Early Amusements (Peterborough, c.1750)

Some examples of “early amusements” from Smith’s History of Peterborough (1876):

Peterborough-Smith-1750s-EarlyAmusements-01 Peterborough-Smith-1750s-EarlyAmusements-02 Peterborough-Smith-1750s-EarlyAmusements-03

As I drew these passages, it suddenly occurred to me that these “amusement” activities could also be classified as “back-breaking labor we had to do to survive.”  I couldn’t help imagining what a future “History of Peterborough” (c.2276?) would list as “amusements” for the early 21st century… Very few such entries, I guarantee you, would also qualify as survival labor.

Drawing comics from Smith’s 1876 text forced me to consider the proximity of sweat beads and smiles, labor and libations, surviving and socializing in the early history of colonial NH.  Actually, this reminds me of an old COMICS WORKSHOP diagram I sometimes show at the start of teacher training programs:


Maybe this brings us a little closer to understanding some of these early 18th century settlers’ attitudes towards work and community.  By involving neighbors in various essential tasks that technically belong in the HARD WORK category, they managed to move those tasks into the intersection of [ HARD WORK + FUN ], and guess what?  That’s how they built a community.

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