September 29, 1852


Wednesday Sept 29th  Mrs Witherell & Ames came in

& helped me about my baking and this

afternoon I have had the sewing circle  Not

one of the Pools here and had but very few

numbers. about a dozen or fifteen including 

my own family at tea  It is a beautiful moon 

light night and they spent part of the evening


With help from her sisters-in-law, Evelina prepared for the arrival of Sewing Circle members. It was a “fair cool day,”* so weather could not deter attendance. In the afternoon, the women came. Well, some came.  “[V]ery few numbers” arrived for the meeting, but at least it wasn’t the zero attendance of her previous gathering. There were enough ladies in the parlor to make the event a success.  Some of the group stayed until after dark, able to find their way home by the light of the moon.

Still, members of the Pool family didn’t show, which vexed Evelina. The Pools were a family she had grown up with in the south-eastern section of town. A Pool daughter, Augusta, had married Evelina’s nephew, Edwin, and now lived nearby. Evelina felt a connection to the family, although it may be that the family did not feel a connection to her. She never mentions Augusta’s mother, Lavarna, for instance, in the roll of ladies who call on her, though she did host the Pool family at tea in January when Augusta and Edwin were married. It’s possible that the Pool women disliked her. Perhaps they were jealous of her social success in marrying Oakes Ames. Your thoughts, readers?


*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Arnold Tofias Collection

3 thoughts on “September 29, 1852

  1. My take is that Evelina is a plain spoken farm woman who has married into what is becoming a very wealthy family and some of her former friends and relations have a hard time coming to grips with that. They probably aren’t jealous per se as much as conflicted.

  2. Yes, and things must get worse come the 1860s when Oakes Ames rises further! I guess you must know my grandmother Blanche Ames Ames painted a portrait of Evelina which hangs at Borderland, which she must have derived from a photograph. The descriptions of home life in Jottings of a Harvard Botanist by my grandfather Oakes Ames, edited by Pauline Ames Plimpton, such as the sewing circle and various canning and other communal activities under the aegis of Anna C. Ames sound like more fun than Evelina’s obsessive cleaning and worried sewing!

    Oakes Plimpton

  3. And from another reader:
    Sarah, That sounds like the answer. the Pools orchestrated the boycott and the ladies would not go along with it again so the Pools could not show up. It was their turn to lose face and they must be paying that price. Probably also had to do with all those rows there used be between churches in town. Another great one.

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