ESTHER EDWARDS BURR (1732 - 1758)
Esther Edwards Burr was the mother of Aaron Burr, Jr. and the wife of Princeton University President Aaron Burr, Sr. whom she married in 1752. Esther's father was Jonathan Edwards, the Calvinist evangelist of the Great Awakening of New England. Her mother, Sarah Pierpont Edwards, underwent a mystical religious experience presented as the model of ‘born again’ conversion. Edwards encouraged others to emulate her conversion through proselytizing and the publication of several pamphlets written by Sarah.
Esther Burr’s journals offer a rare glimpse into both the public and private life of an articulate and spirited eighteenth century woman. Her son she presciently characterizes, as “a little dirty Noisy Boy very different from Sally almost in every thing. He begins to talk a little, is very Sly and mischievous. He has more sprightliness than Sally & most say he is handsomer, but not so good tempered. He is very resolute & requires a good Governor to bring him to terms.”
A pious woman, she was unusually candid for her time: “Cousin Billy Vance is going to be married – did you ever hear the like? Pray what can he do with a Wife? He is more of a woman than a man.” “Mr. Burr preached against whoredom & never did people need it more.”
Paper, paint, nylon, plastic, copper.
The original copy of Esther Burr’s letter-journal, held in Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, is identified and described as “The Journal of Mrs. Esther Burr addressed to Miss Sarah Prince of Boston, October 1754 - September 1757.” Consisting of 354 pages it was first published as The Journal of Esther Edwards Burr 1754-1757, Edited, with an introduction, by Carol F. Karlsen and Laurie Crumpacker, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1984.