Four New Diaries By Upstate New York Teenagers


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Four new books provide readers with first person narratives of rural Upstate New York teenage life in the 1860s through the 1890s. These accounts of young peoples’ lives on the farm, or in the home, offers a unique perspective and serves as an important primary resource in the study of American history.

The first is A Darned Good Time by 13-year old Lucy Potter of Taylor, New York (in Cortland County) in 1868. She writes of classes, teachers, friends, boys, a new stepmother, an invalid aunt, and complains about upstate New York weather.

Second in the series is My Centennial Diary – A Year in the Life of a Country Boy by 18-year old Earll Gurnee of Sennett, New York (near Skaneateles) in 1876. He writes of school, family life, social life, farm life, girlfriends, and hard work. His teacher gets arrested for being too brutal to children, he juggles two girlfriends, he plows, cuts hay, cleans out the horse barn….then wonders why his back hurts!

Third in the series, My Story – A Year in the Life of a Country Girl, is by 15-year old Ida Burnett of Logan, New York (in Schuyler County) in 1880. Ida churned butter, milked cows, sewed her own underwear, canned fruit, but also had time for boys and parties. She lived in the country in Upstate New York and in the whole year did not venture any farther than twenty miles from home. The book will be released soon.

The fourth (forthcoming) will be Home in the Hills by 14–year old Edna Kendall of Altay, New York (in Schuyler County) in 1891. It will be available in early 2010.

You can check out these and more publications from the New York History Review Press at http://www.newyorkhistoryreview.com.

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