A Guide to

Women's Diaries

in the Manuscript Collection of the

Rhode Island Historical Society Library

Edited by

Rick Stattler

Originally compiled for a University of Rhode Island seminar in women's history with Dr. Sharon Strom, April 1997. Greatly expanded with the help of Rhode Island Historical Society staff and volunteers, June 2004.





Alphabetical index

Chronological listing

Geographical listings

Age group breakdowns

Ethnic diversity

Class diversity

Essay on provenance


Diary catalog records


            Since the publication of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's award-winning A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812, there has been increased recognition of the value of women's diaries as an important building block of our nation's history. This guide represents an effort to simplify the work of all researchers who are interested in using this wonderful resource for writing Rhode Island history. Diary research can be frustrating because of the time required to evaluate the source. Who was the author? Where was she writing from? What was her place in society? How old was she? What did she have to say? Now, it should be possible to answer these questions in moments. This guide will certainly not replace the use of the originals, but it will allow researchers to select the diaries best suited to their needs.

            For researchers looking for a particular sort of woman (age, location, class, ethnicity, time period), the numerous lists in the front of this guide may be of use. For researchers looking for a specific sort of content, it might be best to browse through the records for individual diaries. All of the diaries have at least been skimmed for various categories of content and particularly interesting or representative passages have been transcribed. The guide is organized alphabetically by author. For organizational purposes, the woman’s name at her death was used.

            The original diary guide had 79 entries, all by Rick Stattler in 1997. The following persons compiled a total of 61 additional entries, mostly between 2001 and 2004: Robin Alario, Michael Cardin, Karen Eberhart, Andrew Kerr, Greg McGurin, Lori Salotto and Rick Stattler. The style and format varies depending on the cataloger and the editing process was not as careful as it should have been. However, we hope that this guide will still be of value for researching the history of the women of Rhode Island.


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Alphabetical index


Page    Author                                                                        Dates of Diaries


30        Aldrich, Abby Pearce (Chapman) (Greene)               From 1910 to 1911

34        Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander)                                      From 1902 to 1970

37        Aldrich, Lucy Truman                                                From 1885 to 1919

34        Alexander, Harriet                                          See: Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander)

39        Allen, Eliza H. (Arnold)                                             From 1837 to 1841

42        Allen, Elizabeth G. (Lawrence)                                  From 1936 to 1938

44        Armington, Edith Amelia                                            From 1911 to 1929

50        Armington, Theodora G. (Bowen)                             From 1886 to 1900

39        Arnold, Eliza Harriet                                       See: Allen, Eliza H. (Arnold)

53        Babbitt, Sophia C. (Harris)                                         From 1871 to 1892

414      Babcock, Valena W.                                      See: Watkins, Valena W. (Babcock)

56        Bacon, Ellen                                                               From 1846 to 1855

59        Baker, Betsey (Metcalf)                                             From 1798 to 1804

62        Barker, Mary H. (Riley)                                             From 1935 to 1935

64        Barstow, Emeline M. (Eames)                                    From 1836 to 1839

340      Barstow, Grace E.                                          See: Murphy, Grace E. (Barstow)

67        Barstow, Grace M. (Palmer)                                      From 1873 to 1907

69        Battey, Miriam G. (Macomber)                                  From 1932 to 1932

73        Bayles, Julia (Rider)                                                   From 1869 to 1870

76        Bengston, Madeline                                                   From 1931 to 1944

286      Bennett, Harriet Frances "Hattie"                    See: Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett)

100      Binney, Avis                                                   See: Brown, Avis (Binney)

79        Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan)                                      From 1905 to 1965

83        Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg)                                   From 1897 to 1912

87        Blake, Mary Saunders (Johnson) (Mosher)                From 1863 to 1863

310      Bowen, Julia                                                   See: Martin, Julia (Bowen)

50        Bowen, Theodora Greene                               See: Armington, Theodora G. (Bowen)

90        Bray, Gertrude C.                                                      From 1918 to 1919

92        Brayton, Celia G. (Clarke)                                         From 1829 to 1829

411      Brayton, Lydia F.                                           See: Walker, Lydia F. (Brayton)

357      Bridgham, Eliza Williams                                See: Patten, Eliza W. (Bridgham)

95        Brockelman, Flora M. (McGimsey)                            From 1938 to 1938

98        Brougham, Augusta P. (Webster)                               From 1944 to 1948

191      Brown, Abby                                                  See: Francis, Abby (Brown)

194      Brown, Ann Carter                                         See: Francis, Ann C. (Brown)

100      Brown, Avis (Binney)                                                 From 1793 to 1804

103      Brown, Isabel B.                                             See: Brunschwig, Isabel B. (Brown)

263      Brown, Sarah                                                  See: Herreshoff, Sarah (Brown)

281      Brownell, Henrietta                                          See: Jenckes, Henrietta (Brownell)

103      Brunschwig, Isabel B. (Brown)                                  From 1922 to 1927

105      Bullock, Sarah Bartlett                                               From 1864 to 1921

109      Burge, Marie Louise                                                  From 1886 to 1907

111      Burgess, Marion M. (Walling)                                    From 1882 to 1899

114      Butterworth, Eleonora T. (Thornlimb)                         From 1930 to 1930

377      Calder, Mary E.                                              See: Robertson, Mary E. (Calder)

154      Carpenter, Lucy Daniels                                  See: Cushman, Lucy D. (Carpenter)

117      Carrington, Candace C. (Dorr)                                   From 1862 to 1886

160      Carstein, Mary Remington (Congdon)              See: Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon)

283      Carter, Rebecca                                              See: Jenckes, Rebecca (Carter)

119      Chace, Anna H.                                                          From 1904 to 1921

121      Chace, Elizabeth M.                                                    From 1904 to 1921

123      Chace, Jane C. (Moon)                                               From 1904 to 1911

210      Chace, Sarah Anna                                         See: Greene, Sarah A. (Chace)

125      Chafee, Mary D. (Sharpe)                                           From 1889 to 1889

30        Chapman, Abby Pearce                                  See: Aldrich, Abby Pearce (Chapman)

128      Chapman, Zerviah (Sanger)                                         From 1775 to 1783

131      Chesebrough, Caroline L. (Herreshoff)                        From 1853 to 1855

391      Clarke, Abby Morton                                     See: Stimson, Abby M. (Clarke)

92        Clarke, Celia Greene                                      See: Brayton, Celia G. (Clarke)

216      Clarke, Helen                                                 See: Grimes, Helen (Clarke)

133      Clarke, Ida M.                                                            From 1869 to 1879

136      Collins, Caroline Updike (Eddy)                                  From 1904 to 1904

366      Collins, Elizabeth "Betsy"                                See: Purinton, Elizabeth "Betsy" (Collins)

375      Colt, Ethel                                                      See: Ritchie, Ethel (Colt)

138      Comstock, Alice (Greene)                                          From 1897 to 1897

141      Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague)                                  From 1841 to 1854

160      Congdon, Mary Remington                             See: Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon)

146      Cook, Lucia G. (Moses)                                             From 1898 to 1920

439      Cook, Maria Louisa                                        See: Wing, Maria Louisa (Cook)

149      Cook, Sarah Crawford                                               From 1809 to 1817

152      Cornelius, Laura Gertrude (Smith)                               From 1926 to 1926

154      Cushman, Lucy D. (Carpenter)                                   From 1883 to 1883

157      Dauchy, Maria (Lefferts)                                             From 1836 to 1836

372      Dawley, Mary Matilda                                    See: Reynolds, Mary M. (Dawley)

160      Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein)                   From 1854 to 1916

164      DeCoppet, Beatrice                                                    From 1916 to 1928

167      DeCoppet, Gertrude                                                   From 1920 to 1924

169      DeCoppet, Laura (Fawcett)                                        From 1874 to 1921

406      DeWolf, Katherine Kilton (Herreshoff)            See: Tubbs, Katherine K. (Herreshoff)

171      DeWolf, Mary J. (Merchant)                                      From 1910 to 1946

174      Diman, Louise                                                            From 1880 to 1954

117      Dorr, Candace C.                                            See: Carrington, Candace C. (Dorr)

177      Duncan, Susanna (Lear)                                             From 1788 to 1788

64        Eames, Emeline M.                                          See: Barstow, Emeline M. (Eames)

181      Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles)                            From 1830 to 1856

136      Eddy, Caroline (Updike)                                 See: Collins, Caroline Updike (Eddy)

169      Fawcett, Laura                                                See: DeCoppet, Laura (Fawcett)

185      Fearney, Hester                                                          From 1873 to 1874

187      Fitts, Helen L.                                                             From 1904 to 1904

189      Flaxman, Esther (Saslaw)                                            From 1968 to 1968

191      Francis, Abby (Brown)                                               From 1792 to 1820

194      Francis, Ann C. (Brown)                                             From 1823 to 1828

448      Francis, Anne Brown                                     See: Woods, Anne Brown (Francis)

196      Gammell, Elizabeth A. (Ives)                                        From 1851 to 1852

198      Gibbs, Ann DeWolf (Lovett)                                        From 1852 to 1853

347      Gladding, Sarah Cary                                     See: Ormsbee, Sarah C. (Gladding)

201      Goff, Almira W. (Thornton)                                       From 1903 to 1903

442      Goff, Elizabeth Lee                                         See: Wood, Elizabeth L. (Goff)

203      Grant, Abby Florence (Pirce)                                     From 1896? to 1911

205      Green, Edith (Jackson)                                               From 1910 to 1911

30        Greene, Abby Pearce (Chapman)                   See: Aldrich, Abby Pearce (Chapman)

138      Greene, Alice                                                 See: Comstock, Alice (Greene)

208      Greene, Mary L.                                                         From 1836 to 1836

210      Greene, Sarah A. (Chace)                                           From 1843 to 1854

213      Griffin, Abbie (Hoxsie)                                                From 1879 to 1879

216      Grimes, Helen (Clarke)                                               From 1920 to 1945

221      Grinnell, Elizabeth Frances                                          From 1904 to 1904

83        Hallborg, Signe Adina                                     See: Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg)

224      Harbach, Agnes Sophia                                              From 1948 to 1948

227      Harris, Alice Frances                                                  From 1886 to 1887

230      Harris, Sarah G.                                                         From 1861 to 1865

235      Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes)                                           From 1867 to 1890

53        Harris, Sophia C.                                            See: Babbitt, Sophia C. (Harris)

235      Hawes, Sarah H.                                             See: Harris, Sarah H.

241      Hazard, Caroline                                                        From 1897 to 1917

243      Hazard, Caroline (Newbold)                                      From 1827 to 1827

245      Hazard, Margaret Anna (Rood)                                  From 1860 to 1860

248      Hazard, Mary P. (Peace)                                            From 1787 to 1788

251      Henley, Frances Evelyn                                              From 1922 to 1954

255      Herreshoff, Agnes                                                      From 1821 to 1848

258      Herreshoff, Anna Francis                                           From 1817 to 1884

131      Herreshoff, Caroline Louisa                            See: Chesebrough, Caroline L. (Herreshoff)

406      Herreshoff, Katherine Kilton                           See: Tubbs, Katherine K. (Herreshoff)

260      Herreshoff, Sally Brown                                            From 1888 to 1888

263      Herreshoff, Sarah (Brown)                                         From 1796 to 1796

266      Herreshoff, Sarah L. (Kilton)                                     From 1881 to 1885

321      Himes, Rosabelle ("Belle")                               See: Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes)

213      Hoxsie, Abbie                                                 See: Griffin, Abbie (Hoxsie)

269      Hunt, Alice Winsor                                                    From 1905 to 1906

271      Ingall, Marjorie                                                          From 1977 to 1979

196      Ives, Elizabeth Amory                                    See: Gammell, Elizabeth A. (Ives)

272      Ives, Harriet Bowen                                                   From 1858 to 1860

205      Jackson, Edith                                                See: Green, Edith (Jackson)

274      Jacobs, Anne                                                              From 1864 to 1865

278      Janvier, Emma (Newbold)                                          From 1828 to 1828

327      Jaques, Grace E.                                             See: McNamara, Grace E. (Jaques)

281      Jenckes, Henrietta (Brownell)                                     From 1883 to 1883

283      Jenckes, Rebecca (Carter)                                          From 1794 to 1828

286      Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett)                                        From 1872 to 1872

87        Johnson, Mary Saunders                                See: Blake, Mary Saunders (Johnson)

266      Kilton, Sarah Lucas "Sadie"                           See: Herreshoff, Sarah L. (Kilton)

290      Knowlton, Marion                                                      From 1937 to 1938

294      Kroener, Edna L.                                                        From 1908 to 1921

298      LaFarge, Florence Bayard (Lockwood)                     From 1901 to 1938

303      Latham, Mehitable (Pearce)                                       From 1831 to 1833

42        Lawrence, Elizabeth Grinnell                            See: Allen, Elizabeth G. (Lawrence)

177      Lear, Susanna                                                 See: Duncan, Susanna (Lear)

157      Lefferts, Maria                                                See: Dauchy, Maria (Lefferts)

305      Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)                                      From 1886 to 1950

421      Lippitt, Jeanie                                                 See: Weeden, Jeanie (Lippitt)

380      Locher, Lila                                                    See: Roland, Lila (Locher) (McVay)

298      Lockwood, Florence Bayard                          See: LaFarge, Florence Bayard (Lockwood)

198      Lovett, Ann DeWolf                                       See: Gibbs, Ann DeWolf (Lovett)

79        MacLellan, Rowena                                       See: Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan)

69        Macomber, Miriam G.                                    See: Battey, Miriam G. (Macomber)

315      Madison, Celia Maria                                     See: Mathewson, Celia M. (Madison)

308      Madison, Louise                                                         From 1931 to 1932

445      Marshall, Almira                                            See: Woods, Almira (Marshall)

310      Martin, Julia (Bowen)                                                From 1799 to 1799

181      Mason, Sarah Brown                                      See: Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles)

315      Mathewson, Celia M. (Madison)                                From 1907 to 1907

317      Matteson, Ella J.                                                         From 1905 to 1913

321      Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes)                                     From 1890 to 1918

95        McGimsey, Flora M.                                      See: Brockelman, Flora M. (McGimsey)

327      McNamara, Grace E. (Jaques)                                    From 1924 to 1924

393      McVay, Lila                                                   See: Swan, Lila (McVay)

380      McVay, Lila (Locher)                                                See: Roland, Lila (Locher) (McVay)

171      Merchant, Mary J.                                          See: DeWolf, Mary J. (Merchant)

332      Merriman, Helen Abbe (Pearce)                                From 1893 to 1893

382      Messinger, Shirley Canfield                            See: Round, Shirley C. (Messinger)

59        Metcalf, Betsey                                              See: Baker, Betsey (Metcalf)

123      Moon, Jane C.                                                See: Chace, Jane C. (Moon)

335      Moore, Louise K. (Winsor)                                        From 1992 to 1992

337      Moran, Madeleine F.                                                  From 1948 to 1983

146      Moses, Lucia Gray                                         See: Cook, Lucia G. (Moses)

87        Mosher, Mary Saunders (Johnson)                 See: Blake, Mary Saunders (Johnson)

398      Mowry, Jeanette                                             See: Tiffany, Jeanette (Mowry)

340      Murphy, Grace E. (Barstow)                                      From 1907 to 1907

243      Newbold, Caroline                                         See: Hazard, Caroline (Newbold)

278      Newbold, Emma                                             See: Janvier, Emma (Newbold)

342      Newton, Bessie Cahoone                                            From 1929 to 1931

428      Nicholson, Elizabeth                                      See: White, Elizabeth (Nicholson)

345      Nightingale, Abby                                                      From 1811 to 1812

347      Ormsbee, Sarah C. (Gladding)                                   From 1843 to 1855

350      Paine, Bessie Rose                                                     From 1906 to 1940

353      Paine, Emily Hester                                                    From 1903 to 1974

67        Palmer, Grace Mason                                     See: Barstow, Grace M. (Palmer)

357      Patten, Eliza W. (Bridgham)                                      From 1818 to 1818

248      Peace, Mary P.                                                See: Hazard, Mary P. (Peace)

395      Pearce, Adelyn Betsey                                    See: Thurber, Adelyn B. (Pearce)

332      Pearce, Helen Abbe                                        See: Merriman, Helen Abbe (Pearce)

303      Pearce, Mehitable                                           See: Latham, Mehitable (Pearce)

435      Phelon, Alice Greene                                     See: Wilcox, Alice G. (Phelon) (Poland)

203      Pirce, Abby Florence                                      See: Grant, Abby Florence (Pirce)

435      Poland, Alice Greene (Phelon)                       See: Wilcox, Alice G. (Phelon) (Poland)

361      Potter, Mary Elizabeth                                                 From 1864 to 1865

363      Powers, Sarah                                                             From 1873 to 1873

435      Prew, Alice Greene (Phelon) (Poland)          See: Wilcox, Alice G. (Phelon) (Poland)

366      Purinton, Elizabeth "Betsy" (Collins)                              From 1819 to 1824

372      Reynolds, Mary M. (Dawley)                                       From 1856 to 1864

403      Richmond, Lusanna                                        See: Tillinghast, Lusanna (Richmond)

73        Rider, Julia A.                                                See: Bayles, Julia (Rider)

62        Riley, Mary Henchliffe                                    See: Barker, Mary H. (Riley)

375      Ritchie, Ethel (Colt)                                                   From 1931 to 1931

377      Robertson, Mary E. (Calder)                                      From 1874 to 1874

380      Roland, Lila (Locher) (McVay)                                 From 1960 to 1963

245      Rood, Margaret Anna                                   See: Hazard, Margaret Anna (Rood)

382      Round, Shirley C. (Messinger)                                   From 1935 to 1944

181      Ruggles, Sarah Brown (Mason)                     See: Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles)

128      Sanger, Zerviah                                              See: Chapman, Zerviah (Sanger)

189      Saslaw, Esther                                                See: Flaxman, Esther (Saslaw)

125      Sharpe, Mary Dexter                                      See: Chafee, Mary D. (Sharpe)

388      Slade, Mary                                                                From 1840 to 1840

152      Smith, Laura Gertrude                                    See: Cornelius, Laura Gertrude (Smith)

141      Sprague, Cynthia Anthony                             See: Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague)

417      Stewart, Cora Baxter                                      See: Watson, Cora B. (Stewart)

391      Stimson, Abby M. (Clarke)                                        From 1850 to 1867

451      Sutcliffe, Evelyn Estella                                 See: Wosko, Evelyn E. (Sutcliffe)

393      Swan, Lila (McVay)                                                   From 1960 to 1960

424      Sweet, Julia                                                    See: Weir, Julia (Sweet)

114      Thornlimb, Eleonora T.                                  See: Butterworth, Eleonora T. (Thornlimb)

201      Thornton, Almira Wheaton                            See: Goff, Almira W. (Thornton)

395      Thurber, Adelyn B. (Pearce)                                      From 1937 to 1937

398      Tiffany, Jeanette (Mowry)                                          From 1907 to 1907

403      Tillinghast, Lusanna (Richmond)                               From 1816 to 1819

406      Tubbs, Katherine K. (Herreshoff) (deWolf)               From 1887 to 1887

409      Updike, Aritis                                                             From 1830 to 1830

411      Walker, Lydia F. (Brayton)                                        From 1877 to 1899

111      Walling, Marion Melissa                                See: Burgess, Marion M. (Walling)

414      Watkins, Valena W. (Babcock)                                  From 1915 to 1915

417      Watson, Cora B. (Stewart)                                         From 1894 to 1932

305      Watson, Harriette Sprague                             See: Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)

98        Webster, Augusta P.                                       See: Brougham, Augusta P. (Webster)

421      Weeden, Jeanie (Lippitt)                                            From 1882 to 1882

424      Weir, Julia (Sweet)                                                     From 1837 to 1839

428      White, Elizabeth (Nicholson)                                     From 1928 to 1928

430      Whiting, Nellie (Woolhouse)                                     From 1986 to 1991

435      Wilcox, Alice G. (Phelon) (Poland) (Prew)               From 1896 to 1896

439      Wing, Maria Louisa (Cook)                                       From 1881 to 1892

335      Winsor, Louise King                                      See: Moore, Louise K. (Winsor)

442      Wood, Elizabeth L. (Goff)                                         From 1884 to 1934

445      Woods, Almira (Marshall)                                         From 1830 to 1833

448      Woods, Anne Brown (Francis)                                   From 1848 to 1852

430      Woolhouse, Nellie                                          See: Whiting, Nellie (Woolhouse)

451      Wosko, Evelyn E. (Sutcliffe)                                     From 1915 to 1916

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Chronological listing


Diary dates     Author


1775-1783      Chapman, Zerviah (Sanger) (1718-1812)

1787-1788      Hazard, Mary P. (Peace) (1775-1852)

1788-1788      Duncan, Susanna (Lear) (b.1770)

1792-1820      Francis, Abby (Brown) (1766-1821)

1793-1804      Brown, Avis (Binney) (1748-1807)

1794-1828      Jenckes, Rebecca (Carter) (1778-1837)

1796-1796      Herreshoff, Sarah (Brown) (1773-1846)

1798-1804      Baker, Betsey (Metcalf) (1786-1867)

1799-1799      Martin, Julia (Bowen) (1779-1805)

1809-1817      Cook, Sarah Crawford (1796-1882)

1811-1812      Nightingale, Abby (1768-1853)

1816-1819      Tillinghast, Lusanna (Richmond) (1800-1862)

1817-1884      Herreshoff, Anna Francis (1802-1887)

1818-1818      Patten, Eliza W. (Bridgham) (1799-1882)

1819-1824      Purinton, Elizabeth "Betsy" (Collins) (1769-1839)

1821-1848      Herreshoff, Agnes (1807-1849)

1823-1828      Francis, Ann C. (Brown) (1795-1828)

1827-1827      Hazard, Caroline (Newbold) (1807-1866)

1828-1828      Janvier, Emma (Newbold) (1811-1889)

1829-1829      Brayton, Celia G. (Clarke) (1808-1880)

1830-1830      Updike, Aritis (1819-1875)

1830-1833      Woods, Almira (Marshall) (1804-1863)

1830-1856      Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles) (1804-1864)

1831-1833      Latham, Mehitable (Pearce) (1770-1843)

1836-1836      Greene, Mary L. (1821-1836)

1836-1836      Dauchy, Maria (Lefferts) (1797-1881)

1836-1839      Barstow, Emeline M. (Eames) (1813-1900)

1837-1839      Weir, Julia (Sweet) (1820-1900)

1837-1841      Allen, Eliza H. (Arnold) (1796-1873)

1840-1840      Slade, Mary (1822-1850)

1841-1854      Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague) (1820-1880)

1843-1854      Greene, Sarah A. (Chace) (1818-1904)

1843-1855      Ormsbee, Sarah C. (Gladding) (1800-1873)

1846-1855      Bacon, Ellen (1827-1857)

1848-1852      Woods, Anne Brown (Francis) (1828-1896)

1850-1867      Stimson, Abby M. (Clarke) (1798-1882)

1851-1852      Gammell, Elizabeth A. (Ives) (1830-1897)

1852-1853      Gibbs, Ann DeWolf (Lovett) (b.1839)

1853-1855      Chesebrough, Caroline L. (Herreshoff) (1837-1924)

1854-1916      Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein) (1842-1916)

1856-1864      Reynolds, Mary M. (Dawley) (1841-1918)

1858-1860      Ives, Harriet Bowen (1832-1860)

1860-1860      Hazard, Margaret Anna (Rood) (1834-1895)

1861-1865      Harris, Sarah G. (1844-1865)

1862-1886      Carrington, Candace C. (Dorr) (1815-1886)

1863-1863      Blake, Mary Saunders (Johnson) (Mosher) (1805-1888)

1864-1865      Potter, Mary Elizabeth (1820-1901)

1864-1865      Jacobs, Anne (1822-a1880)

1864-1921      Bullock, Sarah Bartlett (1840-1921)

1867-1890      Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes) (1812-1890)

1869-1870      Bayles, Julia (Rider) (1848-b1880)

1869-1879      Clarke, Ida M. (1853-1886)

1871-1892      Babbitt, Sophia C. (Harris) (1854-1928)

1872-1872      Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett) (1835-1919)

1873-1873      Powers, Sarah (c1842 - ?)

