Daughter of Boston: The Extraordinary Diary of a Nineteenth-century Woman, Caroline Healey Dall

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Beacon Press, 2006 - 452 pages
The vivid diary of a transcendentalist, early feminist, and writer—a female Samuel Pepys

In nineteenth-century Boston, amidst the popular lecturing of Ralph Waldo Emerson and the discussion groups led by Margaret Fuller, sat a remarkable young woman, Caroline Healey Dall (1822–1912): transcendentalist, early feminist, writer, reformer, and, perhaps most importantly, active diarist. During the seventy-five years that Dall kept a diary, she captured all the fascinating details of her sometimes agonizing personal life, and she also wrote about all the major figures who surrounded her. Her diary, filling forty-five volumes, is perhaps the longest running diary ever written by any American and the most complete account of a nineteenth-century woman’s life.

In Daughter of Boston, scholar Helen Deese has painstakingly combed through these diaries and created a single fascinating volume of Dall’s observations, judgments, descriptions, and reactions.

“Deese’s selections from the journals reveal Dall’s brilliant mind, her ready wit, and her deep understanding of the currents of change that swept the country during its first century of nationhood.” —Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters

“Daughter of Boston is a major act of recovery, an important and even a timely work, restoring to us the full and satisfying presence of an extraordinary, active, strong and controversial woman of letters.” —Robert D. Richardson, author of Emerson: The Mind on Fire

“Daughter of Boston provides a fascinating glimpse into a woman’s life in nineteenth-century New England.” —Anne E. Stein, Chicago Tribune

“Anyone who has contemplated the conundrum of the glass ceiling that challenges contemporary women would do well to read this excerpted diary of social reformer Caroline Healey Dall for its reflection upon the conflicts that women faced a century and a half ago . . . An illuminating record of the controversies that continue to rankle American society today.” —Nancy Rubin Stuart, ForeWord Magazine

Helen R. Deese is the Caroline Healey Dall editor for the Massachusetts Historical Society. She lives in Flint and Ann Arbor, Michigan.
 

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Contents

Aspiring to Something Noble March 19 1838April 271840
1
The Transcendentalist Circle August 7 1840November 41841
17
From Heiress Apparent to Independent Woman November 10 1841September 81842
33
To the South and Back September IO1842April 101844
58
The Ministers Wife September 24 1844March 151847
79
The Needham Years June3 1847December 301849
92
A City Simmers March 24 1850April 281851
121
A Yankee in Canada May 8 1851Sept 21853
143
In Search of a New Identity October 22 1854November 251857
218
Womans Rights Woman January 6 1858February 19 1861
247
Wars Public and Private April 14 1861September 9 1865
300
EPILOGUE
348
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
350
NOTES
353
INDEX
411
Copyright

Tribulations October 10 1853October 17 1854
172

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About the author (2006)

Helen R. Deese is the Caroline Healey Dall editor for the Massachusetts Historical Society. She lives in Flint and Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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