J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Exploring Mehetabel Coit’s Diary, 6 Feb.

If it’s sounding like there are lots of historical events in greater Boston at the beginning of February, that’s because there are. I guess we like to take advantage of the good weather. Here’s another.

On Wednesday, 6 February, at 6:00 P.M., the New England Historic Genealogical Society will host a talk by Michelle Marchetti Coughlin on her new book, One Colonial Woman’s World: The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit, published by the University of Massachusetts Press:
Mehetabel Coit (1673-1758) is the author of what may be the earliest surviving diary by an American woman. A native of Roxbury, Massachusetts, who later moved to Connecticut, Mehetabel began her diary at the age of fifteen and kept it intermittently until she was well into her seventies.

A previously overlooked resource, the diary contains entries on a broad range of topics as well as poems, recipes, folk and herbal medical remedies, religious meditations, and financial accounts. An extensive collection of letters by Mehetabel and her female relatives has also survived, shedding further light on her experiences. Mehetabel’s long life covered an eventful period in American history, and this book explores the numerous—and sometimes surprising—ways in which her personal history was linked to broader social and political developments.
The lecture will be followed by a book signing for a total of about ninety minutes. This event is free and open to the public. The N.E.H.G.S. is at 99-101 Newbury Street in Boston.

The website for Coughlin’s book lists a number of other venues where she’s speaking in the upcoming weeks and months.

For people especially interested in women’s experiences and how they related them, I’ll add a pointer to In the Words of Women, a blog based on a recent book of the same name by Louise V. North, Janet M. Wedge, and Landa M. Freeman. Every entry is about a diary, letter, or other writing by a woman during America’s Revolutionary era.


janet said...

Thank you for the mention of the blog "In the Words of Women."

J. L. Bell said...

I subscribe to In the Words of Women, but I usually highlight interesting posts on my Twitter feed rather than here. So I grabbed the opening to mention the site here.