Tag Archives: diaries

The Acquisitions Table: Sermons by Joseph Avery, 1773-1777

Joseph Avery, Sermons, 1773-1777 The Society already had several collections relating to Joseph Avery, a minister in Holden from 1774 until his death in 1824, before acquiring these fifty-seven sermons. In addition to our Holden, Massachusetts, records, which contain some Avery correspondence, we have a collection of records from Holden’s First Congregational Church, where Avery was ...

Halfway across the world and back again

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Kathleen Major has been volunteering in the Manuscripts Department at AAS for several years and just recently processed the diaries of nineteenth-century serviceman, adventurer, and housekeeper Frank Nash. Kathy worked at AAS from 1976 to 1984 and was Keeper of Manuscripts for a portion of that time. After leaving the Society to care for her ...

The Story of Emily & Benjamin

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Earlier this year the American Antiquarian Society acquired an important archive of manuscripts and drawings related to American missionary activity in Western Africa.  The collection tells the story of a couple, Emily Griswold (1838-1906) and her eventual husband, Benjamin Hartley (1838-1912). Emily was the daughter of the poet and publisher Rufus Wilmot Griswold, who edited anthologies, ...

The Thoreau Household in 1840

Daguerreotype of Sewall, 1847

We recently announced a new web resource consisting of four journals kept by Edmund Quincy Sewall Jr. between 1837 and 1840, when Sewall was between nine and twelve years old. Of particular interest is a journal kept in March and April 1840, when the boy was a student at John and Henry David Thoreau’s Concord Academy ...

Identifying the Unidentified, Part IV

Over the past few weeks, we've been featuring posts by former AAS intern Lucia Ferguson (Smith College) about her experience identifying an unidentified diary (Part I, Part II, and Part III).  This week she shares her concluding thoughts. Researching the Martin family proved mysterious and frustrating. And still, as I researched the lives Henry’s family lived ...

Identifying the Unidentified, Part I

Former AAS intern Lucia Ferguson (Smith College) worked with a manuscript collection of unidentified diaries.  Her charge?  Identify the diarist.  Lucia was very successful with one particular volume, which she discovered belonged to a young man named Henry Martin.  Although no last name was listed anywhere in the volume, a poem from the diarist’s sweetheart ...

“Another closing year draws nigh…”

It is often hard to find diaries written by young men and boys.  So today I’d like to highlight a great diary kept by a young man, Thomas Whitaker, of Waltham, Massachusetts.  Thomas began recording daily entries in 1874, when he was 17 years old, and the volume continues through 1878.  He filled the entire ...

Some things never change

Recently I’ve been going through some newly acquired diaries in our manuscript collection.  Randomly reading diary entries can prove to be very entertaining.  Sure, you could end up reading page after page of daily weather, or recaps of Sunday sermons, but once in a while you’ll find a gem.  Because so many diaries are straightforward ...

The Acquisitions Table: Waterman Journals

Waterman, Martha Elizabeth and Walter.  Journals, 1854-1880. Martha Elizabeth Drew was born in 1839 in Kingston, RI. She married Walter Waterman of Bridgewater, MA. This collection consists of three journals written by Martha, and one by Walter. Martha’s journal entries detail daily weather and daily activities such as calling on friends, and attending singing school and ...

New Year, New Resolution

With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, it’s time to think about our New Year’s resolutions.  Resolutions are a wonderful way to reflect upon the past year, on the year to come, and attempt to bring about changes in our lives.  It’s in our nature to seek this kind of renewal – everyone likes a fresh ...