Puritan Family Life: The Diary of Samuel Sewall

Puritan Family Life The Diary of Samuel Sewall Historians have commonly characterized Puritan family life as joyless repressive even brutal By such accounts Puritan parents disciplined their children mercilessly crushed their wills responded

  • Title: Puritan Family Life: The Diary of Samuel Sewall
  • Author: Judith S. Graham
  • ISBN: 9781555535933
  • Page: 358
  • Format: Paperback
  • Historians have commonly characterized Puritan family life as joyless, repressive, even brutal By such accounts, Puritan parents disciplined their children mercilessly, crushed their wills, responded callously to their deaths, and routinely sent them out of the home to be raised by cold hearted surrogates The diary of Samuel Sewall 1652 1730 contradicts this grim portrHistorians have commonly characterized Puritan family life as joyless, repressive, even brutal By such accounts, Puritan parents disciplined their children mercilessly, crushed their wills, responded callously to their deaths, and routinely sent them out of the home to be raised by cold hearted surrogates The diary of Samuel Sewall 1652 1730 contradicts this grim portrait of the Puritan household.Although Sewall was an exceptional Puritan father and not a representative one, his judicial, civic, religious, and business activities projected him far beyond his own privileged and respectable circumstances As a record of the family and social life of New England s third generation, his remarkable journal, which spans fifty five years, is rivaled only by that of his friend Cotton Mather Sewall provides rich details about the home where his and Hannah Sewall s fourteen children were born, and the six who survived infancy were raised He takes the reader through the streets and byways of Boston, to the meetinghouse, to the places where his children were educated and apprenticed, and to the homes of friends, neighbors, and kin.Judith S Graham s close reading of Sewall s diary and family papers reveals that warmth, sympathy, and love often marked the Puritan parent child relationship She suggests that the special nature of childhood was a concept that parents understood well, and that there was a practical and clear purpose for the putting out of children Graham provides a much needed balance to accepted scholarship on Puritan life and offers new insights into the history of both early New England and the family.

    943 Comment

    • Nathan Albright says:

      In the popular culture, and even among a great many academics, the Puritans suffer from being considered cosmic killjoys who had no sense of fun and who were truly monstrous parents obsessed with gloominess and original sin [1].  The author, through a very detailed discussion of the diary of Samuel Sewall as well as the writings of his family members and contemporaries, manages to provide a compelling case that Samuel Sewall was a moderate Puritan whose seriousness about moral issues and his en [...]

    • Kayla Tornello says:

      This book offers a glimpse of Puritan family life by examining the extensive diaries of Samuel Sewall and comparing them to common theories about Puritan family life. This book was well organized and well researched. I really enjoyed learning about life in early American society.

    • David L Carpenter says:

      Book was excellent at bebunking the myth of puritanical child upbring in 17th century as being cruel. Great insight into witch trials and 17th cent life in Boston

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *