I wish some great catastrophe would happen to somebody (t me, of course) so that I might have something of importance to set down in my journal. But, I suppose everyone's journal (who is foolish eugh to keep one) is made up of everyday incidents, mixed up with a startling love adventure w and then. Phebe F. Beach July 1, 1857 In 1857, Phebe Beach, a young woman from Bridgton, Maine was coming of age, beset by the constraints of society that expected her to marry and become in her words a stocking darner and a baby manufacturer. She shared her frustrations in a diary she began writing that year. Her lively, lighthearted descriptions of anying suitors, girlish rivalries, and social gatherings soon gave way to other more tragic happenings as the nation hurtled into civil war.
Caroline Grimm moved to Bridgton, Maine with her family when she was seven years old. She grew up surrounded by historic houses, steeped in stories of the past, and her curiosity got the better of her. She immersed herself in local history for the sheer joy of uncovering the past lives of neighbors long gone. She wrote her first paper on the topic in high school. Since that time, she is often found haunting cemeteries, poring over fragile letters, reading crumbling newspapers, tramping across far flung battlefields, and traveling down forgotten roads. Her neighbors sum up her odd behavior by shaking their heads and saying, She writes.