of wool to sell As she ages, we feel the effects of time as she complains of being tired and not well, but still she works, delivering babies, battling prejudice from male doctors, handling religious squabbles, dealing with armed settlers, and most especially loneliness when her husband is kept in debtor s prison for over a year Such trivia would ve been all but ignored but for Ulrich, who looked between the lines and found a heart felt story within a story that won a Pulitzer By uncovering the subplots of Martha s daily life, from someone s hasty marriage, lingering labor, or sojourn to jail, she revealed a grander hidden picture of eighteenth century social history I found this book to be fascinating, and I can t believe I ve never read it before What women had to go through just amazes me So many of their children died and yet these women persevered And the medical practices, I just couldn t believe what they used for remedies, and yet I found their return to a simpler time somehow comforting Everything was much less complicated back then Martha did really well for herself She made her own money and took care of her and her own families needs, as well as countless of her neighbors She did not sit idly back and let history write her off She wrote her own What would ve been lost if she hadn t A treasure For anybody that likes history, this is an excellent read. Amazing Books, A Midwife S Tale The Life Of Martha Ballard, Based On Her Diary, 1785 1812 Vintage Books By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book A Midwife S Tale The Life Of Martha Ballard, Based On Her Diary, 1785 1812 Vintage Books , Essay By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You

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[Reading] ➰ A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (Vintage Books) ➸ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich – Ultimatetrout.info
  • Paperback
  • 444 pages
  • A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (Vintage Books)
  • Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
  • English
  • 23 March 2019
  • 9780679733768

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