A midwifes tale paper

A midwifes tale paper - Section 24 Image being in a place...

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Section 24 Image being in a place where you were forced to do whatever someone else told you to do. It felt as if you were slave except you were allowed to leave the house on occasion. Your rights and freedom were nonexistent and yet there was nothing you could do about it. This is what women experienced everyday during the 18 th century. Women had little to no power during this time, and not all women were able to write. Many did not have the time or see the need to write their daily or even significant events down on paper. This makes it difficult for historians looking back on this time period to see what everyday life was truly like since such little documentation was left behind by women. This leaves the task to historians to piece together multiple sources in order to get a larger, broader view of life during the 18 th century. Yet there are still blank spots left in the documents and certain events are left up for interpretation by the historian. Meaningless information to one historian can be significant to another. That is why it is so important to take the time and use cross references when looking into the lives of a certain group of people. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich took the time and even looked into a source that many historians saw as being useless. Martha Ballard’s diary opened up the world of a small town located in Maine during the 18 th century to Ulrich that many historians saw as just being a diary full of pointless daily entries that said a whole lot of nothing. Ulrich used this dairy to write her own book A Midwife’s Tale, The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 . Ulrich was able to show these daily entries as being more that just pointless entries but the life of a midwife and how she helped the small town of Hallowell. Laurel Ulrich uses Martha Ballard’s diary as the main source of the book and many excerpts of Martha’s diary are in the book yet there were many gaps left from the
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diary that needed to be filled by other sources. This required much research on Ulrich’s part to find any other documents from the Hallowell area at that time period. She was able to locate legal documents that showed marriages and ownership of land. She also used many maps some of which were drawn up by Ephraim who was Martha’s husband. These were important because they were able to show where other families were living and what obstacles faced Martha when she was required to travel on cold nights to deliver a baby. Ulrich also used censuses from the time period to show the size of the town as well as the size of families Martha helped. These censuses also helped give an idea of how well off these families were when it came to paying Martha for her services. Some were able to give livestock as payment where others could only manage payments
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2008 for the course HIST 221 taught by Professor Thatonelady during the Spring '07 term at Iowa State.

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A midwifes tale paper - Section 24 Image being in a place...

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