Think stress and over-scheduling are products of modern society? Wrong. Check out this excerpt from the diary of a farm wife on Long Island in the late 1760s:
[January 7] Saterday. A fine clear and still morning with white frost on the ground but soone clouds over. Some hail but soone turns to a small rain and [struck out: hail] mist. Sister gone home. Evening. O, I am tired almost to death waiteing on visseters.My feet ach as if the bones was laid bare. Not one day’s rest have I had this weeke. I have no time to take care of my cloths or even to think my [ ] thoughts. Did ever poore creeture [ ]ch a life before. Oh, that the Lord [ ]ose the peapel to stay at [ ].
(The Coopers lived in Oyster Bay and in addition to farming unofficially provided rooms and meals for travelers on the busy commercial road to New York City.)
For more first-person historical resources like Mary Cooper’s diary, visit the annotated collections of primary sources made available by the National Humanities Center. Each collection’s main page also has a series of framing questions and discussion guides that teachers can use to direct in-class reading and dialogue. Hat tip to Gringa of the Barrio for introducing me to this wonderful resource!
The featured image is a detail of a 1778 map of Oyster Bay and Huntington Bay on Long Island’s north shore from the New York Public Library‘s digital collections.
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