Good Wives

Good Wives Cover

Good Wives

Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750

By Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Vintage, Paperback, 9780679732570, 336pp.

Publication Date: June 4, 1991


This enthralling work of scholarship strips away those abstractions to reveal the hidden -- and not always stoic -- face of the "goodwives" of colonial America. In these pages we encounter the awesome burdens -- and the considerable power -- of a New England housewife's domestic life and witness her occasional forays into the world of men. We see her borrowing from her neighbors, loving her husband, raising -- and, all too often, mourning -- her children, and even attaining fame as a heroine of frontier conflicts or notoriety as a murderess. Painstakingly researched, lively with scandal and homely detail, Good Wives is history at its best.

About the Author
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich received the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, and the American Historical Association's Joan Kelly and John H. Dunning Prizes for 1990 for A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her Diary, 1785-1812. She is Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire.

Praise For Good Wives

"[Ulrich] makes a modern reader understand what it would have been like to have been born female in early New England...a truly remarkable achievement." -- Mary Beth Norton, Cornell University

A gravestone in northern New England proclaims that a woman was "Eminent for Holiness...Prudence, Sincerity...Meakness...Weanedness From ye World...Publick-Spiritedness ...Faithfulness & Charity."

"A major addition to our historical understanding of women in colonial New England...a path-breaking depiction of wives and mothers." -- Kathryn Kish Sklar, S.U.N.Y., Binghamton