1873-1874      Fearney, Hester (1851-1880)

1873-1907      Barstow, Grace M. (Palmer) (1850-1933)

1874-1874      Robertson, Mary E. (Calder) (1858-1924)

1874-1921      DeCoppet, Laura (Fawcett) (ca.1850-1923)

1877-1899      Walker, Lydia F. (Brayton) (1848-1903)

1879-1879      Griffin, Abbie (Hoxsie) (1816-1898)

1880-1954      Diman, Louise (1869-1954)

1881-1885      Herreshoff, Sarah L. (Kilton) (1836-1906)

1881-1892      Wing, Maria Louisa (Cook) (1835-a.1900)

1882-1882      Weeden, Jeanie (Lippitt) (1852-1940)

1882-1899      Burgess, Marion M. (Walling) (1844-1902)

1883-1883      Jenckes, Henrietta (Brownell) (1860-1917)

1883-1883      Cushman, Lucy D. (Carpenter) (1861-1942)

1884-1934      Wood, Elizabeth L. (Goff) (1869-1948)

1885-1919      Aldrich, Lucy Truman (1871-1955)

1886-1887      Harris, Alice Frances (1843-1887 )

1886-1900      Armington, Theodora G. (Bowen) (1877-1967)

1886-1907      Burge, Marie Louise (1865-1952)

1886-1950      Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson) (1874-1958)

1887-1887      Tubbs, Katherine K. (Herreshoff) (deWolf) (1871-1954)

1888-1888      Herreshoff, Sally Brown (1845-)

1889-1889      Chafee, Mary D. (Sharpe) (1860-1932)

1890-1918      Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes) (1852-1920)

1893-1893      Merriman, Helen Abbe (Pearce) (1876-1971)

1894-1932      Watson, Cora B. (Stewart) (1866-1936)

1896-1896      Wilcox, Alice G. (Phelon) (Poland) (Prew) (1878-1959)

1896?-1911     Grant, Abby Florence (Pirce) (1877-1957)

1897-1897      Comstock, Alice (Greene) (1857-1938)

1897-1912      Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg) (1881-1912)

1897-1917      Hazard, Caroline (1856-1945)

1898-1920      Cook, Lucia G. (Moses) (c1854-c1924)

1901-1938      LaFarge, Florence Bayard (Lockwood) (1864-1944)

1902-1970      Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander) (1888-1972)

1903-1903      Goff, Almira W. (Thornton) (1842-1921)

1903-1974      Paine, Emily Hester (1884-1974)

1904-1904      Collins, Caroline Updike (Eddy) (1884-1969)

1904-1904      Grinnell, Elizabeth Frances (1852-1906)

1904-1904      Fitts, Helen L. (1894-1971)

1904-1911      Chace, Jane C. (Moon) (1831-1914)

1904-1921      Chace, Anna H. (1856-1945)

1904-1921      Chace, Elizabeth M. (1868-1955)

1905-1906      Hunt, Alice Winsor (1892-1968)

1905-1913      Matteson, Ella J. (1905-1913)

1905-1965      Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan) (1886-1965)

1906-1940      Paine, Bessie Rose (1891-1971)

1907-1907      Tiffany, Jeanette (Mowry) (1871-1972)

1907-1907      Murphy, Grace E. (Barstow) (1888-1975)

1907-1907      Mathewson, Celia M. (Madison) (b.1857)

1908-1921      Kroener, Edna L. (1890-1983)

1910-1911      Green, Edith (Jackson) (1876-1971)

1910-1911      Aldrich, Abby Pearce (Chapman) (Greene) (1844-1917)

1910-1946      DeWolf, Mary J. (Merchant) (1870-ca.1946)

1911-1929      Armington, Edith Amelia (1861-1937)

1915-1915      Watkins, Valena W. (Babcock) (1875 - after 1956)

1915-1916      Wosko, Evelyn E. (Sutcliffe) (1897-1995)

1916-1928      DeCoppet, Beatrice (1878-a.1955)

1918-1919      Bray, Gertrude C. (1888-1975)

1920-1924      DeCoppet, Gertrude (1880-a.1955)

1920-1945      Grimes, Helen (Clarke) (1905-1989)

1922-1927      Brunschwig, Isabel B. (Brown) (1881-1952)

1922-1954      Henley, Frances Evelyn (1873-1955)

1924-1924      McNamara, Grace E. (Jaques) (1885-1983)

1926-1926      Cornelius, Laura Gertrude (Smith) (1882-1954)

1928-1928      White, Elizabeth (Nicholson) (1877-1961)

1929-1931      Newton, Bessie Cahoone (1878)

1930-1930      Butterworth, Eleonora T. (Thornlimb) (1901-ca.1981)

1931-1931      Ritchie, Ethel (Colt) (1888-1973)

1931-1932      Madison, Louise (1882-a.1932)

1931-1944      Bengston, Madeline (1907-1996)

1932-1932      Battey, Miriam G. (Macomber) (1910-1996)

1935-1944      Round, Shirley C. (Messinger) (1922-1978)

1935-1935      Barker, Mary H. (Riley) (c1880-1959)

1936-1938      Allen, Elizabeth G. (Lawrence) (1907-1985)

1937-1937      Thurber, Adelyn B. (Pearce) (1899-a.1961)

1937-1938      Knowlton, Marion (1906-2002)

1938-1938      Brockelman, Flora M. (McGimsey) (1892-1976)

1944-1948      Brougham, Augusta P. (Webster) (1880-1967)

1948-1948      Harbach, Agnes Sophia (1878-a.1958)

1948-1983      Moran, Madeleine F. (1901-1999)

1960-1960      Swan, Lila (McVay) (1907-1965)

1960-1963      Roland, Lila (Locher) (McVay) (1883-)

1968-1968      Flaxman, Esther (Saslaw) (1914-2000)

1977-1979      Ingall, Marjorie (1967-)

1986-1991      Whiting, Nellie (Woolhouse) (1910-1996)

1992-1992      Moore, Louise K. (Winsor) (1913-1992)


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Geographical listings

Travel outside the U.S. (this list is certainly incomplete)


Bahamas, London, etc.                                   Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander)

Japan                                                              Aldrich, Lucy Truman

England, France                                              Babbitt, Sophia C. (Harris)

Europe                                                            Barstow, Grace M. (Palmer)

France and Germany.                                    Bray, Gertrude C.

Europe, Cuba                                                  Brunschwig, Isabel B. (Brown)

Europe                                                            Burgess, Marion M. (Walling)

England and France                                        Chafee, Mary D. (Sharpe)

Digby, Nova Scotia.                                       Cook, Lucia G. (Moses)

Paris, Peru, Valencia Spain and at sea            Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein)

Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Germany  Flaxman, Esther (Saslaw)

Europe                                                            Gammell, Elizabeth A. (Ives)

Europe and Middle East                                 Goff, Almira W. (Thornton)

Holland, Belgium, England                            Grant, Abby Florence (Pirce)

Great Britain, France                                      Grinnell, Elizabeth Frances

Europe                                                            Hazard, Margaret Anna (Rood)

England                                                          Hazard, Mary P. (Peace)

London, Scotland                                           Herreshoff, Sarah L. (Kilton)

Europe                                                            Hunt, Alice Winsor

Canada: Montreal, Chicoutimi, Quebec         Kroener, Edna L.

Europe                                                            Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)

Asia, Canada, Carribean, Europe                   Matteson, Ella J.

England                                                          Moore, Louise K. (Winsor)

Switzerland                                                     Murphy, Grace E. (Barstow)

France, Italy                                                   Newton, Bessie Cahoone

Montreal                                                         Paine, Emily Hester

At sea, Canary Islands, Morocco                    Watson, Cora B. (Stewart)

Europe                                                            Weeden, Jeanie (Lippitt)

Italy, France                                                   Weir, Julia (Sweet)

Atlantic Ocean                                                White, Elizabeth (Nicholson)

Europe                                                            Wing, Maria Louisa (Cook)

Europe and Middle East                                 Wood, Elizabeth L. (Goff)

France, Italy                                                   Woods, Anne Brown (Francis)

United States outside Rhode Island


New York City                                                           Aldrich, Abby Pearce (Chapman) (Greene)

New York City, etc.                                                   Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander)

Washington, DC                                                         Aldrich, Lucy Truman

Savannah, GA; NY, etc.                                             Allen, Eliza H. (Arnold)

Pittsfield, NH                                                             Armington, Edith Amelia

New Haven, CT                                                         Bacon, Ellen

Dedham, MA                                                            Baker, Betsey (Metcalf)

Old Orchard Beach, ME; New York City                  Battey, Miriam G. (Macomber)

Cape Cod, MA                                                         Bayles, Julia (Rider)

Hartford, CT; Massachusetts; Maine; NYC                Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg)

Connecticut                                                                Brockelman, Flora M. (McGimsey)

Hawaii                                                                        Brunschwig, Isabel B. (Brown)

Brooklyn, NY                                                            Burge, Marie Louise

Jacksonville, FL                                                         Butterworth, Eleonora T. (Thornlimb)

Philadelphia                                                                Chace, Anna H.

Philadelphia                                                                Chace, Elizabeth M.

Philadelphia                                                                Chace, Jane C. (Moon)

Chicago and Evansville, IL                                           Cornelius, Laura Gertrude (Smith)

Worcester, MA                                                         Cushman, Lucy D. (Carpenter)

Troy, NY; Massachusetts                                           Dauchy, Maria (Lefferts)

Albany NY; North Carolina; New Orleans...

... Georgia; Alabama; San Francisco; Maine              Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein)

New York City                                                           DeCoppet, Beatrice

New York City                                                           DeCoppet, Gertrude

New York City                                                           DeCoppet, Laura (Fawcett)

Cambridge, MA; Colorado Springs; Paris, Maine       Diman, Louise

New York City; Boston                                             Duncan, Susanna (Lear)

Boston                                                                        Gibbs, Ann DeWolf (Lovett)

New York, near Albany                                             Grant, Abby Florence (Pirce)

Texas, near Houston                                                   Green, Edith (Jackson)

Massachusetts; Marietta, GA                                      Greene, Sarah A. (Chace)

New York; Connecticut and Maine                           Grimes, Helen (Clarke)

Taunton; New York City; Boston                               Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes)

Wellesley, MA; Santa Barbara, CA                            Hazard, Caroline

New York; Hoboken, NJ                                           Hazard, Caroline (Newbold)

Charleston. SC                                                           Hazard, Mary P. (Peace)

New York; Michigan; Jaffrey, NH                              Herreshoff, Sarah L. (Kilton)

Cambridge, MA                                                         Jacobs, Anne

Delaware                                                                    Janvier, Emma (Newbold)

New York City                                                          Jenckes, Rebecca (Carter)

Florida; New York City                                             Knowlton, Marion

Poughkeepsie; Lake George, NY; Franklin, NH         Kroener, Edna L.

Moosup, Connecticut                                                 Martin, Julia (Bowen)

Carmel, California                                                      Newton, Bessie Cahoone

New Jersey; Boston; Albany; New Hampshire...

...Eustis (Florida); Larchmont, NY                              Paine, Emily Hester

New England, New York                                           Patten, Eliza W. (Bridgham)

Great Barrington, MA; Philadelphia, PA                     Powers, Sarah

New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore...

...Washington, Norfolk, VA                                       Ritchie, Ethel (Colt)

New Holland, PA                                                      Roland, Lila (Locher) (McVay)

New Hampshire                                                          Round, Shirley C. (Messinger)

White Mountains in New Hampshire                         Tiffany, Jeanette (Mowry)

New York; Cleveland; Chicago; Omaha; Wyoming  Watkins, Valena W. (Babcock)

Beaufort, SC                                                            Watson, Cora B. (Stewart)

Kentucky; NYC; Alabama; etc.                                 Woods, Almira (Marshall)

Pittsfield, MA; New York                                          Woods, Anne Brown (Francis)

Diaries written in Rhode Island towns outside of Providence:


Barrington                                                      Tiffany, Jeanette (Mowry)

Barrington                                                      Harbach, Agnes Sophia

Bristol                                                             Tubbs, Katherine K. (Herreshoff) (deWolf)

Bristol                                                             Herreshoff, Sarah L. (Kilton)

Bristol                                                             Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes)

Bristol                                                             Herreshoff, Anna Francis

Bristol                                                             Herreshoff, Agnes

Bristol                                                             Herreshoff, Sally Brown

Bristol                                                             Francis, Abby (Brown)

Bristol                                                             Chesebrough, Caroline L. (Herreshoff)

Bristol                                                             Green, Edith (Jackson)

Charlestown (Quonochontaug)                       Brockelman, Flora M. (McGimsey)

Cranston                                                         Knowlton, Marion

Cranston (Pawtuxet)                                       Henley, Frances Evelyn

East Greenwich                                              Reynolds, Mary M. (Dawley)

East Greenwich                                              Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague)

East Greenwich                                              Brayton, Celia G. (Clarke)

East Greenwich                                              Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein)

East Greenwich                                              Bengston, Madeline

East Providence                                              Round, Shirley C. (Messinger)

East Providence                                              Armington, Edith Amelia

East Providence                                              Moran, Madeleine F.

Glocester (Chepachet)                                    Dauchy, Maria (Lefferts)

Johnston                                                         Latham, Mehitable (Pearce)

Little Compton                                               Tillinghast, Lusanna (Richmond)

Little Compton                                               Comstock, Alice (Greene)

Narragansett                                                   DeCoppet, Gertrude

Narragansett                                                   DeCoppet, Laura (Fawcett)

Narragansett                                                   DeCoppet, Beatrice

Narragansett (Point Judith)                             Round, Shirley C. (Messinger)

Newport                                                          Brougham, Augusta P. (Webster)

Newport                                                          Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg)

Newport                                                          Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan)

Newport                                                          Bayles, Julia (Rider)

Newport                                                          Clarke, Ida M.

Newport                                                          Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes)

North Kingstown                                            Madison, Louise

North Kingstown                                            Mathewson, Celia M. (Madison)

North Kingstown (Saunderstown)                  LaFarge, Florence B. (Lockwood)

North Kingstown (Saunderstown)                  Paine, Emily Hester

North Providence                                           Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles)

North Providence                                           Harris, Alice Frances

North Providence                                           Harris, Sarah G.

North Providence                                           Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes)

Pawtucket                                                       Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett)

Pawtucket                                                       Slade, Mary

Pawtucket                                                       Barker, Mary H. (Riley)

Portsmouth (Prudence Island)                        Thurber, Adelyn B. (Pearce)

Scituate (Fiskeville)                                       Walker, Lydia F. (Brayton)

Smithfield (Spragueville)                               Grimes, Helen (Clarke)

South Kingstown                                            Griffin, Abbie (Hoxsie)

South Kingstown                                            Updike, Aritis

South Kingstown (Kingston)                                      Potter, Mary Elizabeth

South Kingstown (Peace Dale)                      Hazard, Caroline

South Kingstown (Wakefield)                        Kroener, Edna L.

South Kingstown (Wakefield)                        Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)

Warren                                                            DeWolf, Mary J. (Merchant)

Warwick                                                         Francis, Ann C. (Brown)

Warwick                                                         Chapman, Zerviah (Sanger)

Warwick                                                         Whiting, Nellie (Woolhouse)

Woonsocket                                                    Powers, Sarah

Woonsocket                                                    Cook, Lucia G. (Moses)

Woonsocket                                                    McNamara, Grace E. (Jaques)

Diaries written largely in Providence


Downtown (Pine Street)                     Greene, Mary L.

Downtown (Richmond St.)                Cushman, Lucy D. (Carpenter)

Downtown (Union St.)                       Tillinghast, Lusanna (Richmond)

Downtown (Washington St.)              Robertson, Mary E. (Calder)

Downtown?                                        Battey, Miriam G. (Macomber)

East Side                                             Aldrich, Harriet(Alexander)

East Side                                             Aldrich, Lucy Truman

East Side                                             Allen, Elizabeth G. (Lawrence)

East Side                                             Babbitt, Sophia C. (Harris)

East Side                                             Baker, Betsey (Metcalf)

East Side                                             Brown, Avis (Binney)

East Side                                             Bullock, Sarah Bartlett

East Side                                             Burgess, Marion M. (Walling)

East Side                                             Carrington, Candace C. (Dorr)

East Side                                             Chace, Anna H.

East Side                                             Chace, Elizabeth M.

East Side                                             Chace, Jane C. (Moon)

East Side                                             Collins, Caroline Updike (Eddy)

East Side                                             Comstock, Alice (Greene)

East Side                                             Cook, Sarah Crawford

East Side                                             Dauchy, Maria (Lefferts)

East Side                                             Diman, Louise

East Side                                             Duncan, Susanna (Lear)

East Side                                             Green, Edith (Jackson)

East Side                                             Harbach, Agnes Sophia

East Side                                             Harris, Alice Frances

East Side                                             Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes)

East Side                                             Herreshoff, Agnes

East Side                                             Herreshoff, Anna Francis

East Side                                             Herreshoff, Sarah (Brown)

East Side                                             Ives, Harriet Bowen

East Side                                             Jenckes, Rebecca (Carter)

East Side                                             Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)

East Side                                             Martin, Julia (Bowen)

East Side                                             Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes)

East Side                                             Merriman, Helen Abbe (Pearce)

East Side                                             Nightingale, Abby

East Side                                             Purinton, Elizabeth "Betsy" (Collins)

East Side                                             Roland, Lila (Locher) (McVay)

East Side                                             Slade, Mary

East Side                                             Stimson, Abby M. (Clarke)

East Side                                             Swan, Lila (McVay)

East Side                                             Wilcox, Alice G. (Phelon) (Poland) (Prew)

Mount Hope (Camp St.)                     Fitts, Helen L.

