Ballard, Martha - Research Article from Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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Ballard, Martha

Excerpt from A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based
on Her Diary, 1785–1812

Written by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, 1990

For twenty-seven years, Martha Ballard kept a diary, from 1785 until her death in 1812. Ballard served as a midwife, a woman experienced in helping the birthing process of other women, and primary health-care giver for the pioneering community of Hallowell, Maine. During that time, she delivered 816 babies and treated countless ailing residents. Ballard was not only a midwife and nurse but an herbalist, pharmacist, mortician, wife, mother, and grandmother. In her diary, she recorded the daily weather and the household activities she participated in, including planting a garden, spinning yarn, weaving cloth, quilting, knitting, preparing foods, and brewing beer. She recorded the names of visitors at the Ballard home each day and all the visits she made to other homes. Amid all these regular occurrences, she recounted...

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This section contains 3,752 words
(approx. 13 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Ballard, Martha Encyclopedia Article
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Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library
Ballard, Martha from Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library. ©2005-2006 by U•X•L. U•X•L is an imprint of Thomson Gale, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. All rights reserved.