"Diary Of An Early American Boy" 1962 SLOANE, Eric


[108] pp.

Funk & Wagnalls


11" x 8"

Profusely illustrated with black-and-white line drawings plus a quadruple page fold-out between pages 80 and 81. "Not long ago, Eric Sloane was exploring an ancient house and came upon a small, leather-bound, wood-backed volume bearing the flyleaf inscription: "NOAH BLAKE, my book, March the twenty fifth, Year of Our Lord 1805, Given to me by my Father Isaak Blake and my Mother Rachel upon the fifteenth year of my life." Eric Sloane became fascinated by the diary, in which Noah Blake kept an account of daily activities on his father's farm. In March, Noah helped to fell an oak tree for a "good wood floor" to take the place of the hard earth which had to be pounded and swept smooth every day. For a week in April, Noah worked at maple-sugaring; the rest of the month was devoted to nail-making (which was his father's trade), building a new bridge across Red Man Brook, and spring plowing. On Rogation Sunday, in mid-May, Noah and his family followed the custom of walking the boundaries of their property, both to give thanks and to take inventory. While Noah Blake made note of his chores and of his "social activities," he did not, of course, describe in detail the house he lived in, the methods and implements he used to accomplish his work, or the reasons why certain customs were observed in his world. Eric Sloane therefore decided to fill in these details from his own knowledge of early American ways and tools, and to illustrate, with his superb pen-and-ink drawings, what the farm looked like, how things were done, and what they were done with. The result is an intriguing combination of elements - quotations from Noah Blake's diary, Eric Sloane's descriptions of nail-making, bridge-building, shingle-splitting, and other everyday occupations of a century and a half ago, nearly a hundred illustrations -which bring the year 1805, and Noah Blake, to life again for us."

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