Mount Hope (Larch/Doyle St.)          Grimes, Helen (Clarke)

North Main St.                                    Allen, Eliza H. (Arnold)

South Main St.                                    Ormsbee, Sarah C. (Gladding)

South Providence (Broad St.)             Blake, Mary Saunders (Johnson)

South Providence (Calla St.)              Fearney, Hester

South Providence (Elmwood Ave.)    Paine, Emily Hester

South Providence (Elmwood Ave.)    Paine, Bessie Rose

South Providence (Junction St.)         Butterworth, Eleonora T. (Thornlimb)

South Providence (Mawney St.)         Thurber, Adelyn B. (Pearce)

South Providence (Public St.)            Henley, Frances Evelyn

West Side (Greenwich St.)                 Jenckes, Henrietta (Brownell)

West Side (High St.)                          Barstow, Emeline M. (Eames)

West Side (Ortoleva Dr.)                    Wosko, Evelyn E. (Sutcliffe)

West Side (Sycamore St.)                   Armington, Theodora G. (Bowen)


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Age group breakdowns

For researchers looking for diaries of women from specific age groups, the following breakdowns might prove useful:

Diaries by girls aged 9 to 19:

Ages               Final name                                                                  Dates covered

9 - 10              Fitts, Helen L.                                                             1904-1904

9 - 23              Armington, Theodora G. (Bowen)                             1886-1900

10 - 12            Ingall, Marjorie                                                          1977-1979

10 - 17            Diman, Louise                                                            1880-1954

11 - 73            Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein)                 1854-1916

12 - 21            Round, Shirley C. (Messinger)                                   1935-1944

12 - 18            Baker, Betsey (Metcalf)                                             1798-1804

12 - 13            Gibbs, Ann DeWolf (Lovett)                                     1852-1853

12                    Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)                                      1886-1950

12 - 13            Hazard, Mary P. (Peace)                                            1787-1788

13                    Aldrich, Lucy Truman                                                1885-1919

13 - 81            Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander)                                      1902-1970

13 - 40            Herreshoff, Agnes                                                      1821-1848

13 - 21            Cook, Sarah Crawford                                                1809-1817

14                    Grimes, Helen (Clarke)                                              1920-1945

14                    Wood, Elizabeth L. (Goff)                                         1884-1934

14                    Greene, Mary L.                                                         1836-1836

14 - 82            Herreshoff, Anna Francis                                           1817-1884

14 - 49            Paine, Bessie Rose                                                     1906-1940

15                    Tubbs, Katherine K. (Herreshoff) (deWolf)               1887-1887

15 - 16            Jenckes, Rebecca (Carter)                                          1794-1794

15 - 16            Clarke, Ida M.                                                            1869-1879

15                    Robertson, Mary E. (Calder)                                      1874-1874

15 - 18            Tillinghast, Lusanna (Richmond)                               1816-1819

15 - 16            Reynolds, Mary M. (Dawley)                                    1856-1864

16 - 17            Merriman, Helen Abbe (Pearce)                                1893-1893

16 - 31            Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg)                                  1897-1912

16 - 18            Weir, Julia (Sweet)                                                     1837-1839

17                    Wilcox, Alice G. (Phelon) (Poland) (Prew)               1896-1896

17 - 19            Wosko, Evelyn E. (Sutcliffe)                                     1915-1916

17 - 38            Babbitt, Sophia C. (Harris)                                         1871-1892

17                    Janvier, Emma (Newbold)                                          1828-1828

17 - 20            Harris, Sarah G.                                                          1861-1865

18                    Kroener, Edna L.                                                        1908-1921

18                    Murphy, Grace E. (Barstow)                                      1907-1907

18                    Paine, Emily Hester                                                    1903-1974

18                    Slade, Mary                                                                1840-1840

18 - 28            Bacon, Ellen                                                               1846-1855

18                    Chesebrough, Caroline L. (Herreshoff)                      1853-1855

18                    Duncan, Susanna (Lear)                                             1788-1788 

19                    Martin, Julia (Bowen)                                                1799-1799

19                    Patten, Eliza W. (Bridgham)                                      1818-1818

19                    Hazard, Caroline (Newbold)                                      1827-1827

19 - 79            Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan)                                     1905-1965

19 - 20            Grant, Abby Florence (Pirce)                                     1896?-1911

Diaries by women aged 20-39:


9 - 23              Armington, Theodora G. (Bowen)                             1886-1900

11 - 73            Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein)                 1854-1916

12 - 21            Round, Shirley C. (Messinger)                                   1935-1944

13 - 81            Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander)                                      1902-1970

13 - 40            Herreshoff, Agnes                                                      1821-1848

13 - 21            Cook, Sarah Crawford                                                1809-1817

14 - 82            Herreshoff, Anna Francis                                           1817-1884

14 - 49            Paine, Bessie Rose                                                     1906-1940

16 - 31            Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg)                                  1897-1912

17 - 38            Babbitt, Sophia C. (Harris)                                         1871-1892

17 - 20            Harris, Sarah G.                                                          1861-1865

18 - 28            Bacon, Ellen                                                               1846-1855

19 - 79            Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan)                                     1905-1965

19 - 20            Grant, Abby Florence (Pirce)                                     1896?-1911

20                    Aldrich, Lucy Truman                                                1885-1919

20                    Updike, Aritis                                                             1830-1830

20, 24              Woods, Anne Brown (Francis)                                   1848-1852

20 - 32            Burge, Marie Louise                                                   1886-1907

20 - 21            Brayton, Celia G. (Clarke)                                         1829-1829

20 - 21            Bayles, Julia (Rider)                                                   1869-1870

20, 25-40        Grimes, Helen (Clarke)                                              1920-1945

20                    Collins, Caroline Updike (Eddy)                                1904-1904

20                    Chesebrough, Caroline L. (Herreshoff)                      1853-1855

21 - 22            Battey, Miriam G. (Macomber)                                  1932-1932

21 - 22            Gammell, Elizabeth A. (Ives)                                      1851-1852

21 - 22            Cushman, Lucy D. (Carpenter)                                  1883-1883

21 - 34            Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague)                                 1841-1854

22                    Jenckes, Henrietta (Brownell)                                    1883-1883

22                    Herreshoff, Sarah (Brown)                                         1796-1796

22                    Fearney, Hester                                                          1873-1874

23 - 80            Bullock, Sarah Bartlett                                               1864-1921

23 - 27            Barstow, Grace M. (Palmer)                                      1873-1907

23 - 26            Barstow, Emeline M. (Eames)                                   1836-1839

23 - 37            Bengston, Madeline                                                    1931-1944

23 - 89            Paine, Emily Hester                                                    1903-1974

24 - 26            Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)                                      1886-1950

24 - 51            Diman, Louise                                                            1880-1954

24 - 72            DeCoppet, Laura (Fawcett)                                        1874-1921

25 - 36            Greene, Sarah A. (Chace)                                           1843-1854

25, 31              Kroener, Edna L.                                                        1908-1921

25 - 28            Woods, Almira (Marshall)                                         1830-1833

25 - 51            Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles)                            1830-1856

26                    Hazard, Margaret Anna (Rood)                                  1860-1860

26 - 28            Ives, Harriet Bowen                                                   1858-1860

27 - 32            Francis, Ann C. (Brown)                                            1823-1828

27                    Chafee, Mary D. (Sharpe)                                          1889-1889

28 - 51            Walker, Lydia F. (Brayton)                                        1877-1899

28                    Watson, Cora B. (Stewart)                                         1894-1932

28                    Butterworth, Eleonora T. (Thornlimb)                       1930-1930

29 - 31            Allen, Elizabeth G. (Lawrence)                                  1936-1938

29                    Watkins, Valena W. (Babcock)                                  1915-1915

29 - 31            Bray, Gertrude C.                                                       1918-1919

30 - 53            Francis, Abby (Brown)                                               1792-1820

30                    Weeden, Jeanie (Lippitt)                                            1882-1882

31 - 76            Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)                                      1886-1950

31 - 32            Powers, Sarah                                                             1873-1873

32                    Knowlton, Marion                                                      1937-1938

33 - 36            Wood, Elizabeth L. (Goff)                                         1884-1934

33 - 34            Hunt, Alice Winsor                                                    1905-1906

34?                  Grant, Abby Florence (Pirce)                                     1896?-1911

34 - 35            Green, Edith (Jackson)                                               1910-1911

35 - 53            Chace, Elizabeth M.                                                   1904-1921

36 - 37            Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett)                                        1872-1872

36                    Tiffany, Jeanette (Mowry)                                          1907-1907

37 - 38            Thurber, Adelyn B. (Pearce)                                      1937-1937

37 - 49            DeCoppet, Beatrice                                                    1916-1928

37 - 74            LaFarge, Florence Bayard (Lockwood)                     1901-1938

38 - 39            McNamara, Grace E. (Jaques)                                    1924-1924

38                    Burgess, Marion M. (Walling)                                   1882-1899

38 - 66            Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes)                                     1890-1918

38                    Dauchy, Maria (Lefferts)                                            1836-1836

39 - 44            DeCoppet, Gertrude                                                   1920-1924

39 - 40            Comstock, Alice (Greene)                                          1897-1897

39 - 76            DeWolf, Mary J. (Merchant)                                      1910-1946

Diaries by women aged 40-59:


11 - 73            Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein)                 1854-1916

13 - 81            Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander)                                      1902-1970

13 - 40            Herreshoff, Agnes                                                      1821-1848

14 - 82            Herreshoff, Anna Francis                                           1817-1884

14 - 49            Paine, Bessie Rose                                                     1906-1940

19 - 79            Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan)                                     1905-1965

23 - 80            Bullock, Sarah Bartlett                                               1864-1921

23 - 89            Paine, Emily Hester                                                    1903-1974

24 - 51            Diman, Louise                                                            1880-1954

24 - 72            DeCoppet, Laura (Fawcett)                                        1874-1921

25 - 40            Grimes, Helen (Clarke)                                              1920-1945

25 - 51            Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles)                            1830-1856

28 - 51            Walker, Lydia F. (Brayton)                                        1877-1899

30 - 53            Francis, Abby (Brown)                                               1792-1820

31 - 76            Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)                                      1886-1950

35 - 53            Chace, Elizabeth M.                                                   1904-1921

37 - 49            DeCoppet, Beatrice                                                    1916-1928

37 - 74            LaFarge, Florence Bayard (Lockwood)                     1901-1938

38 - 66            Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes)                                     1890-1918

39 - 44            DeCoppet, Gertrude                                                   1920-1924

39 - 40            Comstock, Alice (Greene)                                          1897-1897

39 - 76            DeWolf, Mary J. (Merchant)                                      1910-1946

40 - 45            Brunschwig, Isabel B. (Brown)                                  1922-1927

40 - 45            Purinton, Elizabeth "Betsy" (Collins)                            1819-1824

40, 44              Allen, Eliza H. (Arnold)                                             1837-1841

40 - 58            Armington, Edith Amelia                                           1911-1929

42 - 55            Ormsbee, Sarah C. (Gladding)                                   1843-1855

42                    Herreshoff, Sally Brown                                            1888-1888

42 - 61            Hazard, Caroline                                                        1897-1917

42 - 43            Nightingale, Abby                                                      1811-1812

42                    Jacobs, Anne                                                              1864-1865

43 - 44            Harris, Alice Frances                                                  1886-1887

43 - 44            Potter, Mary Elizabeth                                                1864-1865

43                    Ritchie, Ethel (Colt)                                                   1931-1931

44                    Cornelius, Laura Gertrude (Smith)                             1926-1926

44 - 48            Herreshoff, Sarah L. (Kilton)                                     1881-1885

44 - 65            Cook, Lucia G. (Moses)                                             1898-1920

45 - 56            Brown, Avis (Binney)                                                  1793-1804

45                    Brockelman, Flora M. (McGimsey)                           1938-1938

45 - 48, 56      Wing, Maria Louisa (Cook)                                       1881-1892

46 - 81            Moran, Madeleine F.                                                  1948-1983

46 - 70            Carrington, Candace C. (Dorr)                                   1862-1886

47                    Aldrich, Lucy Truman                                                1885-1919

47 - 65            Chace, Anna H.                                                          1904-1921

48 - 49            Madison, Louise                                                         1931-1932

48 - 55            Burgess, Marion M. (Walling)                                   1882-1899

49                    Jenckes, Rebecca (Carter)                                          1828

49 - 81            Henley, Frances Evelyn                                              1922-1954

49 - 50            Mathewson, Celia M. (Madison)                                1907-1907

50                    White, Elizabeth (Nicholson)                                     1928-1928

51 - 68            Stimson, Abby M. (Clarke)                                        1850-1867

51 - 53            Newton, Bessie Cahoone                                            1929-1931

52                    Grinnell, Elizabeth Frances                                        1904-1904

53                    Swan, Lila (McVay)                                                   1960-1960

53 - 61            Matteson, Ella J.                                                         1905-1913

54                    Flaxman, Esther (Saslaw)                                           1968-1968

55                    Barker, Mary H. (Riley)                                             1935-1935

56 - 65            Chapman, Zerviah (Sanger)                                       1775-1783

56                    Barstow, Grace M. (Palmer)                                      1873-1907

58                    Blake, Mary S. (Johnson) (Mosher)                           1863-1863

59                    Goff, Almira W. (Thornton)                                       1903-1903

Diaries by women aged 60 or over:


53 - 61            Matteson, Ella J.                                                         1905-1913

42 - 61            Hazard, Caroline                                                        1897-1917

62 - 63            Griffin, Abbie (Hoxsie)                                              1879-1879

60 - 63            Latham, Mehitable (Pearce)                                       1831-1833

64 - 64            Wood, Elizabeth L. (Goff)                                         1884-1934

47 - 65            Chace, Anna H.                                                          1904-1921

56 - 65            Chapman, Zerviah (Sanger)                                       1775-1783

44 - 65            Cook, Lucia G. (Moses)                                             1898-1920

38 - 66            Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes)                                     1890-1918

66 - 66            Watson, Cora B. (Stewart)                                         1894-1932

66 - 67            Aldrich, Abby Pearce (Chapman) (Greene)               1910-1911

63 - 67            Brougham, Augusta P. (Webster)                               1944-1948

51 - 68            Stimson, Abby M. (Clarke)                                        1850-1867

46 - 70            Carrington, Candace C. (Dorr)                                   1862-1886

69 - 70            Harbach, Agnes Sophia                                              1948-1948

61 - 71            Diman, Louise                                                            1880-1954

24 - 72            DeCoppet, Laura (Fawcett)                                        1874-1921

11 - 73            Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein)                 1854-1916

37 - 74            LaFarge, Florence Bayard (Lockwood)                     1901-1938

39 - 76            DeWolf, Mary J. (Merchant)                                      1910-1946

31 - 76            Lewis, Harriette S. (Watson)                                      1886-1950

60 - 78            Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes)                                           1867-1890

19 - 79            Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan)                                     1905-1965

78 - 79            Moore, Louise K. (Winsor)                                        1992-1992

23 - 80            Bullock, Sarah Bartlett                                               1864-1921

76 - 80            Roland, Lila (Locher) (McVay)                                 1960-1963

72 - 80            Chace, Jane C. (Moon)                                               1904-1911

46 - 81            Moran, Madeleine F.                                                  1948-1983

49 - 81            Henley, Frances Evelyn                                              1922-1954

13 - 81            Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander)                                      1902-1970

14 - 82            Herreshoff, Anna Francis                                           1817-1884

77 - 84            Diman, Louise                                                            1880-1954

76 - 84            Whiting, Nellie (Woolhouse)                                     1986-1991

23 - 89            Paine, Emily Hester                                                    1903-1974

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Ethnic diversity

            There is very little ethnic diversity in this collection of diaries. Although Rhode Island is known as the most predominantly Catholic state in the union and has long been graced with large communities of Italian, Portuguese, African-American, Irish, Slavic, Native American, Jewish and French-Canadian descent, virtually none of these groups are represented among the 140 women whose diaries are in this collection. For this, we can only apologize. If anybody wishes to help rectify this situation through a gift, their generosity will be appreciated.

            Only three diaries in the collection do not appear to be by Protestant women of northern European ancestry. These include two Jewish diarists, Marjorie Ingall (whose diary is closed until her death) and Esther (Saslaw) Flaxman and one Irish-American diarist, Madeleine F. Moran.

            The remaining women who are represented in the collection are almost exclusively from old English settler stock dating back to the seventeenth century. The only other exceptions are several diaries by women who were probably what we could call Protestant ethnics. These include:


Three Swedish-American women: Madeline Bengston, Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg) Blaine, and Eleonora T. (Thornlimb) Butterworth.

One daughter of Scot immigrants: Rowena (MacLellan) Blaine.

One English immigrant (arriving as an adult in 1910): Mary H. (Riley) Barker.

One third-generation English-Scot girl: Hester Fearney.

One daughter of English immigrants: Nellie (Woolhouse) Whiting.

Two third-generation German-Americans: Edna L. Kroener and Shirley C. (Messinger) Round.

Two women of complex and partially Irish ancestry: Flora M. (McGimsey) Brockelman and Grace E. (Jaques) McNamara.

            One might also wish to count the Herreshoff family as "ethnic," as the founder of the family emigrated from Prussia in 1795. However, as he stepped almost directly off the boat and into the arms of one of the richest Yankee families in Providence, he would hardly qualify as one of the huddling masses yearning to breathe free. There are several other examples of "adopted Yankee" heritages represented in the collection.


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Class diversity

            Class lines are harder to draw than ethnic ones. However, it seems fair to say that the majority of women represented here are from the social elite, ranging from the “upper-middle class” to the "upper class." A telling sign of the insularity of this group is the frequency with which these women discuss each other in their diaries. Another sign is the frequency of European vacations. Class is not always synonymous with money, however. A woman like Sarah Bartlett Bullock, who never married and spent the last years of her life in difficult circumstances, was still to some extent an honorary member of the elite. She traveled in the same circles as the town's rulers and apparently never worked for wages.

            Only a few women represented here could be called “working class." Two wrote in the late nineteenth century. Ida Clarke was the semi-invalid daughter of a ropemaker who did knitting to bring in extra money to the family. Hester Fearney left school early to work as a seamstress and lived with her fish-peddler father in a raw neighborhood in South Providence. The remaining working-class diarists all wrote in the twentieth century. Mary (Riley) Barker was an English immigrant whose husband and sons were textile workers. Marion Knowlton, Madeleine Bengston and Madeleine Moran were all unmarried career secretary / stenographers. Grace (Jaques) McNamara was the wife of a Woonsocket street-car conductor. Nellie (Woolhouse) Whiting was the wife of a jewelry worker who had spent time in textile mills as a girl, though she later became a librarian. Eleonora (Thornlimb) Butterworth had worked as a telephone operator before her marriage to a warehouse manager.

            Several others came from what was known in the early nineteenth century as the artisan class; their fathers were skilled tradesmen working on their own accounts. Harriet (Bennett) Jencks' father was a retired locksmith and gunsmith in Pawtucket; they seems to live simply but comfortably. Betsey (Metcalf) Baker's father was a successful tanner; Mary (Dawley) Reynolds' widowed mother actually went to work in a textile mill during a difficult period.

            What follows is a very arbitrary list of women who fall somewhere on the spectrum from working to middle class.

Middle (artisan)          Baker, Betsey (Metcalf) (1786-1867)

Middle - working        Bengston, Madeline (1907-1996)

Working                     Barker, Mary H. (Riley) (c1880-1959)

Middle                        Battey, Miriam G. (Macomber) (1910-1996)

Middle                        Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan) (1886-1965)

Middle                        Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg) (1881-1912)

Middle                        Blake, Mary S. (Johnson) (Mosher) (1805-1888)

Middle?                      Bray, Gertrude C. (1888-1975)

Middle?                      Brockelmann, Flora McG. ()

Middle                        Brougham, Augusta P. (Webster) (1880-1967)

Middle (see above)     Bullock, Sarah Bartlett (1840-1921)

Working                     Butterworth, Eleonora T. (Thornlimb) (1901-ca.1981)

Middle?                      Chapman, Zerviah (Sanger) (1718-1812)

Working-middle         Clarke, Ida M. (1853-1886)

Middle                        Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague) (1820-1880)

Working                     Fearney, Hester (1851-1880)

Middle                        Fitts, Helen L. (1894-after 1974)

Middle                        Flaxman, Esther (Saslaw) (1914-2000)

Middle                        Greene, Mary L. (1821-1836)

Middle                        Greene, Sarah A. (Chace) (1818-1904)

Middle                        Grimes, Helen (Clarke) (1905-1989)

Middle                        Harbach, Agnes Sophia (1878-a1958)

Middle (artisan)          Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett) (1835-1919)

Working                     Knowlton, Marion (1906-2002)

Working-middle         McNamara, Grace E. (Jaques) (1885-1983)

Working-middle         Moran, Madeleine F. (1901-1999)

Middle                        Paine, Bessie Rose (1891-1971)

Middle                        Paine, Emily Hester (1884-1974)

Middle                        Powers, Sarah (c1842-c1880)

Middle                        Prew, Alice G. (Phelon) (Poland) (1879-a.1919)

Middle                        Purinton, Elizabeth "Betsy" (Collins) (1769-1839)

Middle - working        Reynolds, Mary M. (Dawley) (1841-1918)

Middle                        Ritchie, Ethel (Colt) (1888-1973)

Middle                        Slade, Mary (1822-1850)

Middle                        Tiffany, Jeanette (Mowry) (1871-1972)

Middle                        Walker, Lydia F. (1848-1903)

Working-middle         Whiting, Nellie (Woolhouse) (1910-1996)

Working                     Wosko, Evelyn E. (Sutcliffe) (1897-1995)


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            The provenance data is interesting when examined collectively. One might assume that something as personal as a family diary would tend to be donated at the initiative of a family, rather than through any efforts of a library. However, the following patterns suggest that collecting priorities by the Rhode Island Historical Society have strongly shaped the diary collection. The following table breaks down the gifts by decade.

1822-1899:     0

1900's:            2          (Eliza Bridgham and Eliza Allen)

1910's:            1          (Rebecca Carter)

1920's:            2          (Anne Jacobs and Henrietta Jenckes)

1930's:            0

1940's:            6          RIHS moves into new building under new management

1950's:            3

1960-1967:     4 

1968-1969:     9          New librarian in 1968; Manuscripts Division founded in 1969

1970-1974:     25        Curatorship of Nathaniel Shipton

1975-1979:     14        Curatorship of Nathaniel Shipton

1980-1984:     4          Curatorship of Harold Kemble

1985-1989:     14

1990-1994:     10 

1995-1999:     12

2000-2004:     21        Twelve of these were purchased, mostly via eBay.

Unknown:       12

            These fluctuations are best explained by changes in the operation of the library. It is clear that prior to 1940, the library did not make a policy of collecting women's diaries and had the preservation of antiquities as its primary goal. The first woman’s diary to arrive was Eliza Brigham’s travel journal in 1904, followed by the Eliza Allen diary in 1908. Only three women's diaries arrived during librarian Howard Chapin’s long tenure from 1912 to 1940. All were considered incidental parts of the papers of their families of Great White Men (the Carter-Danforth and Jenckes papers). I have heard it said about Chapin that he was never much interested in anything past 1700.

            In 1940, a new director assumed the helm of the Society and soon moved its headquarters into the more spacious John Brown House. The Society was revived from a long stupor and gifts started flowing in. We can assume that this new Director, William Roelker, considered women to be a legitimate part of history. Thirteen women’s diaries arrived from 1940 to 1967.

