thumbnail of the text

"I Must Of Course Have Something Of My Own Before Many More Years Have Passed Over My Head": Sally Rice Leaves the Farm


From the rocky soil of Vermont's hill towns, many young men and women in the 19th century went looking for new opportunities. Often they made a series of moves between farm, factory, and city. Their leave-taking pitted the responsibilities of maintaining family farms against the new attractions of financial and social independence. Sally Rice, born in 1821 in Dover, Vermont, was typical. In... Read More »

"Letter from a Gentleman in Paris to His Friend in London" (1757)


The news of Robert–François Damiens’s attack on the King and his subsequent trial spread rapidly and generated great interest across France and all of Europe. This pamphlet, published in London, describes for English readers the goings–on in Paris, especially the public outpouring of sympathy for the King and the general hostility toward Damiens. Damiens, even for this English observer, was... Read More »

"Letter to Fréron: Émigrés Return" by Thérèse Bouisson


Once in power, the Directorial government appeared poised to preserve the gains of the Revolution while undoing what some considered the excesses of the period of Jacobin ascendancy. Yet precisely what the Revolution’s gains were—beyond the elimination of the monarchy and remnants of feudalism—remained unclear. One perspective, that of the émigré nobles, held that the fall of the Convention... Read More »

"The Padua Circular" (5 July 1791)


Even after the aborted flight of the royal family in June 1791, Emperor Leopold von Habsburg of Austria, brother of Marie Antoinette, continued his efforts to organize a coalition of French émigré nobles and other European powers that would invade France and put an end to the Revolution. In this letter, written shortly after the forced return of Louis and Marie Antoinette to Paris (which... Read More »

Thumbnail of a older photograph depicting a girl sucking her thumb

19th-century American Children and What They Read

19th-century American Children and What They Read is a website born of a passion for exactly that—material written for children, and occasionally by children, in the 19th century.

A British Observer of the September Massacres


A British diplomat in Paris here describes, in dispatches back to London, the goings–on in Paris in early September, in light of news of advances by the Duke of Brunswick’s Prussian forces toward the capital. This diplomat was naturally most concerned with reporting the readiness of the Parisians to resist the British, which is evident in his focus on the National Assembly’s call to arms and... Read More »

thumbnail of the text



In the spring of 1792, the Legislative Assembly—particularly its Executive Committee, dominated by Girondins—took a more aggressive attitude toward Austria, repeatedly arguing that France needed to act first to ward off invasion and thereby not only preserve but advance the Revolution by spreading it across Europe. In June 1792, Jean–Marie Roland de la Platière, a Girondin minister in the King... Read More »

A Woman’s Cahier


This grievance was signed by a certain Madame B*** B*** whose identity is unknown. The provenance appears to be Normandy. Another version of this text, located and republished in the late nineteenth century, is signed by Marie, veuve de Vuigneras, also from Normandy. According to contextual evidence, this document followed the convocation of the Estates–General and the call for the collection... Read More »

Activities of the Jacobins


The Englishman Arthur Young, who was in France during the early stages of the Revolution, recorded his observations. In this letter from mid–January 1790, he describes a Jacobin club meeting, which he depicts as being highly procedural in nature as it elects new leaders.

thumbnail of the article

Adolfo O'Gorman to Juan Manuel de Rosas


In 1847, at the height of Rosas's power, 19-year-old Camila O'Gorman, the daughter of a prominent merchant in the Buenos Aires community, and Ladislao Gutiérrez, a young Catholic priest, fell in love. On December 12, 1847, they eloped and fled the city. As reports surfaced about the actions of Camila and Ladislao, Adolfo penned the following letter to Juan Manuel de Rosas as a plea for his... Read More »