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A Midwife's Tale | Image Gallery

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.

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