            This was nothing, however, compared to the explosion of gifts in 1968, the year new librarian Albert Klyberg began. He started a separate manuscripts division the following year. During this period, through the tenure of the first manuscripts curator, Nat Shipton, who left in 1979, no less than 48 women's diaries arrived, tripling our holdings. This explosion coincides with the emergence of women's history as a respected academic discipline and also reflects the Society's emergence as a professionally run academic library rather than a musty reliquary.

            After the departure of Shipton, however, the supply of diaries slowed up, despite a steady run of three curators interested in social history. Forty women’s diaries arrived in the next twenty years, less than Shipton hauled in over ten years. The pace quickened again after 2000, after the production of the first draft of this guide placed women’s diaries placed diaries in the spotlight. The arrival of the eBay Internet auction site also played a major role, allowing the inexpensive purchase of several great working-class diaries at a low cost.


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            What follows are a few very subjective lists, which might simply be termed “Curator's Favorites”. It is hoped that these lists will help bring some of the truly important diaries out of this mountain of information and into the hands of people who will appreciate them. As several different catalogers have worked with the diaries, some real jewels might still be missing from this list, but here are some good ones.

10 best for casual reading:

(handwriting is considered here):


Brockelman, Flora M. (McGimsey) (1892-1976)                  From 1938 to 1938

Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague) (1820-1880).                       From 1841 to 1854

Duncan, Susanna (Lear) (b.1770).                                          From 1788 to 1788

Grimes, Helen (Clarke) (1905-1989).                                    From 1920 to 1945

Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett) (1835-1919).                              From 1872 to 1872

Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes) (1852-1920)                            From 1890 to 1918

Paine, Emily Hester (1884-1974).                                          From 1903 to 1974

Watkins, Valena W. (Babcock) (1875 - after 1956).              From 1915 to 1915

Woods, Almira (Marshall) (1804-1863).                                From 1830 to 1833

Wosko, Evelyn E. (Sutcliffe) (1897-1995)                             From 1915 to 1916

10 best for national significance of the authors

(quality of the actual diary aside):

Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander) (1888-1972).                            From 1902 to 1970

Aldrich, Lucy Truman (1871-1955).                                        From 1885 to 1919

Bray, Gertrude C. (1888-1975).                                             From 1918 to 1919

Chace, Anna H. (1856-1945).                                               From 1904 to 1921

Greene, Sarah A. (Chace) (1818-1904).                                 From 1843 to 1854

Hazard, Caroline (1856-1945).                                               From 1897 to 1917

Henley, Frances Evelyn (1873-1955)                                     From 1922 to 1954

Watson, Cora B. (Stewart) (1866-1936).                                From 1894 to 1932

Weeden, Jeanie (Lippitt) (1852-1940).                                  From 1882 to 1882

Woods, Almira (Marshall) (1804-1863).                                From 1830 to 1833

10 best for representing unique perspectives:


Barker, Mary H. (Riley) (c1880-1959)                       English immigrant wife of factory worker

Fearney, Hester (1851-1880).                                     Fish-peddler's daughter

Fitts, Helen L. (1894-after 1974).                               9-year-old girl

Henley, Frances Evelyn (1873-1955)                         Rhode Island's first female architect

Herreshoff, Sally Brown (b.1845).                             Blind woman

Kroener, Edna L. (1890-1983).                                  Socialist and suffragette

Moran, Madeleine F. (1901-1999)                            Irish-American stenographer

Paine, Emily Hester (1884-1974).                              Touring musician.

Tubbs, Katherine K. (Herreshoff) (1871-1954)         Woman in process of divorce.

Weeden, Jeanie (Lippitt) (1852-1940).                      Deaf woman

10 best for the "old style" history

(insight into the great men and bygone ways of yesteryear):

Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander) (1888-1972).                            From 1902 to 1970

Baker, Betsey (Metcalf) (1786-1867).                                    From 1798 to 1804

Cook, Sarah Crawford (1796-1882).                                     From 1809 to 1817

Duncan, Susanna (Lear) (b.1770).                                          From 1788 to 1788

Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles) (1804-1864).                  From 1830 to 1856

Herreshoff, Anna Francis (1802-1887).                                 From 1817 to 1884

Herreshoff, Sarah (Brown) (1773-1846).                               From 1796 to 1796

Jenckes, Rebecca (Carter) (1778-1837).                                From 1794 to 1794

Martin, Julia (Bowen) (1779-1805).                                       From 1799 to 1799

Woods, Almira (Marshall) (1804-1863).                                From 1830 to 1833

10 best for the "new style" history

(insight into gender, class, and racial issues):

Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague) (1820-1880).                       From 1841 to 1854

Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles) (1804-1864).                  From 1830 to 1856

Grimes, Helen (Clarke) (1905-1989).                                    From 1920 to 1945

Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett) (1835-1919).                              From 1872 to 1872

Kroener, Edna L. (1890-1983).                                              From 1908 to 1921

Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes) (1852-1920)                            From 1890 to 1918

Paine, Emily Hester (1884-1974).                                          From 1903 to 1974

Prew, Alice G. (Phelon) (Poland) (1879-a.1919).                  From 1896 to 1896

Watson, Cora B. (Stewart) (1866-1936).                                From 1894 to 1932

Woods, Almira (Marshall) (1804-1863).                                From 1830 to 1833

10 least utilized quality diaries:

Bray, Gertrude C. (1888-1975).                                             From 1918 to 1919

Chapman, Zerviah (Sanger) (1718-1812)                               From 1775 to 1783

Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles) (1804-1864).                  From 1830 to 1856

Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett) (1835-1919).                              From 1872 to 1872

LaFarge, Florence Bayard (Lockwood) (1864-1944)            From 1901 to 1938

Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes) (1852-1920)                            From 1890 to 1918

Paine, Emily Hester (1884-1974).                                          From 1903 to 1974

Robertson, Mary E. (Calder) (1858-1924).                            From 1874 to 1874

Watson, Cora B. (Stewart) (1866-1936).                                From 1894 to 1932

Wilcox, Alice G. (Phelon) (1879-a.1919).                             From 1896 to 1896

10 most worthy of being published in a serious edited edition

(the next Martha Ballards), in order:

1. Grimes, Helen (Clarke) (1905-1989).                               From 1920 to 1945

2. Martin, Julia (Bowen) (1779-1805).                                  From 1799 to 1799

3. Jencks, Harriet F. (Bennett) (1835-1919).                         From 1872 to 1872

4. Kroener, Edna L. (1890-1983).                                         From 1908 to 1921

5. Woods, Almira (Marshall) (1804-1863).                            From 1830 to 1833

6. Eaton, Sarah B. (Mason) (Ruggles) (1804-1864).             From 1830 to 1856

7. Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague) (1820-1880).                  From 1841 to 1854

8. Matteson, Rosabelle (Himes) (1852-1920)                        From 1890 to 1918

9. Watson, Cora B. (Stewart) (1866-1936).                           From 1894 to 1932

10. LaFarge, Florence Bayard (Lockwood) (1864-1944)       From 1901 to 1938


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Notes on the Abby P. Aldrich Diary

Entries dated 1910 to 1911


Name at birth: Chapman, Abby Pearce

Name after marriage: Aldrich, Abby Pearce (Chapman) (Greene)

Birthdate and place: April 10, 1844 Norwich, CT

Death date and place: February 17, 1917 New York City, NY

Age range during diary: 66 - 67

Residence during diary: Warwick, RI and Washington, DC

Places written: New York City, NY

Biographical note: Abby Pearce Chapman (Greene ) Aldrich was born in Norwich, CT to Robert and Amy (Morgan) Chapman. Abby was the wife of longtime US Senator Nelson W. Aldrich. She resided in Providence with her husband and they had eleven children, three of whom died young.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Protestant

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 2

Number of pages: Vol. 1 - 113 pages; Vol. 2 - 26 pages

Exact dates: January 1, 1910 - May 3, 1911

Frequency of entries: Daily, except for January 9-28, 1911

How was author identified?: Outside of diary says Hon. Nelson W. Aldrich. Diary written by a woman and Abby was Nelson's wife.

Brief description: This diary describes approximately a year in the life of Abby P.C. (Greene) Aldrich, wife of a U.S. Senator. The diary is not extremely detailed, rather she jots down the weather and short items about what she and her family did on a particular day, and what Washington events she attended or did not attend and people she received. She also relates events from a visit to Florida from January 18-31. Prominent individuals in Rhode Island and Washington are mentioned briefly in relation to visits between each other.

Writing quality: Readable. Not extremely descriptive, short notes on days activities.

Related papers at RIHS: Papers of her daughter Lucy Truman Aldrich, Mss 938 sg 2; papers of her husband and herself, Mss 938 sg 1; and large collection of papers mostly from 1950 onward of her son Winthrop Aldrich and daughter-in-law, Harriet (Alexander) Arnold, including her diaries.

Family members:

Father's name: Chapman, Robert

Mother's name: Chapman, Amy (Morgan)

Husband's name: Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich

Husband's dates: 1841-1915

Husband's occupation: RI General Assembly (1875-1876); US Representative (1879-1881); US Senator (1881-1911)

Marriage date and place: 1866

Father-in-law's name: Aldrich, Anan E.

Mother-in-law's name: Aldrich, Abby A. (Burgess)

Sons: Nelson Wilmarth Jr. (1867-1871); Edward Burgess (1871-1957) m. Mary Dorrance and Lora Lawson; Stuart Morgan (1876-1960) m. Martha Louise Blackwell; Robert Chapman (1878-1878); William Truman (1880-1966) m. Dorothea Davenport; Richard Steere (1884-1941); Winthrop (1885-1974) m. Harriet Alexander.

Daughters: Lucy Truman (1871-1955); Abby G. (1874-1948) m. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.; Emma Louise (1882-1884); Elsie (1888-1967) m. Stephen M. Edgell and Stuart Campbell

Other persons frequently mentioned: Theodore Roosevelt; Pres. William H. Taft

Topical content:

Events discussed: "President Taft visits Providence today." [3/21/1910] "Nelson announced to President Taft his determination to retire from the Senate at the close of his present term in 1911. He retains his position on the Monetary Commission." [4/19/1920] "Roosevelt appointed a special American Ambassador to the funeral of King Edward of England. He will ride with visiting monarchs behind the funeral car. He will also attend the burial at Windsor." [5/13/1910] "Haley's comet passes between the earth and the sun. The disturbing influences of the passing of the comet is causing earthquakes, explosions in mines, vapors, chemicals and powders, and unusual weather. Expect the Earth to be enveloped by Comet's tail tonight." [5/18/1910] "Theodore Roosevelt and family arrived today afer his 4 months visit abroad. He was met by distinguished people and escorted by a large procession up Broadway and 5th Ave." [6/18/1910]

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: "General Draper died today." [1/28/1910] "King Edward died at 11-45 on Friday night May 6th." [5/6/1910] "Abby's third son born Thursday May 26th 1910" [5/26/1910] On a visit in France: "We met there...Mrs. Goddard and the young Roelkers, in deep mourning for their mother who was buried on Friday the 9th" [9/12/1910]

Social life: "Mrs. Dyer came in and played poker solitaire with family." [2/6/1910] "Lucy went to a large musical at Mrs. Pattersons and dance after returning at 2 o'clock." [2/26/1910]

Family: "Lucy, Elsie, and myself went for a long automobile ride as it is a beautiful morning." [1/8/1910] "Lunched at Aby's and had a very pleasant visit with the children. Little Nelson very attractive child." [3/19/1910]

Childhood: "Abby came and took me to the Park for a drive. Then to see her four children all were looking very well. The youngest a boy 10 months old is just beginning to say words." [4/9/1910]

Marriage: "Ned's wedding cards waiting our return. Married in New Hampshire to Lorra Elsie Lawson the 29th of January, his second marriage." [2/12/1910]

Health: "Nelson woke up with a severe catarrhal cold and nose throat - sent for Dr. Richardson...said it was attack of grippe now prevailing." [1/10/1910] "Went to doctor's for treatment of inflamed mouth." [2/19/1910] "Richard [son] had been taken to the Presbyterian Hospital sick with typhoid fever. Lucy met me at the manicures and we left for New York." [6/9/1910]

Fashion: "Elsie new fur neck piece and muff." [1/1/1910] On a visit to France: "Lucy gave order for furs to be made at a store on the Rue L'Ancienne Comedie." [9/26/1910] "Went to Maison Blanc and bought six small infant slips for Dorothea." [9/27/1910] "Went with Lucy to Miss Currans to get me a hat to wear with my green velvet suit." [12/9/1910]

Race / ethnicity content: "One of Mrs. Wetmores maids has married a colored man, another one a Japanese. Unusual distinction for one house." [5/21/1910] "Jack Johnson [colored] prize fighter defeated Jim Jeffries who had never been beaten before at a place called Reno, Nevada." [7/5/1910] The white people are as indignant at the success of the colored pugilist that they are attacking blacks in N.Y." [7/7/1910]

Labor: On a visit to St. Augustine, Florida: "Senator took our Butler William James." [1/18/1910] "Leave here for New York and Warwick to day at 3 p.m. Take the cook and other secretaries." [3/18/1910] "Many buildings are being torn down and new ones put up all over the city and every day many laborers are killed falling." [7/8/1910] "Ellen our chambermaid who was a very capable and painstaking servant left us last night after a row with the housekeeper Miss Mercurean. I am very sorry." [10/17/1910]

Arts and culture: "Spent morning at the Louvre seeing its wonderful collection of pictures, tapestries, ?, furniture, and miniatures." [9/25/1910] "Nelson is having his portrait painted by a man from Sweden." [4/21/1910]

Travel: On a visit to Miami, Florida: "rode about three hours around the country seeing the grapefruit groves, and the generally desirable country around here." [1/23/1910] "Elsie left on 12-30 train for New York and tomorrow on to Boston to see about having made a dress to wear as maid of honor at Williams wedding." [3/4/1910]

Geographical and architectural: On a visit to St. Augustine, Florida: "walking about the city which contains a house said to be the oldest in America. also a Catholic church of great age." [1/19/1910] On a visit to Tarrytown, N.Y.: "The whole place [daughter Abby's home] gorgeous with spring bloom. The crew house and surrounding magnificently elaborate, especially the Japanese features. John [Rockefeller] drove us all around the six thousand acres." [4/30/1910] "Cellar of our house in Warwick begun today." [5/3/1910]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 938 sg 1

Collection title: Nelson W. and Abby P.C. (Greene) Aldrich Papers

Location within the collection: Folders 16 and 17

Size: 10 ½ " x 4 ½"

Condition: Excellent

Graphic content: None

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): Bound volumes

Provenance: 1974. 33. 340. 1-, from the Winthrop W. Aldrich estate

Cataloged by Lori Salotto, May 2001


Lappin, Amy. "A Guide to the Nelson W. and Abby P. Aldrich Papers in the Manuscripts Collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society Library," 1997.

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:

Aldrich, Dorothea (Davenport) (1886-1977)

Aldrich, Edward (1871-1957)

Aldrich, Elsie (1888-1967)

Aldrich, Harriet C. (Alexander) (1888-1972)

Aldrich, Lora (Lawson) (1874-1931)

Aldrich, Lucy T. (1871-1955)

Aldrich, Martha L. (Blackwell) (1878-1952)

Aldrich, Nelson W. (1841-1915)

Aldrich, Stuart M. (1876-1960)

Aldrich, Richard S. (1884-1941)

Aldrich, William T. (1880-1966)

Aldrich, Winthrop W. (1885-1974)


Rockefeller, Abby G. (Aldrich) (1874-1948)

Rockefeller, John D. Jr. (1874-1960)

Roosevelt, Theodore (1858-1919)

Taft, William H. (1857-1930)

Notes on the Harriet (Alexander) Aldrich Diaries

Entries dated 1902 to 1970


Name at birth: Alexander, Harriet

Name after marriage: Aldrich, Harriet (Alexander)

Birthdate and place: July 3 1888, Seabright, N.J.

Death date and place: April 30, 1972, Greenwich, Conn.

Age range during diary: 13-81

Residence during diary: New York; 110 Benevolent St., Providence, R.I.

Places written: New York City, Providence, R.I., the Bahamas, London, and the rest of the world.

Biographical note: Raised in an affluent New York family, she attended the Spence School and was active in debutante activities in the Junior League of New York. She married Winthrop Aldrich of Providence and New York, who became president of Chase-Manhattan Bank. She was active on the boards of many organizations. From 1953 to 1956, she accompanied Winthrop during his appointment as U.S. Ambassador to England.

Ethnicity: Yankee/Scotch

Religion of diarist: Presbyterian

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 15

Number of pages: Mostly 365 each

Exact dates: March 4 1902 - April 4 1970, with no serious gaps.

Frequency of entries: Fairly regular

How was author identified?: Signed

Brief description: An abbreviated account of the life of a very wealthy and active woman.

Writing quality: Readable but not very descriptive

Utility for research: Although Mrs. Aldrich led a very interesting life, it is only very briefly sketched out in these diaries. They are valuable, of course, for biographical data on her and her famous relatives.

Related papers at RIHS: Large collection of Winthrop W. and Harriet A. Aldrich Papers, mostly from 1950 onward.

Family members:

Father's name: Alexander, Charles B.

Father's dates: b.1849

Father's occupation: Lawyer, New York City

Mother's name: Crocker, Harriet

Mother's dates: Of San Francisco.

Brothers: None

Sisters: Mary (Alexander) Whitehouse (b.1895); Janetta (Alexander) Whitridge (b.1890)

Husband's name: Aldrich, Winthrop W.

Husband's dates: 1885-1974

Husband's occupation: Banker and ambassador to England

Marriage date and place: December 7, 1916

Father-in-law's name: Aldrich, Nelson W.

Father-in-law's dates: 1841-1915

Father-in-law's occupation: Long-time U.S. Senator

Mother-in-law's name: Greene, Abby Pearce Chapman

Mother-in-law's dates: 1845-1917

Sons: Alexander Aldrich (b.1928); Winthrop W. Aldrich Jr. (b.1917)

Daughters: Mary (Aldrich) Homans (b.1921); Harriet (Aldrich) Bering (b.1922); Lucy (Aldrich) Devens (b.1924; Elizabeth "Liberty" (Aldrich) Redmond (b.1925)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Husband's sister Abby (Aldrich) Rockefeller (1874-1948), wife of John D. Rockefeller Jr. (1874-1960). Husband's sister Lucy T. Aldrich (1869-1955).

Topical content:

Events discussed: Very little discussion of world affairs. No mention of stock crash on 10/29/1929. Entire entry for 12/7/1941: "Lunch M Whitehouse. Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. War is on! Our silver wedding dinner, 74, lovely. Girls went back to school." only mentions briefly her extensive work in war effort.

Religious content: Churchgoer but not much religious commentary.

Social life: A dizzying array of social activities are listed in these diaries, with many of the world's most powerful people. Also world travel, horses, golf. Unfortunately, this is all presented with little comment. A few typical full entries:

"Tried saddle horse. Hospital xmas comm meeting. K to lunch. Waited for Mr. Bacon. Berkeley Lyceum. Grace Tracy. J.P. Morgan dinner dance." [12/13/1906]

"Eleanor Roosevelt to lunch. Rain. Bee Iselin to dinner." [10/20/1926]

"City Hall all a.m. Hair washed. Reception for King Peter of Yugoslavia. Drove country, dinner for Babs Whitney's wedding party." [7/7/1942]

"Hair washed. Lunch Italian Embassy. Cocktails Audrey Bouberie. Dinner of 26 here for Queen Mother. Great success." [12/10/1953]

School: Active in alumni affairs for the Spence School; sent children to elite schools.

Gender relations: long involvement with debutante activities in New York is noted.

Arts and culture: Noted patron of the arts in New York, but only sketchy documentation here.

Travel: Constantly traveling, to Europe, Caribbean and throughout U.S.

Geographical and architectural: There is undoubtedly important material here re the house in Providence, since donated to the R.I.H.S. and known as the Aldrich House.

Organizations: president, Junior League of N.Y.C., 1911-1913; On Board of Bellevue School of Nurses for thirty years; Chairman of Woman's National Advisory Committee of N.Y. World's Fair, 1939; on countless other boards and committees.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 938, sg 3

Collection title: Winthrop W. and Harriet A. Aldrich Papers

Location within the collection: Box 9

Size: Mostly about 6" x 5"

Condition: Good. Three rhinestones missing from 1967 diary...

Provenance: 1974. 33. 340. 1-, from the Winthrop W. Aldrich estate

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Only skimmed briefly


Several folders of genealogical and biographical material in series 5 of the Winthrop and Harriet Aldrich Papers. There is surprisingly little documentation on the Alexander family to be found at the R.I.H.S.L.

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1902-1970

Great Britain - Social life and customs

New York City - Social life and customs

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Rockefeller family

Notes on the Lucy Truman Aldrich Diaries

Entries dated 1885 to 1919


Name at birth: Aldrich, Lucy Truman

Birthdate and place: September 28, 1871, Providence, R.I.

Death date and place: January 12, 1955, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 13, 20, 47

Residence during diary: 110 Benevolent St., Providence, R.I.

Places written: Providence, R.I.; in Washington D.C. April 7-19, 1892; in New York City for much of March 1919; in Japan April 1919.

Biographical note: Daughter of a longtime U.S. senator, she collected Asian textiles and was closely connected with the Rhode Island School of Design museum. She was captured by Chinese bandits and held for ransom in 1923.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Protestant

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 3

Number of pages: 5, 4, 23

Exact dates: July 15-16, 1885; April 2-19, 1892; February 25 - May 13, 1919

Frequency of entries: Very sporadic

How was author identified?: Signed

Brief description: The first diary is a detailed account of two days in the life of a wealthy teenaged girl; the second diary is a less detailed account of a month at age 20; and the third diary is a sketchy memorandum of mostly from a trip to Japan.

