Birds twitter outside my door. My children and those of the neighbors shriek and play in their respective yards. Every so often, my partner or I head out to procure supplies. Every day is an exhausting, illuminating adventure on ½ acre.
Today, I’m pondering the similarities and differences between my work for the Historical Society now, in the time of COVID-19, and the lives of the Lexington residents who lived through, for example, the 1721 smallpox epidemic.
For my very selfish part, I am grateful to have a home, a job (and the ability to do said job from home), and the flexibility to teach my kids and work at the same time. Some of these things would have been possible in 18th century Lexington, but some would not (like a paying job outside the home - I am still a woman).
Without getting into modern politics, what are some of the pros or cons you can think of for living in 1721 or 2020 during an epidemic of disease?
*On a side note, it is extremely interesting to be an historian living through an historical moment. I feel as though anyone in the library/archives/museum field has a heightened awareness (our “Spidey sense,” so to speak) of what materials we should be collecting, what stories we should be preserving, whose voices we should be seeking out in this historic moment. This pandemic has changed almost everything about what we do, how we interact, even who we are. It’s a watershed moment in global and U.S. history and it is fascinating (though sometimes terrifying) to live through it.*
-Stacey Fraser, Collections and Outreach Manager
Featuring the voices of Lexington Historical Society permanent staff and occasional guest authors.