To Read My Heart: The Journal of Rachel Van Dyke, 1810-1811

To Read My Heart: The Journal of Rachel Van Dyke, 1810-1811

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University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.


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To Read My Heart: The Journal of Rachel Van Dyke, 1810-1811

"The Journal of Rachel Van Dyke," a compelling primary document previously unpublished, offers insights into the life and mind of a seventeen-year-old young woman, while also providing a fascinating window into the cultural and social landscape of the early national period. Rachel was a thoughtful, intelligent, observer, and her journal is an important account of upper- and middle-class life in the growing city of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her entries reveal her remarkably studied views on social customs, marriage, gender roles, friendship, and religion.

The journal is dominated by two interrelated themes: Rachel's desire to broaden her knowledge and her friendship with her teacher, Ebenezer Grosvenor. Since Ebenezer was both her teacher and her romantic interest, it is impossible to distinguish between the themes of education and romance that dominate her writings. On several occasions, Rachel and Ebenezer exchanged their private journals with each other. During these exchanges, Ebenezer added comments in the margins of Rachel's journal, producing areas of written "conversation" between them. The marginalia adds to the complexity of the journal and provides evidence of and insight into Rachel's romantic and intellectual relationship with him. The written interactions between Rachel and Ebenezer, together with discussions of friendship and courtship rituals provided throughout the journal, enrich our understanding of social life during the early national period.

To Read My Heart will be of interest to students of American history, women's studies, and nineteenth-century literature; all readers will be captivated by the rich expression and emotional experience of the journal. Whether she is relating the story of a young friend's wedding, the death of a small boy, or the capture of a slave in Guinea, Rachel's pages have universal appeal as she seeks to understand her own role as an emerging adult.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812235494
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date: 06/08/2000
Pages: 440
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.13(d)

About the Author

Lucia McMahon is Associate Professor of History at William Paterson University. Deborah Schriver is an independent scholar.

Table of Contents

Editorial Notevii
The Journal
Book 2. May 20-June 9, 181025
Book 3. June 10-23, 181041
Book 4. June 24-July 12, 181060
Book 5. July 13-30, 181077
Book 6. July 31-August 10, 181094
Book 7. August 12-25, 1810107
Book 8. August 26-September 6, 1810120
Book 9. September 7-20, 1810133
Book 10. September 21-October 2, 1810147
Book 11. October 3-23, 1810157
Book 12. October 24-November 9, 1810169
Book 13. November 10-24, 1810181
Book 14. November 25-December 22, 1810194
Book 15. December 23, 1810-January 12, 1811209
Book 16. January 13-31, 1811222
Book 17. February 1-22, 1811232
Book 18. February 23-March 14, 1811242
Book 19. March 15-April 5, 1811252
Book 20. April 6-30, 1811264
Book 21. May 1-21, 1811275
Book 22. May 22-June 13, 1811285
Book 23. June 14-July 21, 1811296
Epilogue: Rachel Van Dyke's Life After 1811303
"We Would Share Equally": Gender, Education, and Romance in the Journal of Rachel Van Dyke309
Appendix ADates of Journal Exchanges Between Rachel Van Dyke and Ebenezer Grosvenor339
Appendix BRachel Van Dyke's Reading List340
Appendix CEbenezer Grosvenor's Code and Translation343
Appendix DExcerpts from the Rural Visiter344
Appendix EThe Journal of Ebenezer Grosvenor (April 20-May 31, 1808)360
Appendix FGenealogy of Rachel Van Dyke, 1580-1709, and Genealogy of Rachel Van Dyke, 1709-1891371
Friends and Family Mentioned in Rachel Van Dyke's Journal375
Bibliography of Secondary Sources409

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