Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Reading - 18C American Woman with a Book

1770 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Mrs James Russell (Katherine Graves) with her arms covered & holding a book

Cotton Mather (1663–1728) wrote a section in his diary titled “How My Time is Taken Up,” which makes it clear that, at least in the Mather New England household, reading took place at home throughout the whole day. In the morning: 
“Going down to my Family, I read a Portion of the sacred Scriptures, & fetch a Note out of every Clause, & then pray with them, turning what I had read, into prayer.” 
Around noon: 
“At the Table, when I come to Dinner, I am solicitous to contrive some Discourse, by which the Minds of my Family will be edified.  I rarely sit down, without relating to the Children some Story out of the Bible, from which I inculcate some Lesson upon them, or, it may be some other Story.”  
“Going to Bed”: 
"I carry some agreeable Book with me; & read until I fall Asleep; which is rarely much before eleven a clock: oftener after, than before.”