While A Day in the Life takes place in Williamsburg, Virginia, the routines that are portrayed would have been familiar to people living in other British colonies in North America. Working-class young men received an education through apprenticeships with tradesmen or businessmen. Women managed household and domestic affairs. Gentlemen of wealth and status handled the responsibilities of government and politics. Merchants and storekeepers sold imported goods to local customers. Enslaved African Americans worked throughout the community in agriculture, trades, and households. Every colony also had small groups of free African Americans living and working in cities and in rural areas. A Day in the Life gives students the opportunity to experience eighteenth-century life from all of these perspectives and more.
Episode One: Dennis, Prissy, and Tom's Day (18:17)
Meet Dennis, a young enslaved house servant of the Carter family, Prissy, the Carter's youngest daughter, and Tom, an apprentice carpenter. This episode explores the differences in work, education, lifestyle, and family life of the different classes these children represent.
Episode Two: Mr. Carter's Day (17:17)
Meet Mr. Carter, a member of the gentry and a counselor to the Royal Governor. He seeks his own counsel with Mr. Grove, a wise plantation owner, as to whether he should support efforts to protest the British actions in Boston. This episode examines the political responsibilities, as well as the home life, of the gentry.
Episode Three: Daniel Grove's Day (18:32)
Meet Daniel Grove, a young gentleman who will escort Mr. Carter's oldest daughter, Elizabeth, to an evening ball. The episode shows some of Daniel's lessons, ranging from reading Shakespeare to fencing, as well his participation in a horse race and a subscription ball.
Episode Four: Jill's Day (18:17)
Meet Jill, an enslaved woman at the Grove plantation. She is pregnant, and nearly run down by Daniel and his friend while they are racing their horses. This episode shows the hardships of plantation slaves' lives, how enslaved families could be separated by their masters, and the difficulty of escape from slavery.
Episode Five: Anne Sparks' Day (18:13)
Meet Anne Sparks, a free black woman who makes her living as a seamstress. While Mr. Carter's daughter, Elizabeth, is shopping at the millinery for accessories to wear to the ball, Anne arrives to deliver a sewing order. This episode explores family life in a free black household, and shows how even free African Americans struggled in eighteenth-century Virginia.
Episode Six: Patsy Grenville's Day (18:07)
Meet Patsy Grenville, the young daughter of the proprietor of Grenville's store. Patsy has a head for business, but is unlikely to earn the chance to own her own store. This episode takes a close look at how people purchased goods in eighteenth-century Virginia, and examines the colonial monetary system.
Episode Seven: James Campbell's Day (17:46)
Meet James Campbell, an apprentice blacksmith and Tom's best friend. James has ambitions to become an artisan, but he must first learn the lessons of hammer and forge. This episode examines at the eighteenth-century apprenticeship system.
Episode Eight: Mrs. Wood's Day (18:02)
Meet Mrs. Wood, a middling-sort woman who manages a household. This episode follows Mrs. Wood through her day of supervising the household, running errands, and celebrating an anniversary.