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Topic: Suggestions for Early American History from a Social History Perspective?

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Subject: Suggestions for Early American History from a Social History Perspective?
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 12:54 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Hey all!

 

I'm working on a story that I want to have a setting inspired by early America -- 17th or 18th century southern(ish) to be exact(ish). However, it's been quite a while since I took an American history class, and of course history classes always seem to focus on battles and politics, which I have the least use for as I'll be creating my own.

 

So I'm really looking for information on daily life in early America, and I'm stumped on where to find that information. The scholarship of a book is almost a secondary concern to me, as I'm not writing historical fiction but fantasy. I just need something that has enough information about daily life that I can get ideas from it. Do you all have any suggestions?

 

One specific book I found is called The Cultural Life of the American Colonies. Has anyone here read it? What did you think?



Last Edited on: 7/26/09 12:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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I have two that may help you.

Home Life in Colonial Days by Alice Morse Earle. You can read it free online here: http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=509749&pageno=1

and

A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812. She lived in Maine but the minutiae of daily life is well documented in the book.

 



Last Edited on: 8/8/09 12:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 924
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David Freeman Hawke – Everyday Life in Early America

It's been a few years since I read this, but I think it might have what you're looking for in it--and it's fairly short too.



Last Edited on: 7/26/09 6:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/27/2009 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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Thanks so much for the suggestions! I'll definitely check them out. And please, continue to give me more if you think of any!

Date Posted: 7/27/2009 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,450
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There is a monstrous fat thing (it was originally published in 1948 in 13 volumes. I have a 1300pp abridgement publishedin 1996) titled A History of American Life. It was written by a committee headed by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr.  It just may be available on Gutenberg, but I don't know. The detail of everything about their lives is, well, what do you expect considering the sheer volume of it. If it gets to looking like you really would like to use it, I would loan it to you.