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Mother and Child

While this new generation of parents favored play more than previous generations, Austin and Susan still expected their children to be well-behaved. With Gib, however, Susan’s discipline was well-matched by the boy’s abundant imagination. Sister Mattie recalls that,

One early punishment of Gib’s was to sit on a red hassock by the open fire and ‘think it over.’ Not much of a success, for when our mother went gently to release him, he warned her joyfully not to come any nearer or she would be drowned – the red hassock having turned into a boat and the hearth-broom a paddle with which he was punting himself all around the floor, which was now a flood.

Martha Dickinson Bianchi, “The Recollections of a Country Girl,” unpublished typescript, 66-67, Martha Dickinson Bianchi Papers, Brown University Library.

Courtesy of Yale University Library

Historic photograph of a seated woman holding a fair-haired young boy on her lap. He wears a white shirt with rounded collar.