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A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary,… (1990)

by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Martha Ballard (Author)

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1,886326,581 (4.07)106
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE Drawing on the diaries of one woman in eighteenth-century Maine, this intimate history illuminates the medical practices, household economies, religious rivalries, and sexual mores of the New England frontier. Between 1785 and 1812 a midwife and healer named Martha Ballard kept a diary that recorded her arduous work (in 27 years she attended 816 births) as well as her domestic life in Hallowell, Maine. On the basis of that diary, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich gives us an intimate and densely imagined portrait, not only of the industrious and reticent Martha Ballard but of her society. At once lively and impeccably scholarly, A Midwife's Tale is a triumph of history on a human scale.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
An interesting book dealing with the life of a woman in the late 1700s, and early 1800s. It adds a great deal of context to history. ( )
  Velmeran | Jan 26, 2019 |
Sometimes I need more than 5 stars to review a book, this is one. Fascinating book revealing life on the edge at the beginning of white America. Every day every action, every death, every birth, every sickness, all for the good Lord willing it or allowing it. What a hard life they lived. Every step they took was basically fraught with peril - having a baby could easily mean death, crossing thru the woods to your neighbors house could result in a fall and death... ( )
  marshapetry | Nov 20, 2018 |
The life of Martha Ballard, based on her diary
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
An intimate look at the life of a 18th-century midwife, healer, housewife, and mother in rural Maine. Drawing on the seemingly bare diary entries of Martha Ballard, Ulrich paints an honest and vivid picture of the work of women throughout a period in history when they were considered unremarkable and their influence was often overlooked. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
Excellent use of a rare diary of a woman, a self-described "gadder" — a woman who leaves home frequently to interact with neighbors — and a woman whose medical work impinged on the very separate world of men. The writing is fluid and fascinating, neither pedantic nor glib; Ms. Ulrich offers questions where questions are all we can have and suggests possibilities where she has support from within Ballard's diary or from other sources. Her footnotes are great, and support rather than interfere with the text if you're a reader who prefers to read the entire chapter/ book and then look at attributions, explanations, etc. I really enjoyed this book, and learned a lot from it. ( )
  NatalieSW | Aug 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurel Thatcher Ulrichprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ballard, MarthaAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Eight months of the year Hallowell, Maine, was a seaport.
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WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE Drawing on the diaries of one woman in eighteenth-century Maine, this intimate history illuminates the medical practices, household economies, religious rivalries, and sexual mores of the New England frontier. Between 1785 and 1812 a midwife and healer named Martha Ballard kept a diary that recorded her arduous work (in 27 years she attended 816 births) as well as her domestic life in Hallowell, Maine. On the basis of that diary, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich gives us an intimate and densely imagined portrait, not only of the industrious and reticent Martha Ballard but of her society. At once lively and impeccably scholarly, A Midwife's Tale is a triumph of history on a human scale.

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