Words They Lived By: Colonial New England Speech, Then and Now offers an entertaining and informative look into colonial New England life as well as a bit of perspective on ours today. It sheds light on familiar colonial New England words and expressions and on the life and history that informed them. Did you know that the colonists used the words slang, football, coffeehouse, negligee, scuttlebutt, but with far different meanings from those we know today? Did you wonder where the expression red tape, bitter end, or to be at loggerheads came from?
The process of writing the book allowed me to combine a love of storytelling, of words and their origins, of history, of photography, and above all, of the Golden Ball Tavern Museum. In the many years I have enjoyed as Director of the museum, I have been gathering the words and phrases that form the heart of the book. Then, when I started to write, I found in the museum a majority of the resources I needed to flesh out the word meanings to make colonial life come alive. There were artifacts--the house, barn, furnishings, tools; primary sources -- newspapers, letters, account books, diaries, census reports; and a well-stocked library-- current works by scholars of the decorative arts and historians, and 17th and 18th century published works by historians and antiquarians. From this rich collection, I was able to gather the colorful poems, stories, and first-hand accounts and to illustrate the words with photographs from the museum's collection.
The book, like my interests, is a weave of storytelling, words definitions, history, and photography, laced with anecdotes that I found illustrative, delightful, or humorous. It is appropriate for all ages.
William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Cape Cod, Harvard Yard, and the Lincoln Letter, wrote of Words They Lived By: Colonial New England Speech, Then and Now: "We are what we say . . . and how we say it. That is the message of this fun and fascinating new book. .. You will be surprised and entertained on every page, whether you are a scholar of linguistics, a student of the eighteenth century, or just someone who loves to win the word games in the parlor. Read it once and you'll find yourself going back to it again and again."
Price: $20.00 (tax included) plus $4 shipping
The book can also be purchased at the Golden Ball Tavern Museum for $18.00. The museum is open by appointment. Call 781-894-1751.