MARTHA TURNBULL'S GARDEN DIARY: UNEARTHING THE DOMESTIC SPHERE AT ROSEDOWN PLANTATION


TUNÇ T. E.

HOME CULTURES, vol.14, no.2, pp.167-191, 2017 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/17406315.2017.1396752
  • Title of Journal : HOME CULTURES
  • Page Numbers: pp.167-191

Abstract

Discovered in the mid-1990s in a descendant's attic, the garden diary of plantation mistress Martha Turnbull (1809-96) provides a window into life as it existed in the nineteenth century at Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Spanning almost sixty years between 1836 and 1895, the diary presents layers of first-hand insight into a domestic world that extended far beyond the descriptions of Martha's gardening activities, her tireless experimentation with rare, exotic, and ornamental breeds, and her interest in period horticultural literature. As a personal and social product, the diary reflects the various nuances of antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction Louisiana society-its gardening, architectural, and esthetic cultures; gender, class, and race relations; and its politics and economics-all of which, when unearthed, reveal a more accurate picture of nineteenth-century domestic life at Rosewood plantation.