Augusta group to host June 15 fundraiser showing of Martha Ballard film

The Mayor’s Committee for Martha Ballard, a city group planning a memorial celebrating the famed early American midwife and diarist, is organizing a June 15 presentation of the 1997 documentary film A Midwife’s Tale. The 89-minute movie, which first appeared on PBS in 1998 as part of the American Experience film series, is based on Laurel Thatcher Ulrich’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812.

Ballard, a native of Oxford, Massachusetts, moved with her family to the Augusta area at the start of the American Revolution. Her 37-year diary records not only many of the births, illnesses, deaths, and illnesses in which she was involved as a caregiver, but also blunt, insightful observations about the customs, conflicts, and living conditions of her time.

To honor Ballard’s achievements, The Mayor’s Committee for Martha Ballard is planning the design and construction of a permanent monument to her. The film presentation is part of an effort to raise money for and community awareness of that project. The event is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour featuring hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at Le Club Calumet, at 334 West River Road, in Augusta; followed by a 7 p.m. live interview with sisters Glee and Ruth Ballard, of Sidney, and their cousin, recently retired Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Diane Dunn, of Newburgh, all direct descendants of Martha Ballard; and a silent auction. The showing of the film will conclude the event.

The committee’s members are Chairman Larry Fleury; the Ballard sisters; Earl Kingsbury, Augusta’s director of community services; Courtney Allen and Heather Pouliot, Augusta City Council members; Stephen Arbour, local historian; Rachel Merriam, of Hallowell; and Secretary Jamie Logan and Joseph Owen, representing the Kennebec Historical Society.

Tickets for the film showing event cost $30 each and are available online at the mayor’s committee’s website,, or by arrangement with Fleury, who can be called at (207) 242-0540.


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