Writing quality: Generally very rushed; Aldrich did not devote much of her considerable energy to diary-keeping.

Utility for research: Mainly biographical, but the two days of entries made as a 13-year-old are very good, and the account of the Japan trip might help document her extensive collection of textiles since donated to the R.I.S.D. Museum.

Related papers at RIHS: Lucy T. Aldrich Papers (MSS 938, sg 2) also include extensive correspondence and accounts, mostly relating to art collection. See also papers of her father (sg 1), brother Winthrop (sg 3) and her private nurse Minnie MacFadden (sg 4).

Family members:

Father's name: Aldrich, Nelson W.

Father's dates: 1841-1915

Father's occupation: U.S. Senator

Mother's name: Greene, Abby Pierce Chapman

Mother's dates: 1845-1917

Brothers: Edward B. Aldrich (1871-1957); Stuart M. Aldrich (1876-1960); William T. Aldrich (1880-1966); Richard S. Aldrich (1884-1941); Winthrop W. Aldrich (1885-1974); 2 died young

Sisters: Abby G. (Aldrich) Rockefeller (b.1874); Elsie (Aldrich) (Edgell) Campbell (1888-1967); one died young

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: Mabel "Belle" Wheeler, friend in 1885 diary. "John" in 1919 diary is brother-in-law John D. Rockefeller Jr.

Topical content:

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: "I stopped at Nellie Wilbour's a friend of mine who has consumption. She looked dreadfully and I don't believe she can live but a few days." [7/16/1885]

Social life: "Tried to keep cool most of the afternoon but stopped to make that sassy Byron girl stop stealing our raspberries. Belle and I had quite a dispute with her, but after threatening her with a policeman we came into the house." [7/16/1885]

            "Had our tinotypes taken. They were hideous, we left them." [4/19/1892]

Childhood: Excellent detailed account of two days in life from age 13 [1885]

Health: "I had a telegram from Papa saying that Mrs. Roelker's baby was ill and I should go around and ask after it." [4/8/1892]

Race / ethnicity content: On steamer trip to Japan, "it seemed strange to have Chinese waiting on the table and as bedroom stewards." [4/10/1919]

Arts and culture: At "the Athaneum, took out a book called Yolannde written by William Black." [7/15/1885]

            "I finished Yolande tonight and I think it turned out just right." [7/16/1885]

Travel: Trip to Washington with sister Abby, April 7-18, 1892. Fairly good account of trip to Japan in 1919. Traveled overland by train from New York to Vancouver, then by steamer to Japan. Traveled extensively through Japan, seeing sights and spending loads of money. A typical entry: "Went to a private garden, Mr. Tkushima's, to see the azaleas. In the afternoon went to bank and to Yamuaka's bought 3 small screens and a Japanese print for Abby." [5/8/1919].

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 938, sg 2

Collection title: Lucy T. Aldrich Papers

Location within the collection: Box 1, folders 27-30

Size: Various

Condition: Fairly good; some blank pages seem to have been torn out.

Provenance: 1974. 33. 340. 1-, from the Winthrop W. Aldrich estate

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read in entirety


Aldrich, Alvin James. George Aldrich Genealogy (Published by author, 1971), vol. 2, p. 23

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1885-1919

Japan - Description and travel

Notes on the Eliza H. (Arnold) Allen Diaries

Entries dated 1837 to 1841


Name at birth: Arnold, Eliza Harriet

Name after marriage: Allen, Eliza H. (Arnold)

Birthdate and place: October 5, 1796, Providence, R.I.

Death date and place: August 30, 1873, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 40, 44

Residence during diary: 208 North Main St., Providence, R.I. (current numbering)

Places written: 1837: To a plantation near Savannah Ga. via New York, Norfolk Va. and Charleston S.C

1841: Providence, R.I.

Biographical note: Daughter of one of Providence's wealthiest merchants, and married another.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Baptist?

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 90

Exact dates: March 18 - June 5, 1837; June 29 - July 31, 1841

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Identified by donor; fits known facts

Brief description: The first section of the diary describes a visit to her brother Richard Arnold's plantation near Savannah, Georgia, accompanied by a Mr. Dorrance, and joined by brother-in-law Tristam Burges. The second section is written in Providence while her husband and daughters are away on a vacation.

Writing quality: Fairly good; detailed but not very expressive.

Utility for research: The section written in Georgia gives an interesting look at plantation life; the later section is a standard account of elite social life in Providence.

Related papers at RIHS: The Zachariah Allen Papers (MSS 257) are a large collection consisting mainly of her husband's personal and business papers; it also includes Eliza's personal account book dated 1817-1833, and a few letters received from her brother-in-law Tristam Burges.

Family members:

Father's name: Arnold, Welcome

Father's dates: 1745-1798

Father's occupation: Merchant, Providence, R.I.

Mother's name: Greene, Patience

Mother's dates: 1754-1809

Brothers: Samuel G. Arnold (1778-1826); Richard J. Arnold (1796-1873)

Sisters: Mary "Polly" (Arnold) Burges (1774-1851), wife of Tristam Burges.

Husband's name: Allen, Zachariah

Husband's dates: 1795-1882

Husband's occupation: Textile manufacturer, Providence

Marriage date and place: 1817

Father-in-law's name: Allen, Zachariah

Father-in-law's dates: 1740-1801

Father-in-law's occupation: Merchant, Providence

Mother-in-law's name: Crawford, Anne

Mother-in-law's dates: 1759-1808

Sons: None

Daughters: Allen C. (Allen) Ely (1818-1888), m. William D. Ely;

Mary (Allen) Robeson (b.1819) m. Andrew Robeson

Candace Allen (1822-1901), never married

Other persons frequently mentioned: In 1837, traveling with a Mr. Dorrance, and her husband's cousin Phillip Allen Jr.

Topical content:

Events discussed: Re economic crisis: "Everyone here as elsewhere is distressed on account of the state of business and all are trembling for the failures." [4/27/1837] "The free suffrage procession formed by the court-house & when I thought they had passed I put on my bonnet and went out...There must have been many thousands of people in the street today." [7/5/1841]

Religious content: Strong spiritual content. Frequently makes visits to slaves in Georgia to read from Bible.

Social life: Both sections are detailed logs of visiting, which are sometimes amusing. "Mr. Dorr made me a call before breakfast but would not stay, thinking I could not make his tea to suit him." [7/17/1841]

Race / ethnicity content: The bulk of the 1837 section was written while visiting her brother's plantation in Georgia. Of course, there is some mention of the slaves. "I took my Bible and walked to the plantation as it is called, the rows of negro houses. Today one can see them all as they are in the field in the morning of week days and towards evening they are at work for themselves. I first read to Mam Kate an excellent old woman and as I explained to her the passages of the Bible I felt that I could learn much more from her than I could impart. She is humble, contented and cheerful, and constantly relies upon her heavenly father for every blessing & feels that she has many..." [4/16/1837]. Several visits like this are made.

Travel: The 1837 section describes a journey by sea from New York to Savannah, and then back.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 254

Collection title: Zachariah Allen Papers

Location within the collection: Series 7, box 8, folder 5

Size: 9" x 7"

Condition: Good

Provenance: 1908. 20, gift of William D. Ely, a descendant

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Skimmed through most of the volume.


Clarke, Louise Brownell. The Greenes of Rhode Island... (New York: 1903), pages 289-293

Rhode Island Cemetery Index

Rogers, L.E., ed. The Biographical Cyclopedia of Representative Men of Rhode Island (Providence: National Biographical Publishing, 1881), 259.

Subject headings:

Arnold, Richard J. (1796-1824)

Diaries - 1837-1841

Georgia - Description and travel

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Elizabeth G. (Lawrence) Allen Diary

Entries dated 1936 to 1938


Name at birth: Lawrence, Elizabeth Grinnell

Name after marriage: Allen, Elizabeth G. (Lawrence)

Birthdate and place: March 10, 1901, Hartford, Connecticut

Death date and place: March 13, 1985, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 29-31

Residence during diary: 12 Benevolent St., Providence, R.I.

Places written: Providence, R.I.

Biographical note: Raised in Hartford, but mother was a Providence native from old Rhode Island family. Married into another prominent Providence family. After the period of this diary, founded the Providence Preservation Society and was active in many other local causes.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Protestant

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 170

Exact dates: November 8, 1936 - April 26, 1937; November 11, 1937 - April 27, 1938

Frequency of entries: Frequent but not daily.

How was author identified?: Signed

Brief description: Diary of upper-class young mother on east side of Providence.

Writing quality: Fairly good; sometimes opinionated (which is a good thing).

Utility for research: The most recent of the many east-side upper-class diaries here. A good account of the life of a young mother and housewife.

Related papers at RIHS: Elizabeth Allen Papers (MSS 96); Allen & Reed Papers (MSS 95)

Family members:

Father's name: Lawrence, Thomas F.

Mother's name: Weeden, Hortense

Husband's name: Allen, William S.

Husband's dates: b.1904

Husband's occupation: Industrial supplies manufacturer, in Allen & Reed

Marriage date and place: June 15, 1930, Providence, R.I.

Father-in-law's name: Allen, Phillip

Father-in-law's dates: 1869-1951

Father-in-law's occupation: Industrial supplies manufacturer. Gave Diamond Hill Reservation to the state of R.I. in 1937.

Mother-in-law's name: Reed, Helen S.

Mother-in-law's dates: 1872-1952

Sons: Zachariah Allen (b.1938); William Slater Allen Jr. (b.1930) (called "Slats" in diary).

Other persons frequently mentioned: Son's friend Tommy Greene [12/15/1936; 12/17/1936; etc]. Visit from Eleanor Washburn(daughter of diarist Elizabeth Goff Wood) [4/22/1938].

Topical content:

Events discussed: Regarding abdication of Edward VIII of England: "I am fearful of the effect this may have on the Empire. And very sad." [12/11/1936]

Religious content: Apparently only occasional churchgoer. At St. Stephen's, 2/28/1937

Social life: Kept horses; discussed riding, hunting and related activities very frequently.

Family: Some discussion of mother; mostly just the activities of her husband and young sons.

Childhood: Raising one young boy at time of diary. "Slats first real grown-up dinner party. He enjoyed himself immensely & behaved very well but seems to have cold and very tired." [11/26/1936] "He tells me he is being teased a lot in school. Gave him a long lecture on gullibillness & a few points on boxing." [12/15/1936]. Birth of a second son: "Zachariah is here! A most quick and easy labor - and he's all complete & weighs 7-14!..." [4/7/1938]

Marriage: Married woman. Odd comment: "Think I am in for domestic troubles." [1/23/1937]. On the birth of her second son, "Didn't send for Bill as I hoped to be done before he knew anything about it but he came just after I had gone downstairs & went through the usual stew but we're all O.K. now!" [4/7/1938]

Health: Careful documentation of household colds; son prone to poor health.

Labor: "Mollie Kennedy started working for us today as a cook." [1/21/1937]

Class relations: Wealthy, but apparently pinched by Depression: "Bill and I went through accounts tonight. Bad shape but will make out OK." [1/19/1937]. Still able to afford a cook, club memberships, horses.

Arts and culture: Classical music supporter. "Boston Symphony. Spalding played. He is improving with age." [11/28/1936] On the other side of the spectrum, "Went to see midget auto race at Arena." [2/2/1937]

Geographical and architectural: Moved into house at 12 Benevolent St., 1/22/1937.

Organizations: Agawam Hunt Club [11/20/1936], Hope Club [1/31/1937]. "Went to a meeting of Female Charitable Society. Most quaint." [4/7/1937]. Very active in many organizations, but all after the period of this diary.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 96

Collection title: Elizabeth G.L. Allen Papers

Location within the collection: In box 1

Size: 9" x 6"

Condition: Good; not bound.

Provenance: 1985. 72. 1-, gift of William Slater Allen

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read only 11/1936-2/1937, and 4/1938.


Bendroth, Cindy. "The Papers of Elizabeth G.L. Allen" (Unpublished typescript, R.I.H.S., 1989)

Subject headings:

Allen, William S. (b.1904)

Diaries - 1936-1938

Horse sports - Rhode Island

Notes on the Edith A. Armington Diary

Entries dated 1911 to 1929


Name at birth: Armington, Edith Amelia

Birthdate and place: January 14, 1861; East Providence, RI

Death date and place: June 5, 1937; East Providence, RI

Age range during diary: 40 - 58

Residence during diary: East Providence, RI

Places written: East Providence, RI; Pittsfield, NH

Biographical note: Edith A. Armington was the youngest of three children born to Francis Armington and Caroline (Medbery) Armington. The Armingtons and Medberys were prominent farming families who resided in Seekonk, MA and later, East Providence, RI when the town changed states and names. Edith suffered from health problems which limited her mobility, however, she and her sister Carrie led active lives in the church and community belonging to numerous religious, social and political organizations.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Baptist

Social class: Upper-middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 3

Number of pages: 365 each

Exact dates: January 1, 1911-December 31, 1915; January 1, 1921-December 31, 1924; January 31, 1925-December 31, 1929

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Identification written on inside cover of Vol. 2; signed inside cover vol. 3: "This is a diary of Edith A. Armington H.H.A."

Brief description: This is the diary of an upper middle-class woman written during her middle-aged years. The brief diary entries chronicle her daily activities at home, in the community and within the church.

Writing quality: The writing is not very descriptive but is neat and clear to read.

Utility for research: This diary is not very useful for studying about Rhode Island in general, however it would be excellent for studying the above mentioned organizations and committees. It could also be used to learn about the religious lives of Baptists in Rhode Island, the controversy surrounding the resignation of Dr. Frost, Edith's friend and religious leader. Also, the later years might be useful for examining radio broadcasts of the 1920's.

Related papers at RIHS: Armington Family Papers

Family members:

Father's name: Armington, Francis

Father's dates: 1820-1895

Father's occupation: Farmer turned wharf builder, East Providence, RI

Mother's name: Caroline Medbery

Mother's dates: c.1821-1904

Brothers: Arthur Herbert Armington (1853-1940). See The Armington Family in America for biographical information

Sisters: Caroline F. "Carrie" Armington (1849-1934)

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: Family members: Artie (her brother, Arthur), Carrie (her sister Caroline), Eva (Arthur's wife), Arthur's children: Hal (Herbert), Earl, Edith, Hal's wife Theo (Theodora Greene Bowen), Hal and Theo's children: Francis and Richard, nephew Earl's wife Marion, niece Edith's husband Frank Adams, Edith and Frank's children: "Junior" (Frank Adams born 11/15/1917), Evelyn (born 11/12/1920), and Robbie (Robert Wicks Adams born 4/21/1922). Mrs. Holt [2/18/1911], John Medbery (cousin) [3/20/1911], Emma Bevan [3/29/1911], Jessie Pearce [12/13/1911], Mr. and Mrs. Remick [4/13/1912], Lucy [4/16/1912], Dr. Slack [5/19/1913], Mr. Beckwith [8/27/1913], Mr. and Mrs. Brunton [8/27/1913], Ella [8/31/1914], Dr. Frost [2/7/1921], The Rays [6/26/1921], Jennie [12/11/1921], Belle Horton [12/27/1922], Dr. Brackett [5/7/1923]

Topical content:

Events discussed: "Lucy took Mr. Usher to the train after which she was thrown from the wagon and injured her leg badly." [9/5/1911], "Election Day. Woodrow Wilson elected. Democrat." [11/5/1912], "Saw an airplane that went up from Crescent Park." [5/30/1913], "Electric lights in the street out last night. Very high winds last night and this morning. 70 miles per hour for ten minutes. Many telephone poles down. [1/13/1915], "One hundred years ago today was the big gale and high tide in Providence." [9/23/1915], "The church automobile was stolen sometime between 11 P.M. last night and this afternoon." [4/10/1921], "Carrie and I went to the dedication of the Holiness Temple at Broadway Baptist." [6/25/1922] "Five aeroplanes flew over. I saw them." [8/13/1923], "Worst storm in 50 years. No electric lights in house or street. Snowed and rained. Wires down. Also trees. No electric light in house or street. Telephone out of commission." [3/11/1924-3/12/1924], "Total eclipse of the sun about 9:15 AM. Not quite total here but it was in Prov." [1/24/1925], "The Shenadoah (airship) went over." [7/3/1925], "First trip by anyone. Charles Lindbergh started in an aeroplane from New York at 9:53 AM yesterday and arrived in Paris at 5:21 PM tonight." [memoranda for May 21, 1926], "Swedish prince and princess went by in an automobile." [6/17/1926], "Charles Lindbergh arrived home this morning. Had a great reception in Washington. 20,000 people. Radio broadcasting all afternoon from the celebration given in his honor." [memoranda for June 11, 1927], "Charles Lindbergh (25 years old) flew from Washington to New York where they had a larger crowd than Washington. Immense crowd." [memoranda for June 13, 1927], "Bryd landed in Europe to-night at 9:24 PM forty hours in airplane from America." [6/30/1927], "Cyclone in Rehoboth at 7:30. A man killed several persons hurt, trees uprooted. $100,000 damage." [7/31/1927], "Inauguration of President Hoover." [3/4/1929], "We saw the Zeppelin go over." [8/16/1929]

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: Frequent mentions of marriages and deaths."Richard Wickes Armington born this morning at 8:15. Arthur and Eva and Edith went over to call on him and his mother." [9/17/1912], "Edith Caroline (niece) was married to Walter Mear Adams M.H. at Seven PM Marriage in the Beneficent church reception at home. Many beautiful presents and very pretty wedding. [6/17/1915], Jessie Pearce died at 5 o'clock PM" [2/25/1921] "President Harding died at seven thirty PM." [8/2/1923] "Carrie and I went down to the church in the evening for a memorial service for President Harding whose funeral was today in Marion, Ohio." [8/10/1923] "Cousin John Medbery died this AM at 8:20. Funeral at Mrs. Richardson's 69 Waterman Ave. A large number there. More than get into the house." [7/12/1923, 7/15/1923], "I got all ready to go see Mrs. Jewell when I heard she had passed away at about 1:45 PM. She fell down the stairs and fractured her skull. Lived about 2 hours." [4/2/1925], "Mrs. Maria Miller had a shock and was taken to the R.I. Hospital. Mrs. Maria Miller died." [7/14/1928-7/15/1928]

Religious content: Edith is a devout Baptist and attends church and prayer meetings regularly as well as belonging to many church related committees and other religious organizations. "I went to the Baptist State Convention at Stewart Street Church." [10/14/1913], "I went to the Sabbath School State Convention during one address at the Universalist church on Greene Street in the morning." [10/29/1913], "I went to the Congregation Conference at Barrington in the morning." [11/5/1913], "I went to a board meeting at the First Baptist Church." [1/27/1914], "(Rev.) Dr. Frost read his resignation to take effect no later than July 1, 1921. [3/3/1921], "Prayer meeting at Mr. Hall's in the evening. Has a good spiritual meeting of over an hour." [3/24/1921], "I resigned my office of Financial Secretary of the church. My resignation was not accepted, or rather was laid over for action." [3/31/1921], "Carrie and I went to Broadway Baptist in the morning. Thirty baptized in the morning. About 14 or 15 infants dedicated to the Lord." [4/16/1922] "Went before prudential committee and related Christian experience." [4/29/1923], "I joined Broadway church this evening." [5/6/1923], "I went to Central Baptist. Memorial window for Eva presented to the church." [1/1/1928]

Social life: "Carrie and I spent the day at Nellie Turnney's and went to a lecture in the evening." [3/22/1911], "I went to the city and up to Emma's to supper and Carrie and I went to Columbia's Congress in the evening. Very fine." [3/29/1911], "Bert, Maud, her husband and I went down to Sabbather heights (New Hampshire) and to Loon Pond where the men tried fishing but did not get any. Very pretty ride." [9/21/1911], "Mrs. Phillips, Jessie Pearce, Mrs. Slayton called. We served 'Japanese tea', used the Japanese dishes." [12/13/1911] "Lawn party given by the Willing Helpers at Mr. Mac Duet's." [7/1/1913], "Entertainment and supper by the Martha Washington Guild at the church. Committee Hattie Chaffee, Clara Chaffee, Jessie Shedd, and myself. Good supper and nice entertainment. Mrs. Slack singer, Mrs. Pickett reader and Mrs. Butler and son players." [2/25/1914] "Fannie and I went to Warren to the Kickemuit Grange Bake. Good dinner." [8/19/1915] "I went to Broadway to "English tea party" in the evening." [4/4/1923], "I went to see the 'Adoration' at 5 PM." [1/1/1928], "Mr. Lauden carried me to the Associated Charities. The ladies gave me (birthday) cards and presents and Mrs. Sutton greased my nose." [1/14/1929]

Family: "A Mr. Disbrow called about the Armington genealogy." [9/14/1927], "The family (except the Adams children) all came and surprised Carrie and I in honor of Arthur's birthday. They brought ice cream and candy." [8/19/1929]

Childhood: "The Calverts came and we had a Christmas tree, mostly for the children." [12/24/1926]

Health: A childhood accident has left Edith in frequent pain. "I had the pain in my foot. I went to Dr. Slack's and took an electrical treatment." [6/16/1913], She suffers from Neuritis. "I began taking 'Robinal'." [4/1/1915], "Carrie had twenty-three teeth extracted. Took ether." [10/21/1922] "Edith got her new teeth." [6/14/1923], "I was sick all night. (Too many raw eggs)" [3/20/1925], "Junior has diabetes." [11/10/1926], "Dr. Robinson carried me to Dr. Boyd's and had several X ray pictures taken." [7/11/1928], "Edith and Evelyn and Junior went to Boston to a hildren's hospital for a week or so." [1/2/1929], "The dentist took off two gold crowns besides extractions four teeth. He injected bam-o. They did not hurt at all." [8/1/1929]

