The Diary of Hannah Callender Sansom

The Diary of Hannah Callender Sansom

by Susan E. Klepp
     
 

ISBN-10: 0801475139

ISBN-13: 9780801475139

Pub. Date: 12/17/2009

Publisher: Cornell University Press

Hannah Callender Sansom (1737–1801) witnessed the effects of the tumultuous eighteenth century: political struggles, war and peace, and economic development. She experienced the pull of traditional emphases on duty, subjection, and hierarchy and the emergence of radical new ideas promoting free choice, liberty, and independence. Regarding these changes

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Overview

Hannah Callender Sansom (1737–1801) witnessed the effects of the tumultuous eighteenth century: political struggles, war and peace, and economic development. She experienced the pull of traditional emphases on duty, subjection, and hierarchy and the emergence of radical new ideas promoting free choice, liberty, and independence. Regarding these changes from her position as a well-educated member of the colonial Quaker elite and as a resident of Philadelphia, the principal city in North America, this assertive, outspoken woman described her life and her society in a diary kept intermittently from the time she was twenty-one years old in 1758 through the birth of her first grandchild in 1788.

As a young woman, she enjoyed sociable rounds of visits and conviviality. She also had considerable freedom to travel and to develop her interests in the arts, literature, and religion. In 1762, under pressure from her father, she married fellow Quaker Samuel Sansom. While this arranged marriage made financial and social sense, her father's plans failed to consider the emerging goals of sensibility, including free choice and emotional fulfillment in marriage. Hannah Callender Sansom's struggle to become reconciled to an unhappy marriage is related in frank terms both through daily entries and in certain silences in the record. Ultimately she did create a life of meaning centered on children, religion, and domesticity. When her beloved daughter Sarah was of marriageable age, Hannah Callender Sansom made certain that, despite risking her standing among Quakers, Sarah was able to marry for love.

Long held in private hands, the complete text of Hannah Callender Sanson's extraordinary diary is published here for the first time. In-depth interpretive essays, as well as explanatory footnotes, provide context for students and other readers. The diary is one of the earliest, fullest documents written by an American woman, and it provides fresh insights into women's experience in early America, the urban milieu of the emerging middle classes, and the culture that shaped both.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801475139
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
12/17/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
376
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xi

Abbreviations xiii

Introduction: Hannah Callender Sansom and her World 1

Part I Sociability

1 Talk, Travel, and a Couple of Murders: Hannah Callender's Sociable, Venturesome Life 27

2 The Diary: January 1758-August 1761 43

Part II Marriage and Family

3 "A New Scene of Life": Men, Women, and Familial Authority 159

4 The Diary: March 1762-November 1772 170

Interlude: Hannah Callender Sansom and a Revolutionary World 264

Part III Sensibility

5 "This man seems formed for Domestic Happiness": The Marriage of Sally and Elliston 271

6 The Diary: November 1784-October 1788 279

An Afterword 345

Index 351

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