[Norwich, Vermont]: 1882-1912. Comprised of a total of 1,339 pages in the hand of Sarah Sargent, all in pencil. Set of 10 Standard Diary Company cloth and leather bound diaries in varying sizes; each containing almanacs and calendars for the year bound at front and space for accounts and memoranda at rear. With a total of 26 itemized and handwritten receipts for purchases made at Child & Leavitt Grocers inserted in rear pockets. An exceptional account of women’s day-to-day living in a rural American community leading up to WWI and revealing the diverse responsibilities taken on by women in and out of the home.
A committed diarist, Sarah’s journals from 1882-1912 detail three decades in the life of a rural woman as the centuries turned and the First World War approached. Sarah provides daily information about the weather and her health; and she reports on visiting neighbors and family members, the letters she receives, and the births and deaths of those important to her. Within her own home, Sarah documents the types of meals she cooks, particularly on holidays, and at the back of each journal she keeps meticulous records of money spent on food and clothing for herself and her family. Notably, she also documents the type of employment she takes on to support her family financially, remarking on her progress at rug-making, needlepoint for pillows to sell, and jotting down measurements and costs for her work as a seamstress. Her 1911 and 1912 diaries contain a trove of 26 handwritten, itemized receipts from local grocer Child & Leavitt, providing even more evidence of the materials she purchased for labor in and out of the home.
A unique glimpse into one woman’s life across 30 years. This archive of journals further provides valuable insight into the labor girls and women did in and beyond the home at the turn of the century. Providing research opportunities into topics including but not limited to women’s early employment, fashion and clothing, cookery and domestic economics, genealogy, religious history and practice, and familial relationships in small rural communities. (Item #1990)