October 24, 1852

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Sarah Josepha Hale 

(1788 – 1879)

Sunday Oct 24th  Mrs Davenport, Miss Alger & self

staid at home in the morning and I cooked

a dinner  Martin Carr came home with

them at noon and was here to dine  We all

went to meeting this afternoon  Mrs D & Miss

Alger played and sang and we have had a pleasant evening

Evelina played hostess on this Sabbath Day, staying home from the morning church service to be with her female guests and to cook a dinner. Between services, the men came home for the meal, bringing Martin Carr with them. Martin, who was Oakes Angier’s age, was the son of Caleb Carr, a long-time employee of the shovel shop. Martin was a jeweler by trade; perhaps he knew Edward Davenport, a jeweler in Attleboro, who was staying with the Ameses.

The socializing continued in the evening with tea and entertainment. Both Celestine Davenport and Miss Alger “played and sang.”  What fun to have music in the parlor. Perhaps Susie Ames was inspired by the pleasure that piano playing produced.

Evelina wouldn’t have known it, or acknowledged it particularly if she had, but today was the birthday of Sarah Josepha Hale. Mrs. Hale was the influential editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, the most popular periodical of the day for women. Her first editing job, which she took on as a young widow with five children, was for The Ladies Magazine in Boston. After Ladies merged with Lady’s, in 1836 – 1837, Mrs. Hale moved to Philadelphia and became the “editress,” – a term she preferred – of Godey’s for the next forty years. While there, she published the work of Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Lydia Sigourney, Caroline Lee Hentz, Washington Irving, Emma Willard and Catharine Beecher – among other authors whose writing has not held up as well through the decades.

Mrs. Hale did more than just read at a desk. While still living in Boston, she established the Seaman’s Aid Society to help the widows and orphans of men lost at sea. She raised a much-needed balance of funds for the completion of the erection of the Bunker Hill Monument, the funding of which had stalled. Though many members of the stymied Monument Association assured Mrs. Hale that she couldn’t succeed, she raised tens of thousands of dollars from individual donors and from a week-long women’s craft fair that she organized at Quincy Market. The latter event alone – the first of its kind – raised more than $30,000 from the sale of domestic goods like homemade preserves, knitted scarves, hand-sewn aprons and caps, and specially donated items. She built the template for that kind of event.

Mrs. Hale also raised money for the maintenance of George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, which had fallen into disrepair. She championed the establishment of Vassar, the country’s first female liberal arts college. She promoted the advancement of education and employment for women, tirelessly. Most famous of all, she was able to persuade President Abraham Lincoln to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, a pet project of hers that she had put forward to a line of presidents before him. Most disappointing of all, Sarah Hale never got on board the women’s suffrage movement. She believed that giving women the vote would lead them into politics, which was too disreputable and crafty a calling for the high moral stature of the true female mind.

There is much to be said about Sarah Josepha Hale. We must not forget that she was also an author. She wrote many of the articles in Godey’s, she penned novels, children’s books, household guides and poems. It was her pen that wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” She was a phenomenal woman for her time.

June 26, 1852


  • hentzcl

Caroline Lee Hentz

(1800 – 1856)

1852

June 26th Saturday  Was assisting Hannah about house

most of the forenoon  Made pies & cake baked

in the small new tins  Have been mending

this afternoon and finished Marcus Warland

by Mrs Caroline Lee Hentz

Mr Ames brought home 1/4 lb black sewing

silk from Boston  I have a bad cough

Although her “bad cough” presaged an oncoming cold, Evelina managed to accomplish many domestic tasks today. Perhaps the best part of the day, however, came after the choring, baking and mending. She finished reading Marcus Warland; or, The Long Moss Spring. Tale of the South. by Caroline Lee Hentz.

Caroline Lee Hentz was an immensely popular novelist, “well known and much esteemed.”* In the 1850s, the Boston Library listed her as one of the three top writers of the day. A major literary figure, now largely forgotten, Mrs. Hentz described herself as a “Northerner who traveled and worked throughout the South for nearly thirty years.”** Though born and raised in Lancaster, Massachusetts, only fifty-odd miles from North Easton, Caroline and her teacher husband spent married life in various Southern states, opening and closing schools as they went along. They lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Covington, Kentucky (across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, where they met Harriet Beecher Stowe); Alabama; Georgia; and Florida.

Unlike Mrs. Stowe, Mrs. Hentz was an apologist for slavery. In the Introduction to Marcus Warland, she wrote:

“We believe, if the domestic manners of the South were more generally and thoroughly known at the North, the prejudices that have been gradually building up a wall of separation between these two divisions of our land would yield to the irresistible force of conviction.”*** She believed not only that the institution of slavery was essential to the South’s livelihood, but that blacks were a lesser race who needed to be looked after. She was hardly alone in the latter belief.

After Mrs. Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published to both huge acclaim and vehement dissent, Mrs. Hentz penned a rebuttal novel entitled The Planter’s Northern Bride.  It came out in 1854 and found a wide audience. We can imagine that Evelina might have read it out of curiosity.

But today, while Evelina reclined with Marcus Warland, her old father-in-law was dependably keeping his eye on the sky and his finger to the wind.  The weather entry for today read “the 24 – 25 + 26 were fair cool days for the season + windy drying days wind north west + west most of the time.”**** This bode well for haying.

Anonymous, Southern Quarterly Review, circa 1851, quoted by Karen Tracey, Plots and Propsals, University of Illinois, 2000.

** “Caroline Lee Hentz,” Wikipedia, accessed June 24, 2015

*** Caroline Lee Hentz, Marcus Warland, 1852, p, 2

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