Boston Globe, May 2022
On Thanksgiving Day 1875, 13-year-old Mary Allen Boyd of Boston wrote in her diary that she and her friends had mounted their own production of “Cinderella,” casting each other in different roles and using sheets and string to craft a stage curtain.
“At last, all was ready,” Boyd wrote. “I sat crying by the fireplace and Will commenced pulling up the curtain; he got it up two inches when—the string broke. The proud sisters came in as soon as the curtain was fixed and scolded Cinderella for some time; then they go to the ball.”
Boyd’s diary, which opens a window into a young girl’s life nearly 150 years ago, is one of the hundreds of child-authored texts from the 19th century housed at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester that will now be categorized and digitized, thanks to a grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities, which handed out more than $3.4 million in grants to projects around Massachusetts last month.