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

Publisher: Vintage
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.


"[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