The Diary of Mary Cooper

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.

BulbgraphOnOffUse a video capture tool like Recap for formative assessment: have students describe the readings in their own words, using the Questions for Thought as prompts.

Preview WorldView Software’s programs for free at company logo

Published by


Dr. Annelies Kamran is V.P. for Content and Product Development at WorldView Software, Inc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s