Home production: Frequent mentions of cleaning, cooking and household chores."I went to Providence and I bought a new Perfection oil stove." [9/13/1915], "Carrie and I went to Hal's to keep house for Theo to go to New Orleans." [10/13/1922], "Carrie went to Hal's to keep house for Theo to go to Indianapolis." [11/8/1922]

Work outside home: "Carrie at home from work for a few days as she had nothing to do." [6/22/1911], "Carrie went to work again." [6/26/1911] "Carrie went to work at the City Hall." [6/10/1912] "I went to the food sale at our church. I acted as cashier." [6/18/1912] "I sold aprons in the evening at the Strawberry festival." [9/13/1915]

Fashion: "Miss King commenced my ripplette dress." [7/17/1913], "Carrie and I went to the city. I bought my black furs $25.79 marked down from $43.00." [1/3/1914], "Mrs. F. got her hair bobbed." [10/19/1927]

Food and drink: "Friday, November 3rd, super at the Grange 25 cents: corned beef, sweet and Irish potatoes, squash, cabbage, parsnips, beets, pichialli, catrup pickles, beans, pork, brown bread, rolls, butter, mince and pumpkin pie, Indian pudding with cream and coffee." [memoranda section] "Food sale at church. I made two apple pies and Carrie made a cake and carried besides jelly and cookies." [2/22/1912], "The Library Association of RI menu: cold ham and tongue, rolls, pickles, mashed potatoes, coffee, ice cream and cake, grapes for 50 cents." [memoranda section dated 11/11/1912] "The E.O.W. Club went to Chin Lee's restaurant for their luncheon and annual meeting. All much pleased with the place." [5/28/1915], "Carrie made walnut cake from a recipe heard over the radio this morning." [3/24/1924], "Carrie and I made 'radio candy' of dates, figs, raisins, nuts and sugar. Too sweet." [6/4/1924], "Carrie made a new kind of peanut butter candy." [4/26/1928]

Community: "Carrie and I went to the city and signed a deed for land in the Central Park plat." [4/19/1912], "Carrie and I went to the child's welfare exhibit." [1/7/1913], "I went to Watchemoket called on Miss Fraser, the District Nurse. We sent a letter to the Town Council asking for milk inspection." [5/19/1913], "Mrs. Tarbox carried me to a meeting of the Watchemoket Library. Reverend Mr. Dingwell lectured." [1/26/1921], "Carrie and I went to the special business meeting in the evening at the church. The motion to reconsider Dr. Frost's resignation was laid on the table. It was voted (illegally) to dismiss." [3/21/1921], "I went to the First Baptist church in the afternoon to the permanent council meeting in regard to Dr. Frost and the church." [6/20/1921], "Mrs. Dodge called with a petition for the Rumford P.O. We signed it." [11/7/1921], "We went to Town Hall and voted." [11/7/1922], "I went in the Women's Parade in the afternoon. Mr. Fisher carried Mrs. Bliss, Mrs. McClaren and myself. Mrs. Fisher marched." [10/25/1924], Mr. and Mrs. Smith came to watch the E.P. Automobile parade pass. About 300 autos in line." [10/30/1924], "Election Day. Mr. Lamplear carried Carrie and I down to vote . . . Coolidge and Dawes elected." [11/4/1924], "Mr. MacLean drove Carrie and I down to the town hall. We acknowledged a deed of a lot on Central Park Flat." [3/20/1925], "Mr. Lauden took Carrie and I down to the old town hall to vote. Presidential election. Hoover and Al Smith candidates. Hoover elected by a majority." [11/6/1928]

Labor: "I went to a meeting of the Welling Workers." [12/14/1912] "Strike on the electric cars. Cars run about once an hour past the house. No cars on most of the lines." [7/15/1915], "Telephone operators went on strike." [6/26/1923]

Progress: "They laid gas pipes past the house." [9/15/1912], "Carrie bought a suction vacuum sweeper." [4/5/1913] "We rode in a 'jitney'" [4/16/1915], "We cleaned rugs with an electric vacuum cleaner." [3/8/1921], "The men worked putting in additional electric lights." [5/23/1921], "Mrs. Fisher, Mrs. Jewell, Mrs. Bliss and myself to Broadway Six Corners. Opening of Narragansett Electric Co. rooms (store)." [12/27/1925]

Arts and culture: "Edith and I went down the street in the afternoon and to an entertainment at the new town hall East Providence in the evening." [1/31/1911], painting lessons each week, "Mrs. Holt, Carrie and I went to the Talma Theatre to the Negro Minstrels. Edith C. took part." [2/18/1911], "Artie came out and brought me a book Scenes from Every Land as a birthday present." [½0/1912], "Jessie Pearce and I went to the Providence Opera House and saw the moving pictures of Captain Scott's expedition." [5/2/1913], "Carrie and I went to Providence to the moving pictures of Bible scenes." [3/7/1915], "Went to Broadway to see the religious drama 'The Rock'." [4/23/1922], "Arthur showed his stereoptican slides of pictures he took while abroad." [8/30/1923 notations], "We listened to President Coolidge's address in New York broadcasted by WJAR on the radio." [4/22/1924], "We listened in on the dedication of the music temple at Roger Williams Park." [9/21/1924]

Travel: Trips to Pittsfield New Hampshire 9/1/1911-10/21/1911, 4/6/1912-4/18/1912, 8/26/1913-9/30/1913, "Alice Potter and I went by trolley to Taunton and Fall River and got dinner at Dighton Rock Park." [8/29/1912], "I went to Seacommet with the Hope and Riverside Congregational Sunday Schools." [7/22/1913], "I went to Newport with the Willing Helpers. Went by trolley to Bristol ferry. Came back by boat." [7/30/1913], Edith went to visit her friend Dr. Frost and his family in the Boston area from 6/6/1922-6/16/1922, "Arthur went to New York to start tomorrow on his journey around the world." [½1/1923], "Arthur started today for Canada, Seattle and Alaska." [6/28/1925], "Charlie Brightman took me to ride. Attleboro, Taunton, Fall River, Dighton, Warren, Touissett and home. Over 60 miles." [8/15/1925], "Went to see Theo and the boys at Lakeville." [7/9/1927-7/17/1927], "Herbert came and carried Carrie and I down to Highland Beach to stay for a few days." [8/26/1928], "Hal came, took Richard, Theo and I and Jiggs to ride down to Wickford. We had ice cream at E. Greenwich." [8/29/1928]

Geographical and architectural: They began to take down Vanity Fair." [3/29/1911], "Rode partly through the 'Parkway'. A very pleasant time." [8/1/1911], "I went on an outing with the ladies of the Hope Congregational Church. We got a shore dinner at Slocum's and then to Rocky Point." [8/15/1912], "Emma Meril came out and we walked over the grove and into Vanity Fair." [8/30/1912], "Hal went to the rifle range and Theo and the boys rode as far as Hunt's Mills." [9/9/1914], "Belle Horton, Carrie, Theo, Francis, Richard, Jennie and I went to Crescent Park. I got very tired." [8/23/1921], "I went to the city to the Arcade. Got some cards and ribbons." [2/13/1924], "We drove as far as Rocky Point. We drove through it." [7/10/1927]

Organizations: Edith belongs to numerous organizations such as: E.O.W.: "Carrie and I acted as hostesses at the Pure Food Exposition for E.O.W. club." [2/28/1912], "Mr. Lauden carried Mrs. Lauden and Mrs. Bliss and I to Mrs. Adams' to the E.O.W. club. Mr. and Mrs. Collins brought us back. I arranged the program. Miss Eals spoke on Red Cross work and Mrs. L. sang." [3/30/1928], Home Missionary Society: "Carrie went to the missionary meeting at the parsonage society. They disbanded and formed a new society 'The Woman's Mission Circle'." [4/6/1911],"I have a paper to write for the Mission Circle for January 3." [12/26/1911] Federation of Churches, Needlework Guild, Associated Charities (elected Second Vice President 2/13/1928), The Martha Washington Guild: "The Martha Washington Guild had a rummage sale at Broadway and Six Corners. I went up and helped." [9/27/1912], Home Mission Board, East Providence Nursing Association: "I was at Payne's drugstore all day as it is the headquarters for the East Providence District Nursing Association Campaign." [5/17/1913], WCTU, Providence Association, Foreign Missionary Society, Local Council of Women, The Willing Helpers:

" The Willing Helpers gave a chicken pie supper in the vestry. Over 80 there probably. Chicken pie gave out." [10/13/1915], Lyon Tabernacle, Ladies' Sewing Circle, Ladies' Auxiliary, E.P.B.N.W Guild

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 1128

Collection title: Armington Family Papers

Location within the collection: Box 1, folder 13

Size: Mostly 5" x 3"

Condition: Excellent condition

Graphic content: Newspaper clipping pasted into space for August 15, 1912

Provenance: 2003. 74. 1. 1-, gift of Albert Armington

Cataloged by Robin Alario, April 2004


Armington Family in America, Vol. 1

East Providence City Directories

1860 U.S. Federal Census image from Ancestry.com

Notes on the Theodora G. (Bowen) Armington Diary

Entries dated 1886 to 1900


Name at birth: Bowen, Theodora Greene

Name after marriage: Armington, Theodora G. (Bowen)

Birthdate and place: December 13, 1877 in Lewiston, ME

Death date and place: December 15, 1967 in Providence, RI

Age range during diary: 9 - 23

Residence during diary: 15 Sycamore Street, Providence, RI until 1889 when they move to a brand new house at 27 Sycamore Street.

Places written: Providence, RI

Biographical note: Theodora Bowen was born in Maine. Her parents were both born in Rhode Island but as her father was a Baptist minister they lived in Maine for a couple of years during the late 1870s to the early 1880s. He was serving a congregation in Lewiston, Maine. Theodora grew up primarily in Providence. She attended Miss Emerson's Boarding School in Boston for one year during 1896-1897. Theodora also attended Brown University from 1897 through at least the spring of 1900. She married Herbert Hamlin Armington and they lived in Providence for most of their lives.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Baptist

Social class: Upper class

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 113

Exact dates: December 13, 1886 to December 2, 1900

Frequency of entries: Several times a year, mostly on the major holidays or for a big event in her life.

How was author identified?: Faint inscription on flyleaf "For Theodora" and on 12/2/1900 she states she has just become engaged to Herbert Hamlin Armington.

Brief description: Diary covering the early years of Theodora Bowen's life with good descriptions of holiday celebrations and her thoughts on getting older, 1886-1900.

Writing quality: Clear hand writing.

Utility for research: Very fine descriptions of Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday celebrations.

Family members:

Father's name: William H. Bowen

Father's dates: 1836-1915

Father's occupation: Baptist minister

Mother's name: Jeanette Greene

Mother's dates: 1837-1911

Brothers: Everett A. Bowen married Jennie Stetson

Husband's name: Herbert Hamlin Armington

Husband's dates: 1878-1959

Husband's occupation: Doctor

Marriage date and place: June 25, 1907

Father-in-law's name: Arthur Herbert Armington

Father-in-law's dates: 1853-1940

Father-in-law's occupation: Surveyor and tax assessor for Providence.

Mother-in-law's name: Alice Evelyn "Eva" Stone

Mother-in-law's dates: 1856-1920

Sons: Francis Bowen Armington (1908-1998) married Marion Cline Stanwood; Richard Wickes Armington (1912- ) married Isabelle Frances O'Rourke

Topical content:

Events discussed: She gives a good description every year of her birthday celebrations, Thanksgiving, and Christmas including the presents received and the people who visited. "About quarter past twelve we saw smoke, and then we heard the fire bells ring, and then a little while after mamma came home and told us the Baptist Church was on fire. . ." [1/22/1888]

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: Description of the wedding of her brother Everett and Jennie Stetson. [7/2/1895] "Maurice Stetson Bowen arrived this morning at half past seven. The greatest event that has happened in the Bowen family for ages." [6/9/1896] The death of her grandmother "she said to me, 'Be a good girl, do all the good you can and love God.' This was her farewell to me altho' I knew it not then." [6/4/1899] "Became engaged to Herbert Hamlin Armington." [12/2/1900]

Social life: On her tenth birthday she had a party - "Etta had to go first, then the rest of us played we were old maids, that knit and made all sorts of things for other people." [12/13/1887] "Alice brought a book and Etta brought some fancy work so the rest of the afternoon was spent by Alice reading to us while Etta and I worked. . . That night we all slept in one bed in the guest chamber. We laughed and laughed and did not get to sleep until nearly ten." [8/27/1890] "We played Tiddely-Winks before supper and after supper we pulled candy." [12/13/1890] "A few days ago I was invited to go on a sleighing party today . . the sleigh was so full I had to hold a smaller girl on my lap and a good many others had to too. . . In going through Bridgham Street we kept up one continuous noise. Girls, Boys, Men, Women and Children would all fly to their windows, and wave whatever they happened to have in their hand." [1/9/1891]

Aging: "My twelth birthday was very quiet. I did not, to my great surprise, feel any older than I did the day before." [12/13/1889] "Nineteen years old, and what do I amount to in the world anyway? . . I think all sorts of fine thoughts and make fine resolutions but it seems to do no good and I go on doing only those things that are absolutely necessary, wasting a good deal of my time and not growing in mental or spiritual life. As far as I see I might just as well be nine instead of nineteen for all that I am good for." [12/13/1896] "My twentieth birthday. The day that I have been waiting for, for twenty years! My great age (!) or something woke me this morning so that I was able to get down in time for breakfast for the first time in a long time!" [12/13/1897]

School: "A new life has begun for me. I started for Miss Emerson's Boarding School this afternoon at 4.02." [9/30/1896]

Home production: "it snowed all day, and I celebrated the day by finshing my foot stool cover, whitch I have had commenced three years. When I was filling up the spaces with white I called it putting in the snow flakes on a snow day. Anna and I made a may basket too." [4/18/1887]

Labor: Description of their new house being built. [4/25/1889 - 8/12/1889]

Class relations: "I had a cold and therefore did not go to church, but mamma did go. Irene Sanford our girl staid at home with me." [1/22/1888] "We have a new girl and Mamma was obliged to help her get the dinner so Papa and I went to represent the family." [11/27/1890]

Gender relations: Four year old Wayland Chase - "When Mrs. Chase was making the candie Wayland said, Mamma, be sure you make enough for some of those girls have got big mouths." [8/13/1887] "Before dinner the boys played ball and the girls walked around and got flowers - but after dinner the pairing off was enough to make one sick." [5/28/1892] "Had a party of my own . . .nine girls and nine boys. . .First the boys trimmed hats while the girls watched and made fun of them. It was great sport to watch the way the boys put their needle through and the way they matched colors. . . Auntie's mistletoe served its purpose well."[12/29/1893]

Progress: "As the two girls were starting for a concert one evening Isabel said, Don't it look queerly out to-night? In what way? said Margaret. Such a queer light, answered Isabel. Oh, yes, it is the electric light, said Margaret. What are they? asked Isabel. I will show you one when we turn the corner, said Margaret. How black the shadows are, observed Isabel. Yes, said Margaret, and sometimes horse are afraid of them." [11/24/1888] "Five days ag Papa and I went to the Pope Manufacturing Co. and ordered me a Hartford wheel [bicycle]. I took three lessons in their academy and today I took a 'road lesson' at the Park. It was simply elegant and I enjoyed it to its fullest extent. A wheel is something that until lately I never expected to have; but now I have one, and I think I shall enjoy it very much." [6/24/1897]

Geographical and architectural: The family went to Warwick-Neck were they "went down to the shore to look for fossilized ferns. We found a few but not very many. While Everett and Mamma were splitting the rocks open I was running around on the rocks. . " [12/26/1888]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 1128

Collection title: Armington Family Papers

Location within the collection: Box 1, folder 14

Size: 3.5" x 6"

Condition: The cover is becoming detached from the text block which is stable but fragile.

Graphic content: none

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.):

Provenance: 2003. 74. 1. 1- , gift of Albert Armington

Cataloged by Lori Salotto


Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:


Diaries, 1886-1900

Thanksgiving Day

Notes on the Sophia (Harris) Babbit Diary

Entries dated 1871 to 1892


Name at birth: Harris, Sophia C.

Name after marriage: Babbitt, Sophia C. (Harris)

Birthdate and place: December 18, 1854, North Providence, RI

Death date and place: September 20, 1928, Providence, RI

Age range during diary: 17 - 38

Residence during diary: Providence, RI

Places written: England, France, Rhode Island

Biographical note: Sophia C. (Harris) was born in North Providence, R.I. to George J. and Sarah H. (Hawes) Harris. She was one of five siblings; a brother died young and a sister died at the age of twenty.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Unknown

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 4

Number of pages: Vo1. 1 - 100; Vol. 2 - 89; Vol. 3. - 231; Vol. 4 - 188

Exact dates: August 11, 1871 - 1873; 1890 - September 26, 1892

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Inside covers of the diaries

Brief description: These four diaries chronicles different periods of time in the life of Sophia Charlotte (Harris) Babbit. Volume one details the life of an upper class seventeen year old. Volumes two and three detail an extended trip to Europe when Sophia was between the ages of seventeen and nineteen. The final volume details the life of Sophia between the ages of 36 and 38.

Writing quality: Fair. Uses no punctuation. Thoughts just run one into another.

Related papers at RIHS: Diaries kept by Sophia's sisters, Alice and Sarah and by her mother, Sarah. Found in Mss 432.

Family members:

Father's name: Harris, George J.

Father's dates: 1805-1870

Mother's name: Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes)

Mother's dates: 1812-1890

Brothers: One brother who died young.

Sisters: Abby Caroline (1837-1907); Alice Frances (1843-1887); Sarah Greene (1844-1865); and Josephine.

Husband's name: Babbitt, Edward Miles

Father-in-law's name: Babbitt, Benjamin Bosworth

Father-in-law's dates: 1827-1888

Father-in-law's occupation: Clergyman in the Episcopal; President of South Carolina State University

Mother-in-law's name: Babbitt, Mary Elizabeth (Eaton)

Mother-in-law's dates: 1831-1879

Sons: George Harris (b. 1883)

Daughters: Sarah H. (b. 1882)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Sisters Abby and Alice; mother Sarah

Topical content:

Religious content: "I went to church all day" [11/26/1871] In France:"Went to the American Church the services were long but it seem very nice to hear an English Sermon..." [9/7/1872] "Took the children to Sunday school and Church" [12/26/1891]

Social life: "played one game of croquet read until ten oclock and then retired heard the band playing this evening and made me think of Taunton" [8/14/1871] "went to Cowesett for the day we had a Clam bake and a lovely time" [7/4/1892] "Took George to Crescent Park we sat on the beach and stayed all afternoon" [8/14/1892]

Family: "I have not written any since my dear Mother went to Taunton...was there one week and three days when she was taken sick I was telegraphed...the Dr. called her trouble fatty degeneration of the heart she suffered much for over two weeks was conscious during the whole time" [10/23/1890]

Childhood: "The children played all day up stairs with their presents" [12/26/1890] "Sarah sick couldn't take her dancing lesson" [12/6/1891]

Health: On a trip to Europe, the diarist was seasick most of the time. [6/29/1872 - 7/9/1872]

School: "Went to school this morning to have our studies arranged I am going to study ? Arith French and music as mother want me to." [9/8/1871]

Home production: "Very busy all day preserved some tomatoes or pickled them" [10/28/1890] "Made George a pair of trousers" [11/11/1890] "Ella and I cleaned the parlor thoroughly before dinner" [8/5/1891] "Washed the dining room windows" [5/2/1891]

Work outside home: "after dinner Mother and I went in the buggy and collected the rent" [9/5/1871]

Fashion: "Mother and H rode in town...to get H a white dress but could not find any to suit I cut out and commenced a pair of drawers" [8/15/1871] "Mother and I went Pawtucket to the town clerks office on business then we went in to one of the stores there and I bought a pair of morning cuffs and corset." [9/6/1871]

Food and drink: In New York City: "we went in saloon got one of the most delicious sherbets that I ever tasted..." [6/28/1872] On board the 'City of Paris' bound for England: "I took some champagne and it made me sick all afternoon." [6/30/1872] "we at last landed safely at Calais took the train there bought a lunch at the station of lemonade sandwiches and oranges we ate it in the car and enjoyed it very much..." [7/26/1872] In France:"for dinner we had 1st soup 2nd delicious fried fish 3rd roast beaf potatoes and lettuce salade with egg 4th Mushrooms on toast with some kind of meat in them 5th white grapes peaches green almonds Chalotte de rouseee and Wine for every course we enjoyed our dinner very much." [8/3/1872]

Labor: "had a woman here to wash paid her $1.00" [5/12/1890] "Paid Mr. Mckay thirty dollars for repairing the house" [10/9/1891] "woman came and washed paid her 75 cents" [5/9/1891]

Gender relations: "saw quite a number of young gentlemen one of whom bowed but we did not think best to return it" [8/22/1871] "saw a splendid looking gentleman coming home he looked a us very hard as we stopped on Dorance St" [8/23/1871] "H and I rode to the ? this morning saw C M to bow to twice and several times after we tried to follow him home but he was so near and walked so slow that we could not get up the spunk to do it" [8/25/1871]

Travel: Three volumes pertaining to travel in Europe [1872-1873] "went to Jaffrey [NH?] for two weeks with the children and Miss Mosher we had a delightful time" [8/28/1891]

Geographical and architectural: "we all took a cab to the houses of Parliament went all through the different rooms the house of Lords and commons then we walked to the gardins of Buckingham Palace.." [7/20/1872] In Switzerland:"At half past eleven this morning mother Mrs. Scovill Alice and Eliza all went to the castle." [10/18/1872]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 432

Collection title: Harris-Hawes Family Papers

Location within the collection: Box 1, folders 10-12

Size: Vol. 1 - 8 x 6 3/4; Vol.2 - 7 x 4 ½; Vol. 3 - 8 3/4 x 7; Vol. 4 - 11 1/4 x 7

Condition: Vol. 1 - Fair, binding is beginning to come apart and several pages torn out at the beginning of the diary; Vol. 2 - Good, one page is torn loose; Vol. 3 - Fair, several loose pages, binding coming undone; Vol. 4 - Poor, binding beginning to disintegrate, many pages loose, and paper brittle.

