Letitia Hall, "Threshold of a Century: the Diary of Louisa Adams Park, 1800-1801"


Her friends were probably aware of how deeply she mourned. Even though she had her own rooms, she lived in a house with two other families, and she probably had no real privacy. Louisa's community knew death. Warren's had been the tenth funeral Louisa wrote about in her diary. The friendship network gathered itself around her and kept her involved in the community's life. In this context, Louisa's quick return to her rounds of teas and visits becomes not frivolous or empty, but a clear effort she shared with her friends to remain attached to her emotional lifeline.

John Park returned in early June, and apparently never returned to sea again. He left medicine and became a teacher and publisher. Perhaps he and Louisa read and discussed the books he printed. They had three more children together.

Louisa died in 1813, at about age forty. In her lifetime, she saw the Constitution amended to prevent another election that might produce a President and Vice President who were political enemies. She saw the Louisiana Purchase double the size of the United States and shift the balance of political power further away from seafaring New England and toward the expanding West, though she did not see the Jacksonian era. She saw the Congregational Church begin to divide itself over dissenting ideologies, but did not see Unitarian minister Ralph Waldo Emerson develop Transcendentalism in New England. She saw the nation struggle with question of rights and power, and she saw the first years of the developing cotton economy, but she did not see the mills and industries that came to dominate Massachusetts' economy, or see Unitarian minister Theodor Parker found a Congregationalist ministry devoted to abolition.

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