Introduction - A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich margin at the left of her page where she entered the day of the month. Soon she added a second column for the day of the week. By the end of she had added a right-hand margin where she summarized each day's events.
Martha Moore was born in in the small town of Oxford, Massachusetts, to a well-educated family.
She married Ephraim Ballard in and had her first child, Cyrus, two years later. She quickly had five more children—four daughters and one more son—but lost three of the girls to a diphtheria epidemic in That same year, she gave birth to her fifth daughter, and her sixth followed two years later.
InEphraim traveled to Maine to find a new home for the family, finally settling in Hallowell and taking management of the mill and property owned by a British sympathizer who had fled to Canada. Martha and the children joined Ephraim there in October ofand Martha officially delivered her first child as a midwife in July of She begins writing in her diary on January 1, In August ofMartha describes several events that Midwives tale an overview of the many medically related tasks she is called on to perform, including delivering babies, answering false alarms, preparing bodies for burial, making medical calls, dispensing pills, and harvesting and preparing healing herbs.
Ulrich then gives an overview of homeopathic remedies of the time and the relationship between local healers and physicians. In September ofMartha talks about the goods she and her daughters trade with local women and the help her daughters give her with the housework, particularly the weaving.
She also talks about being questioned when one of these new neighbors accuses a public official of rape. Ulrich offers a fuller historical account of the case and its participants. Ulrich then describes traditional marriage practices in those days, including simple, work-intensive weddings and the fact that couples lived apart until they were able to set up a household.
Ulrich then discusses the histories and results of other paternity suits from that time period.
In November and December ofMartha describes several complication-free deliveries she performs in the quiet period following the weddings. In November of that year, Martha recounts that a band of armed men had attacked her husband while he attempted to complete a survey job.
Ulrich adds further explanation, saying that poor settlers often saw surveyors as agents of richer men who were trying to take away the land that the settlers felt they had won for themselves.
Grandchildren are now old enough to help her with the housework, and the number of deliveries she attends has increased dramatically. Martha attends several deliveries early inbut the stress makes her ill, and her last entry describes the family and preacher gathering at her house on May 7.
She dies a few weeks later. Mary treasures the diary but gives it to the Maine State Library in so that it might be more accessible to historians.Jan 19, · Title: A Midwife's Tale (19 Jan ) / Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site?
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Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (born July 11, ) is an American historian of early America and the history of women and a professor at Harvard University.
Her approach to history has been described as a tribute to "the silent work of ordinary people"—an approach that, in her words, aims to "show the interconnection between public events and private experience.".
A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, Summary & Study Guide includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis, quotes, character descriptions, themes, and more. A Midwife’s Tale is a biography by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich that was first published in