Graphic content: Vol. 2 - dried flower; Vol. 3. - dried flowers, French newspaper clipping; Vol. 4 - report card

Provenance: 1975. 73. 2. 1-, purchased from Nino D. Scotti.

Cataloged by Lori Salotto, July 2001


Browne, William Bradford, compiler. The Babbitt Family History, 1643-1900, 611-612, 668. Taunton, Mass.: C.A. Hack & Son, 1912.

Hawes, Raymond Gordon. The Edward Hawes Heirs, 92, 164. Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1996.

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:

Diaries, 1871-1873

Diaries, 1890-1892

England - description and travel

Europe - description and travel

France - description and travel

Harris, Abby Caroline (1837-1907)

Harris, Alice Frances (1843-1887)

Harris, George (b.1883)

Harris, Sarah (b. 1882)

Harris, Sarah H. (Hawes) (1812-1890)

Italy - description and travel

Providence, R.I. - social life and customs

Switzerland - description and travel

Notes on the Ellen Bacon Diary

Entries dated 1846 to 1855


Name at birth: Bacon, Ellen

Birthdate and place: September 8, 1827

Death date and place: March 18, 1857, New Haven, Conn.

Age range during diary: 18-28

Residence during diary: New Haven, Conn.

Places written: New Haven, Conn.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Congregationalist

Social class: Upper?

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 44

Exact dates: January 3 1847 - November 1855

Frequency of entries: Very sporadic; only four pages after 1849.

How was author identified?: Frequently refers to herself in the third person as Ellen Bacon; there is only one Ellen Bacon in the appropriate family tree of the proper age.

Writing quality: Excellent; quirky and deeply emotional.

Utility for research: Excellent resource for research on social misfits; too sporadic for any kind of systematic study. No Rhode Island content at all. Her sister's son married into the Rhode Island Hazard family, which is the only connection.

Related papers at RIHS: Bacon Family Papers (MSS 483, sg 54) relating to sister's family.

Family members:

Father's name: Bacon, Nathaniel Almoran

Father's dates: 1798-1870

Mother's name: Selden, Almira

Mother's dates: 1803-1867

Brothers: None

Sisters: Rebecca Bacon (1833-1864); Susan (Bacon) Bacon (1835-1887); others died young.

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: Dr. Leonard Bacon (1802-1881), prominent Congregational minister of New Haven, and not a close relation; after Ellen's death, Leonard Bacon's son married Ellen's sister. Grandmother Phebe (Ely) Selden (1766-1853)

Topical content:

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: Death of grandfather [7/5/1849]

Religious content: Long musings on quest for spiritual purity, interspersed with strange expressions of worldliness. "One great reason why I doubt concerning my spiritual welfare is that my thoughts dwell so continually and exclusively upon myself. I am willing to make some small sacrifices for others, but I do not feel for them." [1/20/1846] Frequently mentions the ministry of prominent Congregationalist Dr. Leonard Bacon. Baptised into church 4/26/1846. Taught Sunday School [7/11/1847]

Social life: One of her weird misfit friends: "I went to see the fireworks on the green with Sam Crafts. He is now under arrest for setting a building on fire in Woodbury a year or two since. What a strange fellow he is. He seems wonderfully out with human nature and human beings in general - thinks them so corrupt, so hollow and deceitful, acting from such wrong motives, etc...He has told me some strange things of what has happened in Woodbury pretty recently. I dare not put them down in this book for fear that by some possibility some one might get hold of them someday." [4/29/1847, page 20] "Samuel Crafts is, I suppose, now on the great ocean, on his way to collect some of that great ocean of gold recently discovered in California." [1/27/1849]

Her invalid cousin John "thinks I converse very peculiarly, so very frank, and yet with such decided reserve." [7/8/1847]. Escorted home "having Mr. Montgomery for a beau who as much as acknowledged that he thought it the greatest bore in the world to be obliged to come home with me." [7/9/1847] "Is my life a useful one? Am I doing a particle of good to any living creature? Answer: doubtful, but I will try." [7/10/1847] "Again naughty, bad, discontented Ellen, always naughty and bad and almost always discontented, comes to write in her journal." [7/12/1847] "Ellen is very naughty bad. She must be and do better. Today she has dwelt less on abstractions and seems a little more like the rest of the world." [7/14/1847]

Final depressing entry, in full: "Again Ellen sat by the window writing. My youth is past." [11/1855] She died within eighteen months at the age of 29.

Gender relations: A strange case of voyeurism: "Zamora and Julio. Zamora is a Cuban Spaniard of some twenty years. Julio is a younger man, perhaps sixteen or so. Zamora is very handsome, or at least I think so. They room nearly opposite us in what used to be called the back chamber when Aunty Sarah occupied that house. I discovered Zamora there two or three days ago. We can see them quite plainly from the back parlor window. We peep at them and they know it...That I, a sober minded woman of about twenty four should take any interest in peeping from a window to watch the motions of two foreigners much younger than myself may sound somewhat strange, yet so it is." [8/31, 9/1/1851]

Arts and culture: Recounting the past several months, notes that "my first published poem has also come out during this time." [7/5/1849]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 483, sg 54

Collection title: Bacon Family Papers

Location within the collection: Series 2, box 1, folder 7

Size: 8" x 7"

Condition: Fair; some mold damage

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): Diaries also available on microfilm as part of the series New England Women and their Families in the 18th and 19th Centuries: Personal Papers, Letters, and Diaries, Series C. Microfilm is filed under catalog number HQ1438 .R45, Part 1, Reel 1.

Provenance: 1974, gift of John C. Davies or Melville Davey Jr.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read in entirety, though not extremely carefully.


Baldwin, Thomas W. Michael Baldwin of Dedham, 1640, and his Descendants (Cambridge, Mass: 1915) This covers only Ellen's sister's family.

Rogers, Sophie Selden et al. Selden Ancestry: A Family History (Oil City, Penn.: 1931)

Subject headings:

New Haven, Conn. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Betsey (Metcalf) Baker Diary

Entries dated 1798 to 1804


Name at birth: Metcalf, Betsey

Name after marriage: Baker, Betsey (Metcalf)

Birthdate and place: March 29, 1786, Providence, R.I.

Death date and place: February 24, 1867, Dedham, Mass.

Age range during diary: 12-18 (actually written at about age 24, discussing earlier events)

Residence during diary: 64 Benefit St., Providence, R.I.; West Dedham, Mass.

Places written: Providence, R.I. ; Dedham, Mass.

Biographical note: Daughter of a successful Providence artisan, she taught herself to braid straw bonnets at age 12, and gained considerable notoriety as the first in America to master this craft. She continued attending school even as she built up a substantial bonnet business. She later taught school in Dedham, Mass. briefly before marrying an man of that town.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Congregationalist [see Joel Metcalf Papers]

Social class: Middle (artisan)

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 12

Exact dates: Covering 1798-1804, but originally written circa 1810 and extracted several decades later.

Frequency of entries: One entry

How was author identified?: Identified on first page.

Brief description: This item is not exactly a diary. It is an extract from a diary, but the part extracted is really just a history of her life prior to the time the diary began. "Memoir" would be a more accurate term. The focus of the entry is mostly on the author's early education, and her early experiences in braiding straw bonnets.

Writing quality: Very good. Direct and frank.

Utility for research: This has long been known as an important resource on bonnet braiding, but could also be used to good effect in studies of education and child labor in general. It is not really a diary, though, as it was written several years after the fact.

Related papers at RIHS: Filed with this journal extract is a letter in Baker's hand dated 1858, discussing almost exclusively her early bonnet business. A small collection of Joel Metcalf Papers (MSS 9001-M) includes her father's account books as a tanner, and a deed to a pew in the Congregational Church he purchased in 1796.

Family members:

Father's name: Metcalf, Joel

Father's dates: 1755-1834

Father's occupation: Tanner and currier, of Providence

Mother's name: Gay, Lucy

Mother's dates: b.1759

Brothers: Jesse Metcalf (1790-1838, father of the prominent manufacturer Jesse Metcalf); Joel Metcalf Jr. (1792-1868); Joseph G. Metcalf (1796-1854); Whiting Metcalf (1799-1856)

Sisters: Katy Metcalf (b.1780); Sophia Metcalf (b.1784) Lucy Metcalf (b.1788); Ruth Metcalf (b.1794)

Husband's name: Baker, Obed

Husband's dates: 1783-1868

Husband's occupation: Of Dedham, Mass.

Marriage date and place: Unknown

Father-in-law's name: Unknown

Mother-in-law's name: Unknown

Sons: Timothy Baker (1813-1890); Dexter Baker (b.1816); possibly others

Daughters: Unknown

Topical content:

Religious content: "I always went to meeting if I was well enough and was learned to sit still, though I think now I did not pay much attention to the preaching or I should not be so ignorant...I used to sit with the singers in the meeting house, which made me more fond of going to public worship." [p.10]

Childhood: At age 12, became supposedly the first American to master the craft of braiding straw bonnets.

School: Retrospective account of author's early schooling: "I was then old enough to write, therefore I was sent to a Men's School, But not having patience enough to be very particular about writing, I was too neglectful and by that means never attained that art... I do not consider that I understand cyphering, for in my opinion a person might do a thousand sums, and yet be ignorant of the first rules of arithmetic..." [pages 1-2]; "My father (who was one of the town council) was always anxious to have public schools. There was great exertions made by some of the opulent citizens of the town to prevent their being established...I continued going to school until I was 17...I then began to see the value in learning and my parents were not willing I should let work take my attention from the studies of the school" [pages 6-7]

Home production: Taught herself to braid straw bonnets at age twelve by copying English work, supposedly the first American ever to master this complex craft. There is a long account of this in the extract. Encouraged by an aunt living in her home; "I never should have persevered had it not been for her, for my mother and sisters thought I was spending my time in a useless manner, though they did not say much about it... My sister then learned and we had considerable of a manufactory... for 2 or 3 years it was very profitable business. I could frequently make 1 dollar per day..." [pages 2-4]

Work outside home: Recruited as a school teacher in 1804 while visiting cousins in Dedham, Mass.: "they being in want of a school mistress persuaded me to stay and teach 4 months. I told them at first I would not undertake, as I was unacquainted with the business, but they insisted on my trying and I finally told them I would stay if my parents were willing... I had about 70 different scholars, though about 40 at a time." [p.11]

Fashion: On the influence of the industrial revolution: "instead of being dressed in the apparel of their own making, they have purchased the vanities of Europe and have brought dress more in fashion when it was quite enough so before." [p.5]

Labor: On the work of braiding bonnets: "It is very injurious to the health, especially to work very steady. We used to do a great deal of business and was always hurried making bonnets." [p. 6]

Gender relations: Ponders whether her introduction of bonnet weaving to America had destroyed the delicate gender balance: "The consequences I fear have been more of an injury than otherwise to the New England states, for girls forsook all other employments such as spinning, weaving and the care of a family, and because they could get more by it continued to persevere, by which means they have neglected a necessary part of a females employment...Gentlemen say that it is almost impossible to get a girl to do housework in the country, they are so engaged in braiding straw." [p.5]

Arts and culture: "My father willing to give us the means, bought a right in the town library. I then began to read History and have read a number of good books. Ancient history was particularly pleasing, but they gave me strange ideas of mankind." [p.9-10]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-B

Collection title: Betsey Metcalf Baker Papers

Size: 8" x 5"

Condition: Good; unbound

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): The diary was published and annotated in Rhode Island History 57:3 (August/November 1997) as part of Jane Lancaster's article, "By the Pens of Females," pages 81-86.

Provenance: Unknown; first cataloged circa 1985.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read in entirety.


Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (Chicago: J.H. Beers, 1908), vol. 2, p. 790-791. This gives an excellent short biography of Betsey and her Metcalf family.

Dedham and Providence Vital Records

Subject headings:

Handicraft - Rhode Island - Providence

Providence, R.I. - Schools

Schools - Rhode Island - Providence

Straw work - Rhode Island - Providence

Notes on the Mary H. (Riley) Barker Diary

Entries dated 1935 to 1935


Name at birth: Riley, Mary Henchliffe

Name after marriage: Barker, Mary H. (Riley)

Birthdate and place: Circa 1880, England

Death date and place: October 9, 1959 in Pawtucket, RI

Age range during diary: 55

Residence during diary: 46 Greenfield Street, Pawtucket, RI

Places written: Pawtucket, RI

Biographical note: Mary Henchliffe (Riley) Barker was born in England circa 1880, came to the United States in 1910, and then lived in Central Falls and then Pawtucket, RI for most of her life. She married John Godber Barker and had two sons: John Rowland and Kenneth. The family lived at 188 Woodbine in Pawtucket from 1914-1932, when they moved to 46 Greenfield where they lived the rest of their lives. John Rowland inherited the house from his parents and he lived there until his death in 1999. They all participated in the lace and textile trades. John Godber was a lace card puncher as was John Rowland; Kenneth was a weaver.

Ethnicity: English

Religion of diarist: Catholic?

Social class: Working

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 44 pages

Exact dates: April 15, 1935 - May 31, 1935

Frequency of entries: Almost daily

How was author identified?: Several items about the diary suggest that it was written by Mary Henchliffe (Riley) Barker. The diary arrived with 4 other diaries written by her son John Rowland Barker. The diary is clearly not Rowland's, as the handwriting is very different and the entries discuss primarily groceries, laundry, meal preparation and planting flowers, activities which did not interest Rowland in the least. The entries mention both of Mary's sons Kenneth and Rowland and also J.G.B. which would be her husband John Godber Barker.

Brief description: Diary covering one month with brief entries about groceries, laundry, meals and the occasional social activity.

Writing quality: Author simply jots things down in a very informal style, but her handwriting is very clear.

Utility for research: Of limited research value except for the types of food people were buying and preparing in 1935.

Related papers at RIHS: Diaries of her son John Rowland Barker in MSS 1099.

Family members:

Husband's name: John Godber Barker

Husband's dates: died circa 1966

Husband's occupation: Lace card puncher for Bodell Lace Company in Pawtucket, RI

Marriage date and place: c1910

Sons: John Rowland Barker (1914-1999); Kenneth G. Barker (1912-2000)

Daughters: None

Topical content:

Social life: "Went riding 2 oclock till 6 p.m, took Mr. Lyne along, went to Lyne's for supper, had nice time till 10.30 Paid 80¢ for gas and oil" [4/21/1935]

Family: "Kenneth and Rowland recited 'The Lion and Albert' at St. Georges Church." [4/25/1935]

Work outside home: "Another lace machine came making the second to arrive." [5/6/1935]

Food and drink: Many of the entries include what groceries she bought and how much they cost and also the items she prepared for meals. "cooked leg of lamb, turned out splendiferous, Kenneth made Junket and Kremel Had wonderful supper at Minnies pie was a wow, boiled ham a wow, chips and spinach, coffee." [4/22/1935]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 1099

Collection title: John Rowland Barker (1914-1999) Papers

Location within the collection: Box 1, folder 18

Size: 6" x 3.5"

Condition: good

Provenance: 2002. 85. 1, purchased from Dennis Irvine

Cataloged by Karen Eberhart, September 2002


1930 U.S. Census, Rhode Island E.D. 247, page 19B

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1935

Pawtucket, RI - Social life and customs

Notes on the Emeline M. (Eames) Barstow Diary

Entries dated 1836 to 1839


Name at birth: Eames, Emeline M.

Name after marriage: Barstow, Emeline M. (Eames)

Birthdate and place: February 20, 1813, Dedham, Mass.

Death date and place: November 15, 1900, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 23-26

Residence during diary: 11 High St., Providence, R.I.

Places written: Providence, R.I.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Congregationalist

Social class: Middle - upper?

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 53

Exact dates: June 26 1836 - April 7 1839

Frequency of entries: Very sporadic

How was author identified?: Part of Barstow family papers; mentions third wedding anniversary on 5/28/1837, and 24th birthday on 2/20/1837.

Brief description: Spiritual diary of young Providence wife.

Writing quality: Very good in its own limited genre.

Utility for research: Probably of little interest except as a document of great religious faith.

Related papers at RIHS: Amos C. Barstow Family Papers include scattered correspondence of her husband and children, as well as two memoranda books filled with poems and quotations from her friends (one of these books shares space with the diary).

Family members:

Father's name: Eames, James

Father's dates: Stove manufacturer, Providence, R.I.

Father's occupation: 1788-1865

Mother's name: Mumford, Sarah

Mother's dates: 1789-1885

Brothers: Eames, James H. (1814-1877); possibly others.

Sisters: Joanna (Eames) Barstow (1822-1906); possibly others

Husband's name: Barstow, Amos C.

Husband's dates: 1813-1894

Husband's occupation: Stove manufacturer, Providence, R.I.

Marriage date and place: May 28, 1834, Providence, R.I.

Father-in-law's name: Barstow, Nathaniel

Father-in-law's dates: 1788-1849

Father-in-law's occupation: Unknown

Mother-in-law's name: Chaffee, Sophia

Mother-in-law's dates: d.1817

Sons: George E. Barstow (b.1849)

Daughters: Sarah S. (Barstow) Thomas (1839-1901); Emeline E. (Barstow) Bradford (1840-1937); Mary L. (Barstow) Cooke (1842-1919); Martha M. (Barstow) Cutler (1844-1873); Anna J. (Barstow) Bartlett (1846-1923)

Topical content:

Religious content: This diary consists almost entirety of spiritual musings on the judgement day, guilt, woe and unworthiness before the Heavenly Father. In fact, everything dealing with the material world has been extracted below.

Musings on Catholicism: "Sitting near my window I have just espied a cross on the top of a Roman Catholic church, but recently erected, which has produced solemn, and afflicting reflections in my mind. While it reminds me of the heart-rending scenes of cavalry, it causes me to feel as though in this instance it is raised in solemn mockery toward heaven by a people, who pay greater homage to the mother of my Lord than to himself, which is forbidden by the holy scriptures..." [11/12/1837]

Mentions membership in the High Street Foreign Missionary Society [12/21/1837], presumably of High Street Congregational Church.

Social life: Long description of "the mournful intelligence of the death of one of the school associates of my early childhood. Mournful indeed because she left no evidence that she was a child of God, an heir of Heaven." Friend not named, but details of her life are discussed.[2/19/1837]

Marriage: "Today is the third anniversary of my marriage. The time since that memorable eve in which my plighted vows to be a faithful, and affectionate wife were made, have fled swiftly, and imperceptibly away. O how I lament my unfaithfulness in the performance of the duties, which this sacred relation devolved upon me. Although I had a sufficient time I grieve that I entered, as I fear too many do without due consideration upon this holy relation. My cup since then like any other of human happiness has been one of alloy..." [5/28/1837]

Health: "Ill health and bad weather detain me from the house of the Lord today." [1/15/1837]. debates whether languor of spirit is due to "the diseased state of my bodily frame" or "a true record of the state of my heart." [5/21/1837]. "It is now more than three years since I enjoyed health and have been a stranger to it and the comforts it bears on its wings." [9/7/1837]. "More than six months I have been deprived the blessed privilege of visiting the house of God." [12/3/1837] Expresses gratitude for "my restoration to health (to so great a degree) which to all human appearance a year since I had not much reason to expect." [4/7/1839]

Travel: Trip up the Hudson River, N.Y. [7/14/1836-8/7/1836] with some description of river scenery. "On the eastern bank is Singsing the place where the State-prison is located. A view of this place is calculated to produce feelings of sadness in a reflecting mind." [7/15/1836]. Thence to Saratoga; "we left not supposing the springs would have any salutary effect upon my health, and if not it would not be for the glory of God to prolong the stay." [7/31/1836]. Next to Ashford, Conn., her childhood home, "the place of many of my own childish sports and amusements". [7/31/1836]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 284

Collection title: Amos C. Barstow Family Papers

Location within the collection:

Size: 8" x 7"

Condition: Poor; binding almost completely disintegrated, though pages are fair.

Provenance: 1976. 122. 1-, gift of Alison Connor, probably from estate of Grace (Barstow) Murphy, the author's granddaughter who owned the collection through at least 1964.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Skimmed carefully and extracted all non-religious content.


Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Providence city directories

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1836-1839

Notes on the Grace M. (Palmer) Barstow Diary

Entries dated 1873 to 1907


Name at birth: Palmer, Grace Mason

Name after marriage: Barstow, Grace M. (Palmer)

Birthdate and place: March 2, 1850, Newark, N.Y.

Death date and place: October 29, 1933, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 23-27 and 56

Residence during diary: Providence, R.I.; at the corner of Waterman and Cooke Streets while with parents, and at 224 Angell St. after marriage.

Places written: 1873-1875: Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Austro-Hungary, Germany.

1906-1907: Geneva, Switzerland

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Protestant

Social class: Upper?

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 3

Number of pages: 178, 55, 38

Exact dates: July 19 1873 - February 18 1875; December 31 1906 - January 12 1907 (this last part was written in dictation to daughter)

Frequency of entries: Regular

How was author identified?: Signed

Brief description: 1873-1875: Travels through Europe with Aunt Amelia and "Uncle A."

Writing quality: Fairly good

Utility for research: An average travel diary, without much personal content.

Related papers at RIHS: Amos C. Barstow Family Papers include miscellaneous family correspondence and diary of daughter.

Family members:

Father's name: Palmer, John Barstow

Father's dates: 1819-1868

Father's occupation: Jeweler of Providence, R.I.; died of "insanity".

Mother's name: Mason, Mary P.

