Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

Puritan Family Life: The Diary of Samuel Sewall

Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

Puritan Family Life: The Diary of Samuel Sewall

Article excerpt

Judith S. Graham, Puritan Family Life: The Diary of Samuel Sewall, Northeastern University Press, Boston, 2000.

In the diaries of Samuel Sewall, he illustrates a completely different family life in Puritan New England than what has been previously thought. The diary entries, thoughtfully written over a fifty-five year duration, show a compassionate, loving, concerned parent who is devoted to the development, education and success of this children. With guidance and understanding, he nurtures and guides his six children who survived infancy (out of 14) into successful adulthoods.

Judith S. Graham compares the diaries of Sewall to other works written about Puritan society that recorded personal and public affairs. There were often notes and sections dedicated to Sewall's accounts of court hearings and news that concerned his community, not involving his family. Cotton Mather's journals were often compared to Sewall's, showing the differences and similarities they had with raising a family. Graham's extensive research of Sewall's diaries concluded that not all Puritan families were rigid, harsh and unforgiving. Using many works from other historians, Graham made various comparisons and was able to portray a completely different family structure. …

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