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Call No.: MC 350
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Mary Augusta Carr Cumings, 1837-1904
Title: Diaries of Mary Augusta Carr Cumings, 1866-1880
Quantity: .21 linear feet (1/2 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Diaries of Mary Augusta Carr Cumings, mother and homemaker.
Born in 1837 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mary Augusta Carr Cumings lived in Boston, Massachusetts, later moving outside the city to Jamaica Plain, where she died in 1904.
Mary Augusta Carr Cumings wrote her diary entries in books at first called The Lady's Almanac, and beginning in 1879, Lady's Almanac and Note Book. These books include printed prescriptive literature (essays, poems, and the like) that advises how (and how not) to be a lady, and provide pages on which to record each day's activities.Cumings's entries are infrequent and brief: she marked the onset of each menstrual period with an "X"; recorded callers; mentioned when she weaned each of her children, and noted their incoming teeth, their weight, illnesses, music lessons, and first days of school. In some years she wrote fairly extensively in the "Memoranda" section: in 1871 and 1872 she described her travels from Boston around New England and New York; in 1873 and 1876 she gave accounts of her children's bouts with scarlet fever (their symptoms, medications, and care given them); in 1876 she recorded recipes for silver polish, rice, bread, and so on. The 1876 Almanac is a special centennial edition, with short histories of the American Revolution and of the evolution of women's status since. The prescriptive literature of the last two volumes is devoted to specific topics: the 1879 volume to "Society," and the 1880 volume to "Brides and Weddings."