A Midwife's Tale

A feature length non-fiction film broadcast nationwide on PBS nationwide (opening show of the 10th season of American Experience), featured at film festivals worldwide, used by teachers of history, medical, and midwifery courses, and seen by community health groups around the globe

A Midwife's Tale (adapted from the Pulitzer Prize winning book) unfolds like a detective story -- the true tale of two women, two hundred years apart, linked by the diary one of them left behind. In the film, we follow author Laurel Ulrich as she deciphers the massive but cryptic diary of 18th century midwife Martha Ballard.  We look though the eyes of Martha (played by actress Kaiulani Lee), at both the daily and the shockingly dramatic events that shook her frontier community in the decades after the American Revolution.  We come to know Martha as the primary healer in her community, coping with births and deaths, epidemics, her own unruly son, and the judge who has raped the minister's wife. 



A Midwife's Tale reveals the lives of ordinary people, making visible history that has remained invisible for centuries.   It takes us to a world in the past that is foreign yet strangely familiar.



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"A Midwife’s Tale is a film of almost tactile pleasure and keen intelligence -- a rare combination." 
The Boston Globe

"This Tale sheds light on the poorly documented world of women, giving traditional history new dimensions and color.” 
Time Out New York 

“Spielberg really should have taken a look before trying to do Amistad." 
The Boston Phoenix 


National EMMY for Outstanding Non-fiction, Silver Spire at the San Francisco Film Festival, Top award from the American Association of State and Local History, Kodak Vision Award, New England Historical Association Media Award, Cine Golden Eagle.


National Endowment for the Humanities, WGBH/American Experience, American Antiquarian Society, Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Massachusetts Cultural Council, New Hampshire Humanities Council, Maine Humanities Council, Tom’s of Maine, Kittredge Educational Fund, The Freed Foundation