CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE PAST
Levi Jordan Plantation
Diaries: The Sallie McNeill Diary
This is a picture of Annie McNeill (Anne Royal McNeill Martin), Sallie McNeill's sister. We do not have a picture of Sallie herself, but Annie was about two years younger.
What is the diary?
One of the most important historical documents associated with the plantation is the diary of Sallie McNeill, a young woman who lived at the Jordan Plantation in the middle of the nineteenth century. The diary is owned by Ginny McNeill Raska, who has transcribed it and hopes, someday, to publish it in book form. She is in the process of doing the historical research to annotate it now. Some excerpts from this diary are on this web site.
How have archaeologists and anthropologists used the diary?
The diary has been used by Kenneth L. Brown as a way to begin to understand the physical layout of the plantation, the relationships between the family and the African American slaves and tenants, and for other information. At some point in the future links will be made between the archaeological data already presented here and actual passages in the diary which have made that data more understandable. As with ethnography, diaries and other historical documents can be used to ask questions of archaeological information they enrich the context of the materials under examination.
In addition to Ginny's and Ken's work with the diary, Mary Lynne Hill has also used the diary as a way to examine the roles of women in the nineteenth century and in the present. Attached is an excerpt from her master's thesis at the University of Houston, entitled THE DISCIPLINE OF SOCIAL CORSETS: NEGOTIATION OF THE GENDER TYPIFICATION OF THE SOUTHERN LADY BY FEMALE DESCENDANTS OF LEVI AND SARAH STONE JORDAN. At some point it may be possible to provide larger excerpts from this work on this web site.
How can you use the diary?
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‹ Carol McDavid 1998