1.   Historical note

2.   Scope and content

3.   Provenance

4.   Processing note

5.   Inventory

6.   Subjects

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    R.I.H.S. Library page

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 Harriet F. Bennett Diary

 Homemaker, of Pawtucket, R.I.

 Diary, 1872

 Size: 0.25 linear feet

 Catalog number: MSS 292

 Processed by: Rick Stattler, April 2000

 USE MICROFILM    HQ 1438. R45 Pt 1 Reel 17

©Rhode Island Historical Society

Manuscripts Division


Historical note:

            Harriet Frances Bennett was born on March 22, 1835 to Job B. Bennett (1803-1877) and Elmira (Jenckes) Bennett (1811-1869). Her father was a locksmith and gunsmith, and was remembered in his obituary as "an upright citizen and a man of peculiar views... To speak of all his traits and eccentricities of character would require more space than we can command." Harriet had three siblings: Benjamin Bennett (1834-1900), Lydia A. Bennett (1841-1918), and Marriette (Bennett) Earle. Harriet was raised in Pawtucket, R.I., and generally went by the name "Hattie." She taught school for many years, resided with her parents in their house at 64 Cedar Street, and did not marry at the usual age. She was 34 years old when her mother died, and at that time gave up teaching to keep house and care for her aging father. On July 9, 1878, at the age of 43, she married carriage painter George Dallas Jencks (1845-1925) of nearby Central Falls, a longtime family friend. They had one child, Gerard D. Jencks (1879-1952). Harriet F. (Bennett) Jencks died in South Attleboro, Massachusetts on November 18, 1919 and is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery in Pawtucket. She has no living direct descendants.


"Another Old and Well-Known Resident Gone," Pawtucket Gazette and Chronicle, November 2, 1877 (obituary of Job Bennett).

Browne, William B. Genealogy of the Jenks Family in America..., 186 189, 310. Concord, N.H.: Rumford Press, 1952.

Obituary of Lydia M. Gregory (only grandchild), Providence Sunday Journal, February 27, 1994

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Unsigned research notes donated with collection

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Scope and content:

            This collection consists of one 70-page diary volume and 59 loose diary pages, covering the year 1872 in its entirety; a full typed transcription of the diary; and related research notes. The diary was written in the year of Bennett's 37th birthday, four years before her marriage, and is an excellent account of middle-class life in Pawtucket. Although there is nothing to link this diary with celebrities or famous events, it is without a doubt one of the most expressive diaries in the collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society.

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            The diary was apparently inherited by Harriet Jencks' only grandchild, Lydia M. (Jencks) Gregory (1903-1994), who never had any children of her own. She passed it on to her cousin Elizabeth L. (Gregory) Allen, who donated it to the R.I.H.S. in 1993, along with the accompanying transcriptions and notes.

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Processing note:

            One problem with the Bennett diary is that the author rarely dated her entries. Near the top of each page, the appropriate date ranges were written in pencil in 2000.

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Folder 1. Diary, January 1 to May 20, 1872

Folder 2. Loose diary pages, May 21 to September 23, 1872

Folder 3. Loose diary pages, September 23 to December 31, 1872

Folder 4. Complete typescript of diary, January to December, 1872

Folder 5. Research notes (2 pages)

Folder 6. Handwritten transcription of diary, January to May, 1872 (not microfilmed)

Folder 7. Draft typescript of diary, May to December, 1872 (not microfilmed)

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Bennett, Job B. (1803-1877)

Diaries - 1872

Jencks, George D. (1845-1925)

x Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett) (1835-1919)

Littlefield, Abby F. (1840-1926)

Pawtucket, R.I. - Social life and customs


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