Online Resoucres For rural life in 1800s New England.
November 2, 2014 11:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for online resources describing daily life and struggles in rural New England in the 1800s, ideally around the mid-century period and in Vermont/New Hampshire. Narratives favored over statistics but non-fiction favored over fiction.
posted by The Whelk to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Farm Life A Century Ago
A Paper Read Upon Several Occasions
by Ethel Stanwood Bolton (1909)
posted by XMLicious at 11:47 AM on November 2, 2014

Neither a narrative nor a list of statistics, but you could check out newspapers from the time through the Library of Congress to get an idea of the real-world stuff on any given day.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:50 PM on November 2, 2014

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's A Midwife's Tale is superb narrative nonfiction, taking place in Maine mostly in the 18th century, but making it into the first decade of the 19th century. Check out PBS's American Experience coverage, too.
posted by kittydelsol at 2:58 PM on November 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

I agree that newspapers would be great, especially from small towns. I love looking at them in my genealogy research.
posted by jgirl at 3:52 PM on November 2, 2014

Seconding Midwife's Tale. Ulrich's book "Good Wives" is a little earlier than your target, but since you're looking rural it would apply into the early 1800s. Paul Johnson's "Shopkeeper's Millenium" is about the Great Awakening, but touches on women's role in it. The latter sections of Mary Beth Norton's "Liberty's Daughters" may also be useful in giving a sense of politics women lived with.
posted by AliceBlue at 5:05 PM on November 2, 2014

Here's a diary kept by a farmer in Vermont.

If you're interested in finding more of this kind of stuff send mefi mail.
posted by mareli at 6:37 PM on November 2, 2014

The good news is that stuff from that time period is really likely to be public domain. The libraries of Vermont are FULL of those sorts of things. You might do well looking at town histories which will give you a lot of details and they're a lot more narrative than you might expect. Here are a few I pulled out

- Sketches of epidemic diseases in the state of Vermont, from its first settlement to ... 1815 (statehood was 1777 so even though there were people there well before then, there's a lot more documentation right around that time)
- Farmer's Almanack for 1867 - the business directory part basically lists every business in VT for 1867
- A murder trial in VT in 1808!
- Autobiography of the first governor of VT (born in 1730)
- Deficiencies in our history - a presentation to the VT Historical society in 1846 looking back on the history of VT at what was unsaid
- Gathered sketches from the early history of New Hampshire and Vermont
containing vivid and interesting account of a great variety of the adventures of our forefathers, and of other incidents of olden times ; original and selected
- probably older than you are looking for but the writing is interesting and it looks fun
- Vermont soldiers from Greensboro who fought in the civil war, their stories.

You can find a bunch more, readable online or downloadable in PDF or text, over at Open Library.
posted by jessamyn at 8:04 PM on November 2, 2014 [4 favorites]

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