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.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.
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 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.