Learning about the History of Women's Work through Diaries

Decent Essays
A woman’s work in eighteenth and even nineteenth century can be described by a familiar proverb – a woman’s work is never done. Nowadays, we have a chance to get acquainted with their lifestyles due to the diaries that some of these women wrote during their lives. A number of scientific researchers are based on these dairy’s entries. Even when there is not much information about women’s work on early America, Martha Ballard’s diary is a valuable source for such a study. She recorded her arduous work and domestic life with homemade ink, in Maine between 1785 and 1812. She was fifty years old when she began writing her diary on January 1st, 1785. During this period of history, Americans were attempting to build a new nation. The ratification of the Constitution in 1780, gave them enough stability to expand their manufacturing, trade and farming. One of such diaries that was written by Martha Ballard. She described there her everyday life, her duties and her attitude toward women’s work. Martha Ballard’s diary is a remarkably valuable source for the study of women’s life at those times. Detailed daily entries for more than twenty-seven years not only document the full range of one woman’s economic activities from maturity to old age but tell much about the lives of the young women who assisted her. These “girls” (she used the same collective term for them all) included her daughters Hannah and Dolly; her nieces Pamela, Parthena, and Clarissa Barton; and a succession of hired
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