A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785–1812 is a biography by historian and author Laurel Thatcher Ulrich that was first published in 1990. Crafted into a more accessible format than the original diary to reach a wider audience, it is a mixture of the journal of a midwife in rural Maine during the early years of American independence and Ulrich’s editorial commentary. The book won several awards, including the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for History in 1991. A Midwife’s Tale was also the basis for a memorable documentary that originally aired on PBS in 1997.


Read the Full Book Summary of A Midwife’s Tale.


See a complete list of the characters in A Midwife’s Tale and in-depth analyses of Martha Ballard and Henry Sewell.

Literary Devices

Here is where you will find analysis of key themes, motifs, and symbols in A Midwife’s Tale.


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Deeper Study

Go further in your study of A Midwife’s Tale by reading background information about Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and her book.