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Evelina Ames - Diary of a Yankee Housewife

A blog with commentaries by Sarah Ames

The diary that Evelina kept during 1851 and 1852 offers a modest but illuminating window on daily family life in New England in the ten years before the American Civil War, which they will call “The Great Rebellion.” It was a decade that marked the end of much of what had come before. Evelina’s remote, quotidian and predictable life was changing as the railroads moved in, travel became expedited, goods became more accessible and plentiful, and religious thinking was challenged. As far as her personal circumstances are concerned, much more will change for the family in the years ahead than anyone could have imagined on that cold New Year’s day in 1851. Of course, we know this now, looking back with perspective, but Evelina didn’t. She only knew about each day as it happened – which is much of the charm of reading her record.