Martha Ballard's Diary
In 1785 Martha Ballard began the diary that she would keep for the next 27 years, until her death. At a time when fewer than half the women in America were literate, Ballard faithfully recorded the weather, her daily household tasks, her midwifery duties (she delivered close to a thousand babies), her medical practice and countless incidents that reveal the turmoil of a new nation -- dizzying social change, intense religious conflict, economic boom and bust -- as well as the grim realities of disease, domestic violence, and debtor's prison.
Follow these links to photographs of Martha Ballard's diary. You can view the diary in its entirety at DoHistory, (http://www.dohistory.org) a site dedicated to the story of Martha Ballard and the process of exploring history through the use of primary sources.