Readers respond to the Dairy Of Mary Slack series.

I would say it is a thumbs up for the writer

Here is another page if you will of the Dairy of Mary Slack, a historical project by a 15 year old Hanover High School student in cooperation with the Norwich Historical Society. I serve as the messenger only to get the word out.

 by Lauren Pidgeon


Thank you for the dozens of emails showing appreciation and asking questions about Mary Slack's diary. I had quite a few questions, including one from the 4th grade class at Marion Cross School--they have been reading the diary as part of their Vermont history unit.

After reading my second post about Herbert Slack, Ms. Haney's 4th graders realized that the age of Herbert's death recorded on the death certificate (age 23) and inscribed on his gravestone (age 20) contradicted each other. I replied to the class saying that historical documents can have little errors and that is why it is important to use many documents in research. I would like the think that Herbert's death certificate is the correct source but after doing more research on, I found another, possibly corrected, death certificate recorded in 1920, about 35 years after Herbert's death, and it states his age of death as 20 yrs old. Good eyes 4th graders!

Other comments:

"That reference to passing the dump reminds me that people whose minds and cars are filled with all manner of stuff may just be encouraged to take a second look at the things they've driven past for months or even years. The history is great, but the 'landmarks' are just as important, perhaps more so as you help current residents rediscover Mary's home town and their own." 

"Uncle was quite generous. A farmhand usually earned $.50 a day and $1.00 a day during haying season, when labor was in demand."

I had two comments/questions about the generosity of Mary's Uncle. In her diary, Mary recorded that she earned $5 for around a week's work at his house (it was a little hard to tell exactly how many days she worked). I found an 1866 Norwich farmer's journal that recorded his daily wages for comparison:

"If I may add some info about the "delaine" fabric....delaines were fabrics woven of both cotton and wool together in the same fabric."

This would make sense since she finished making it and wore it in the late summer. 

One of the final emails I received was from the owner of the diary, the great-great grand-daughter of Mary who would like to donate it to the Norwich Historical Society! I've been working from her typed transcription. Below are some photos that she emailed me. Thanks Jessica, I'm so excited to see it!


About the Project

Lauren Pidgeon is a Hanover High student from Norwich who is interested in our community’s history.

She is exploring the world of Mary Slack, a 15-year-old schoolgirl who kept a diary here in Norwich in 1865. We have just one year of her diary and Lauren is sharing her research in weekly posts.


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