Sarah Ripley (November 26, 1785 - January 6, 1871) and Eunice Callender were lifelong friends. Eunice Callender carved her and Sarah Ripley's initials into a tree, with a pledge of eternal love.
Sarah "Sally" Ripley was born in Boston, MA, the daughter of Jerome Ripley and Sarah Franklin. Jerome Ripley of Greenfield, Massachusetts, was a merchant as well as a civic and social leader in the town of Greenfield, Massachusetts. In 1812, Sally married Charles Stearns (1781-1818), a merchant from Shelburne, Massachusetts. They had four children (Rachel Willard Stearns (1813-1898), William Ripley Stearns (1815-1869), Sarah Franklin Stearns (1816-1856) and Charles Stearns (1819-1899)). In her diary, which covers the years 1799 to 1801 and 1805 to 1809, Sally made daily entries recording her activities, particularly visits made and visitors received. In the 1799 to 1801 portion, she also included school recitations in subjects such as history, geography and astronomy; scripts for several school skits in which she had performed; a description of the memorial services held in Deerfield, Massachusetts, following the death of George Washington; and descriptions of trips to Boston to visit relatives. From 1805 to 1808, she copied into her diary numerous poems and extracts on various topics (mostly spiritual) taken from books and newspapers
Women such as Eunice and Sarah maintained close friendships rooted in bonds of sensibility, emotion, and intellect. For the generations of women who were the first to attend newly established female academies, female friendships provide spaces for them to enact shared intellectual identities as learned women. Friends eagerly exchanged ideas, books, and favorite authors with one another as they created a world in which they could celebrate their intellectual interests without fear of criticism or disapproval. These friendships provided emotional fulfillment at the same time as they validated women's educational endeavors. Understanding the intellectual components of female friendships allow us to examine how education affected early national women's sense of themselves, as well as their aspirations for various personal and social relationships. Female friendships provided safe, nurturing environments for young women to craft identities that celebrated and validated their intellectual capacities merely as the equals of man.
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