Michelle Marchetti Coughlin combs through these writings to create a vivid portrait of a colonial American woman and the world she inhabited. Coughlin documents the activities of daily life as well as dramas occasioned by war, epidemics, and political upheaval. Though Coit's opportunities were circumscribed by gender norms of the day, she led a rich and varied life, not only running a household and raising a family, but reading, writing, traveling, transacting business, and maintaining a widespread network of social and commercial connections. She also took a lively interest in the world around her and played an active role in her community.
Coit's long life covered an eventful period in American history, and this book explores the numerous—and sometimes surprising—ways in which her personal history was linked to broader social and political developments. It also provides insight into the lives of countless other colonial American women whose history remains largely untold.
"This book will be a stunning development, the first deep examination of an unknown diary that affords a very rare glimpse into women's lives in this time and place. Coughlin's narrative places the diarist and the diary thoroughly in its context, situating each passage within broader patterns of local and regional history as well as the political, cultural, and social history of the era."—Marla R. Miller, author of The Needle's Eye: Women and Work in the Age of Revolution
"Coit's long life covered an eventful period in American history, and this book explores the numerous--and sometimes surprising--ways in which her personal history was linked to broader social and political developments. It also provides insight in the lives of countless other colonial American women whose history remains largely untold."—Beacon Street Diary, The Congregational Library
"Coughlin is strongest when she relates her narrative of Coit to other contemporary sources, as well as when she draws upon the secondary literature of the period (1673-1758) to provide context to her discussion."—Choice
"With One Colonial Woman's World: The Life and Writings of Mehetabel Chandler Coit, Michelle Marchetti Coughlin has [matched Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's standard]: the thoroughness and the thoughtfulness that she brings to her study of this, the earliest extant diary of a woman living in colonial North America, are exemplary."—New England Quarterly
"One Colonial Woman's World provides both valuable primary resource material virtually untouched by scholars up to this point as well as a critical examination of colonial society at the turn of the seventeenth to eighteenth century. . . . Coughlin's work on Mehetabel is a gift to scholars of colonial history in granting them a better understanding of the past and an enlightened introduction to 'the incredible Mehetabel.'"—H-Net Reviews
"Coughlin has made a valiant effort to identify each entry and provide a larger context for understanding it, by diligently researching the extensive scholarly and local historical literature."—Connecticut History
"Coughlin's chosen project [is] to center and contextualize the diary of Mehetabel Chandler Coit."—Legacy