Film features midwife

MOUNT DESERT — A screening of “A Midwife’s Tale” is planned for Wednesday, April 24, at 5 p.m. at the Northeast Harbor Library as part of the library’s Local Film Series.

The documentary recounts the life of Martha Ballard, a midwife who worked in what’s now central Maine in the post-Revolutionary War period, based on her diaries.

With her surveyor husband, Ballard moved to the Hallowell/Augusta area of Maine shortly after the Revolutionary War. A wage-earning person herself — rare for a woman of those times — she also kept a diary of the daily facts of her life. She noted the weather, her perilous trips to deliver babies, the pleasures and conflicts of her household, and mostly work accomplished. She attended 814 births from 1785 to 1812, the years of her diary.

Ballard’s diary was discovered in the Maine State Library by historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. The film is a reenactment of some of the events of the diary, shot at King’s Landing, a living history museum in New Brunswick. It shows housekeeping and life on the frontier of Maine, around 1800, from a woman’s point of view.

A discussion will follow the screening. This free event is open to the public.

Contact 276-3333.

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