Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Julie Winch

Second Advisor

Roberta L. Wollons

Third Advisor

Bonnie Miller


Using the hitherto unidentified diary of a white teenage girl from Swanzey, New Hampshire, this thesis follows Mary Whitcomb's intellectual engagement within her community as a teacher, as a scholar, as a participant in Cheshire County's educational and intellectual fora, and as a private reader. It addresses the social culture of education and literacy as it existed in New Hampshire in the antebellum period and the subsequent disruption amid national crisis. Mary Seline Whitcomb's diary is my lens for understanding her experiences and those of her community.


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