Mother's dates: 1820-1898

Brothers: Unknown

Sisters: Leila B. Palmer (1856-1904)

Husband's name: Barstow, Amos C. Jr.

Husband's dates: 1848-1903

Husband's occupation: Stove manufacturer, Providence, R.I.

Marriage date and place: June 27, 1876, Providence, R.I.

Father-in-law's name: Barstow, Amos C.

Father-in-law's dates: 1813-1894

Father-in-law's occupation: Stove manufacturer, Providence

Mother-in-law's name: Eames, Emeline M.

Mother-in-law's dates: 1813-1900

Sons: John P. Barstow (1880-1937); Amos C. Barstow III (1877-1879); possibly others

Daughters: Grace E. (Barstow) Murphy (1888-1975); Mary M. (Barstow) Guernsey (1879-1967); possibly others

Topical content:

Marriage: "Letters today! They contained the astonishing news of Harris Metcalf's elopement and Edith Burgess's marriage and divorce from James Littlefield." [1/4/1907]

Class relations: On visiting a church in Venice: "The church was full of poor people, who crowd into churches as the one place of comfort and happiness. Poor things, it is all they have. So many poor miserable people almost makes one's heart ache." [11/16/1873]

Travel: Very long European vacation with aunt and uncle. Fairly detailed description of sights, but less personal insight.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 284

Collection title: Amos C. Barstow Family Papers

Size: Various

Condition: Fair; bindings loose

Provenance: 1976. 122. 1-, gift of Alison Connor, probably from estate of Grace (Barstow) Murphy, the author's daughter who owned the collection through at least 1964.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Only skimmed.


Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Providence city directories

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1873-1907

Europe - Description and travel

Notes on the Miriam G. Macomber Diary

Entries dated 1932 to 1932


Name at birth: Macomber, Miriam G.

Name after marriage: Battey, Miriam G. (Macomber)

Birthdate and place: February 8, 1910

Death date and place: January 1996, gravestone in Coventry, RI

Age range during diary: 21 - 22

Residence during diary: Providence R.I. (address unknown)

Places written: Providence, RI; Old Orchard Beach, ME; New York City

Biographical note: Spent earliest years in Providence, moved to Attleboro, Mass. with family by 1920, and then to Maine circa 1925. By 1931, returned to Providence to attend Rhode Island School of Design, dropped out in 1932, and worked as a jewelry designer. In 1937, married Walter M. Battey, a waiter at the Majestic Spa and later the Burns-Pullman Diner in Providence. He later served in World War II and died in 1957. Miriam died in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, where her parents had run a cabin rental business.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Social class: Middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 183

Exact dates: January 1 - December 31 1932

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Signed inside front cover; SSDI data matches 22nd birthday entry on February 8 1932.

Brief description: Lively account of the social and working life of a young single woman working as a jewelry designer in Providence in the early part of the Great Depression.

Writing quality: Generally good, though some entries are very short.

Related papers at RIHS: None

Family members:

Father's name: Macomber, Leonard A.

Father's dates: 1884-1943

Father's occupation: Draftsman

Mother's name: Baker, Grace L.

Mother's dates: 1888-1966

Brothers: Chester A. "Chet" Macomber (1912-)

Sisters: None known

Husband's name: Battey, Walter M.

Husband's dates: 1909-1956

Husband's occupation: Waiter

Marriage date and place: January 30, 1937 in Providence

Sons: None?

Daughters: None?

Other persons frequently mentioned: Two regular beaus were Richard "Bucky" Burgess (b.12/27, possibly the Richard P. Burgess who lived 12/27/1907-4/19/1993) and Stuart J. Jackson (12/28/1903-3/1/1995). "Went with Ev to the supper & speaker at Alumni Hall Pembroke. Mr. Rennie Smith of London (house of Commons). We received a personal invitation from him to visit there. Sat beside him at supper & entertained him no less till it was time for him to speak about Gandi in England. He was great." [2/10/1932]

Topical content:

Religious content: Rarely mentions church. "I went to church at Mathewson St. a wonderful sermon." [2/7/1932] "Went to church. Tonight Sunday School... Then we came home on the six o'clock bus. Some of the Prov. Bible Institute people were on the bus & we sang hymns all the way home. Had a fine time." [4/17/1932] "Read the last part of Genesis." [7/26/1932] "Got up , went to Pawt. to Communion, sat with Grandpa." [11/6/1932]

Social life: Detailed account of social life of busy young woman with wide circle of acquaintances. "We went to the Arcadia to dance. I can't see anything wrong with the place. I sure enjoyed it." [1/9/1932] "Went to the movies with Lill, Buck and Bob & I. Saw 'Freaks' - what a picture!" [2/19/1932] "Went canoeing with Bob Perlie and Mable up on the Ten Mile Lake." [6/28/1932] "Went up to High School with Gladys. After which we came back to Y for Style Show and dance. The very best evening I ever spent with a bunch of girls. Just loads of fun." [10/3/1932]

Family: Attended Aunt Nellie's funeral, mentions several family members. [1/17/1932] For birthday, saw grandfather and other relatives [2/8/1932] Parents and brother came to Rhode Island for Easter [3/26-27/1932] Paid surprise visit on father in Maine for his birthday, 4/30/1932. Family came down for surprise visit 11/12/1932.

Marriage: Possible reference to future husband: "Stopped at Mac's studio and saw Walter & Mac. Found out that Walter has been married a year." [7/22/1932] Her future husband Walter M. Battey was listed in the 1934 Providence directory with a wife named Bernadette.

School: "Went up to the R.I.S.D and gave up school. I feel much better already." [1/4/1932] "Gladys, Marion & I went up to night school... I think I'm going to like it." [10/10/1932] "Chemistry teacher sure is loads of fun. Here's hoping I can learn something." [10/14/1932]

Work outside home: Works, apparently as a jewelry designer. "What a day at the shop. I am tired." [1/9/1932] "Worked hard as usual." [1/11/1932] "Worked - met one of the New York buyers." [1/12/1932] "Worked. A hard day. Took charge of a Boston buyer today. I sure have enough to do." [2/25/1932] "Mr. Hendrickson told me I'd been raised to 35 cents an hour." [4/1/1932] "The surprise of my life. The boss talked to me and is going to place his faith in me & let the others go. Here's hoping I don't fall down on the job." [4/2/1932] "Informed at 5 PM that I was to go to N.Y. at 8 AM Fri. but thank goodness he changed his mind, now I'll go down Sun. night." [4/7/1932] Worked in New York 4/11-4/15/1932. "Worked in Hamm's window all day. What a job." [4/13/1932] Severe sore throat: "Stayed home from work the first time since I started." [5/11/1932] "Worked. Visited Albert Lorsch Co. this afternoon. Mr. Shepard & I had quite a talk." [8/8/1932] [Clinton E. Shepard was the manager of the Providence branch of Lorsch, a precious stones dealer] "Opened a bank account with the Old Stone Bank. I put in $2 to start. That helps to make one feel better." [9/12/1932] "Mr. Corneligia went down to see about taking out a patent on my ring. Oh boy! Here's hoping it." [10/12/1932] "Signed papers for my patent." [10/17/1932] "Had a talk with the boss. The sky sure looks rosy for me. He gave me a fifty dollar check to do with as I please." [11/2/1932] "Mr. Fife was laid off Saturday - what next." [11/28/1932] [Stanton R. Fife, the only male Fife in the 1930 Providence directory, was employed as a designer at Ostby & Barton Co., manufacturing jewelers, and was gone by 1933]

Fashion: "I bought a darling red semi-formal dress to wear at the dance next Friday night. I bought red because S[tuart] likes it on me (oh we girls)." [1/2/1932]

Food and drink: After a RISD dance, "Ken took me to the Blue Moon after for a chicken sandwich." [1/8/1932] After dance, "We went down to Childs' with Lil & Buck. I had crackers & milk. Home about 12:30" [2/17/1932] After dance, "went over to a place the boys call Steve's and we had a sandwich. The radio was going so Bob & I danced." [4/6/1932] "We went with the gang over to the little restaurant on Broad St." [4/20/1932] Went to Child's after dances, 6/9 and 6/11/1932. After dance, "we stopped at Child's & had batter cakes. He bought me the cutest little maple sugar man. Bed 1:30 A.M." [9/7/1932]

Race / ethnicity content: Near Taunton: "Herb and I, Arthur and his girlfriend went to a (I suppose you call it a road house) to dine & dance. Cheap crowd. Didn't like music (colored) but I had a good time just the same." [10/8/1932]

Community: "Wish to great guns I was a little further away from the dance music when I'm trying to sleep." [1/20/1932]

Gender relations: Begins diary in romance with Stuart J. Jackson. Several of her January entries regarding Stuart are annotated with entries like "Bunk, 3/8/1932", suggesting that she changed her mind about him. Other entries are crossed out. "Why do I just wait for Stuart to call when I know perfectly well the very best thing for me is to tell him to go right straight to the dickens?" [1/22/1932] "Stuart called just after Bob came Friday. It certainly sounded like sour grapes to me. Said he was very much pleased with my choice of his successor." [2/12/1932] "Bob hasn't called for three days. I guess he was peeved alright. I am so tired. Why can't people be decent instead of ruffling everyone up over the littlest things that don't amount to anything." [2/27/1932] Bob's 24th birthday [3/3/1932] "I still can't put J.E.H. out of my heart 4 years now. I guess I never will. It doesn't seem so long ago. What a wonderful summer that was." [3/11/1932] "The last Wednesday night dance with Bob for She comes back next Wednesday. Darn!" [4/20/1932] Beau for May was named Bill. "Decided the last time for Bill." [6/18/1932] "Bill called, wanted me to go swimming, but decided no time like the present to break off." [6/19/1932] "Bill called & asked me to go on a moonlight sail with him Wednesday night but needless to say I said no. Darn! Why was it he that should have to ask me." [7/18/1932] "Went to Taunton with Reynolds and had supper at his house... We came over to Rhodes to dance & I was perfectly horrid to him." [7/30/1932] "Stuart called me & I finely decided to go to the movies with him." [9/9/1932] "Saw a fellow who reminds me of someone. I wonder if I'll get to know him & if so will I like him as well as a certain person???" [10/25/1932]

"Called on Florence [Alden?], found her in bed. She isn't going to have her baby." [4/4/1932]

Progress: "Life is just one darn thing after another & I sometimes think after all it doesn't amount to very much." [1/15/1932] "Got in at one AM. What a life. I love it though. I really do enjoy living life." [2/11/1932] "Worked hard all day. What a life. All I want to do is sleep. I never use to like sleep better than going places but I sure do now." [7/27/1932]

Arts and culture: "We went to the Paramount and saw the Four Marx Brothers in 'Horsefeathers.' Fairly good." [8/24/1932] In NY, "went to Paramount, saw Maurice Chevalier in person." [11/13/1932]

Travel: In New York City on business trips 4/10-4/15/1932, and 11/13-11/20/1932. Old Orchard Beach, Maine 4/30/1932, 5/28-5/30/1932, 7/2-7/17/1932, 8/13-8/14/1932, 11/23-11/27/1932, 12/24-12/26/1932.

Geographical and architectural: "Ev and I got up around 1/4 of 1 AM to go up on the roof to see what the fire on the next corner looked like. We had beer up on the roof before retiring. It was great night." [7/24/1932]

Organizations: "I was initiated into the Korine Klub but I'm not crazy about it." [3/25/1932]. Involved in theater - elected assistant prop mistress of the Rehearsal Club, 6/6/1932.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-M

Collection title: Miriam G. Macomber Diary

Location within the collection:

Size: 7" x 5"

Condition: Excellent

Graphic content: None

Provenance: 2002. 49, purchased from William Ayer

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, July 2002


Providence directories

Rhode Island Cemetery Index

Rhode Island marriage index, 1936-1940

Social Security Death Index

1920 U.S. Census, Massachusetts E.D. 3, page 12 (Macomber family)

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1932

Jewelry trade - Rhode Island - Providence

Maine - Social life and customs

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Julia A. Rider Diary

Entries dated 1869 to 1870


Name at birth: Rider, Julia A.

Name after marriage: Bayles, Julia (Rider)

Birthdate and place: October 10, 1848, in Dennis, MA

Death date and place: Before 1880

Age range during diary: 20 - 21

Residence during diary: Newport RI; Dennis?, Cape Cod, MA

Places written: Newport, Cape Cod

Biographical note: Julia begins writing the diary while she is living in Newport, RI. In February she moves with the rest of the family to another home in Cape Cod. Their house in Cape Cod is somewhere near Harwich and Dennis, Massachusetts. Julia teaches at a local school and also gives private music lessons. When she is not instructing, Julia spends time sewing and visiting with friends and relatives. She married shortly after this diary was written, and had died by 1880.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Social class: Upper-middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 132

Exact dates: January 1, 1869 to January 1, 1870

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Diary signed by author

Brief description: Diary of a young woman living in Newport, RI and Cape Cod, MA for the year 1869.

Writing quality: Writes in terse phrases without emotion or introspection. Handwriting is fairly legible.

Utility for research: Julia mostly lists who she visits or is visited by and the things she does each day. While she touches upon many interesting topics, Julia rarely does more than name them. The shopping list at the end is interesting, and a reader certainly gets a sense of what her daily schedule might have been, but gets very little idea about what she thought or felt.

Family members:

Father's name: Herman Rider

Father's dates: September 7, 1824 to 1898

Father's occupation: Mariner

Mother's name: 1) Julia Ann Kelley 2)Sophia R. Kelley: According to one source, Julia Rider is the daughter of Julia Ann Kelley and Herman Rider. Julia Ann Kelley died one year after Julia Rider's birth, and Herman soon thereafter married Sophia Kelley. When "mother" is mentioned in the diary it most likely refers to Sophia.

Mother's dates: 1) 1831-1849. 2) 1833-1917

Sisters: Susan A. Rider b. April 29, 1857, Newport RI.

Husband's name: G. Frank Bayles

Husband's dates: c1846-a1920

Husband's occupation: Grocer

Marriage date and place: December 6 1870

Father-in-law's name: James M. Bayles

Father-in-law's dates: c1815-

Father-in-law's occupation: Shipbuilder

Daughters: Charlotte Bayles? (listed living with G. Frank Bayles in Brookhaven New York in the 1920 census, but not with him in 1880)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Mary Carr, Lizzie Sherman, Myrna Allen, Laura Mumford, Mary Baily, Mr. and Mrs. Barrows, Laura and Emma White, Sophie, Mr. Thayers, Charlie Chase, Aunt Louise, the Bakers, Mary Chapman, Aunt Olive and Uncle Edward, Uncle Evan and Aunt Ruth, Annie and Everett, Phobe and Edwin Robbins, Grandpa Rider, Grandma and Grandpa Kelly, Aunt Joanna and Uncle David. Emma Harden?

Topical content:

Events discussed: "I went up to the Aquidneck to see the velocipedes." [2/12] "Went to the Wickford Clambake." [8/11] "Went to ride to Hyannis...to the race." [9/4] "Went with Jimmie up to Harwich Center to the Temperance Convention" [10/26]

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: "Went to Mrs. J. Bangs? funeral" [3/26] "[Keyiah's?] baby died."[4/9] "Up to Grandma's and to the funeral." [4/11] "Uncle Edward died at noon" [11/27] "Uncle Edward was buried at noon." [11/30] "Received Maria Lincoln's wedding card" [4/27]

Religious content: Julia attends church almost every Sunday and goes to Sunday school. "Went to Mr. Thayer's church in the morning." [1/24] "Went to Central Baptist church in the morning and to the chapel with Mary Carr in the afternoon" [8/8] "Went to High Mass. Catholic church with L. Mumford and M. Carr in the morning. Laura and Emma White spent evening here. Our church caught fire." [1/20].

Social life: Julia Rider's social life seems to have been pretty busy. She visited with friends and family almost daily. She participated in a sewing circle, played croquet, and enjoyed local social events. "Played croquet in the afternoon" [7/12] "Went to beach in the morning." [8/6] "Annie and I went to a social at Ocean Hall" [8/27] "Went to the Atlantic social with David Pinnigar" [2/9] "Went to sewing circle." [11/25] "Went to a chowder party." [12/10]

Family: Julia spends a lot of time with her extended family up in Cape Cod. She often visits her Grandpa Rider and Grandma and Grandpa Kelly [sic] and her many aunts and uncles. She writes to her father regularly while he is away on business. She does not mention any siblings, but records indicate that she had a sister named Susan by 1869. Julia does mention giving "Susie" a music lesson. [5/11] She seems especially close with her Grandmother Kelly [8/21] as she visits with her regularly.

Marriage: There is no mention of her husband nor are the men who call on her noted explicitly as suitors.

Health: Julia does not mention any health problems. She does note when anyone in her family takes ill. "Aunt Louise and baby came down and stayed all night. The sewing circle met here. The baby taken with sick with the croup." [12/2] "Mother taken sick." [4/21] "Was weighed - 128 lbs." [9/7] "Went to a lecture on health." [3/3]

School: Julia was a teacher although she does not mention what level of school she teaches. She also gave private music lessons. "Began teaching school." [3/29] "I went with the school on a picnic over to Bellesneck woods." [6/18] "Gave Emma a music lesson. No school." [7/5]

Home production: The last couple of pages of the diary are devoted to Julia's purchases. She records what she bought and how much it cost: "yarn and crayon - 28 cents, 1 pair boots - 3.00..." Julia was a productive sewer and was often working on clothes for herself or family members. "Finished my white dress this morning" [9/7] "Commenced mother's dress, made and cut the skirt." [1/13] "Grandma and I baked for Thanksgiving." [11/17]

Work outside home: Julia Rider was an active member of the Good Templars and attended other community meetings. "Went to Good Templars and was chosen w. secretary." [4/27] "Went to church all day, in the evening to Union meeting at Mr. Thayer's." [1/10] "Sabbath School convention held at our church." [6/23] "Went to lodge in the evening, was installed right supporter, public installation." [11/2]

Fashion: She does not discuss fashion explicitly except in relation to her sewing. "Bought black and yellow necktie for 55 cents." [1/2] "Bought 2 yds braid for plaid dress." [1/1]

Food and drink: "Went to Good Templars. Took some ice cream." [6/8] "Had our pig killed. Grandma K and K were her to dinner." [11/13]

Community: Julia seems to have been pretty involved in the church and masonic communities of which she was a part. She regularly goes to church, meeting, and lodge.

Gender relations: Julia does seem popular with the gentlemen and enjoys their company and receiving their gifts. "Sam Baker called here, gave me his picture" [7/16] "Received ring from C. Lothrup" [10/11]

Progress: "Went up and had a picture taken in the morning. 75 cents." [1/21] "Had four little pictures taken for 65 cents." [1/22] "I went up to the Aquidneck to see the velocipedes." [2/12]

Arts and culture: "Read a piece entitled 'Pleasures of the imagination.'" [11/9] "Read a piece entitled 'Meditation.'" [7/6] "Went to the Good Templars and read Shakespeare's 'Wolsey'" [4/6] "Took John Halifax's 'Gentleman' out of the library." [1/8]

Travel: Her parents traveled to New York on several occasions and her father seemed to have regular business there. "Went to Providence with Sophie and Marie Carr." [8/3]

Organizations: Good Templars, Union, lodge. "Went to Masonic installation in the evening." [1/5]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-R

Collection title: Julia A. Rider Diary

Size: 5" x 3"

Condition: Good condition. The cover is in good shape, and a few of the pages are loose. Nearly all the writing is in pencil and in a couple instances the writing is very light.

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): This is a small manufactured pocket diary. It has a blank space for every day of the year 1869. The front pages include a calendar, a chart revealing distance and time by rail to various cities from New York, and rates of postage. The rest of the diary consists of 3 spaces per page, each space being a separate day.

Provenance: 2002. 13, purchased from Joellen McNamara

Cataloged by Andrew Kerr, December 2002


1880 U.S. Census, New York E.D. 313, page 40

Subject headings:

Cape Cod, MA - social life and customs

Diaries - 1869 

Newport, RI - social life and customs

Notes on the Madeleine Bengston Diaries

Entries dated 1931 to 1944


Name at birth: Bengston, Madeline

Birthdate and place: 1907

Death date and place: 1996

Age range during diary: 23-24, 27-37

Residence during diary: East Greenwich, R.I.

Places written: East Greenwich, R.I.

Biographical note: Graduated from the East Greenwich Academy in 1925, and then was employed at the Rhode Island Insurance Company for fifteen years before being laid off in 1940. She never married. Swedish-American woman, lived with parents and worked as secretary. Active in church affairs.

Ethnicity: Swedish-American

Religion of diarist: Swedish Lutheran?

Social class: Middle - working

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 3

Number of pages: 122, 365, 365

Exact dates: Complete for 1931, and 1935 to 1944.

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Donated by the executor of her estate; the content fits the known facts of her life.

Brief description: Diaries of Swedish-American secretary.

Writing quality: Very plain and unemotional.

Utility for research: Documents working women, World War II, Swedish-Americans, religious life and the Depression. Unfortunately, the writing is not very lively, but this is still a very good resource.

Related papers at RIHS: Madeline Bengston Family Papers (MSS 994)

Family members:

Father's name: Bengston, John Albert

Father's dates: 1865-1944

Mother's name: Olson, Alma K.

Mother's dates: 1871-1946

Brothers: None?

Sisters: None?

Husband's name: None

Topical content:

Events discussed: On day of attack on Pearl Harbor: "Went to Sunday School in the morning and evening. Addressed my Christmas cards in the afternoon." [12/7/1941]. Not much mention of war, except occasional excursions to U.S.O. "Went down to the Eldredge School in the evening to help register people for gasoline." [7/10/1942]. "Went down to the town hall in the evening to have our pictures taken for the Air Raid wardens." [8/13/1942]

Religious content: Very active in church. Cataloging books for church library, member of Young Peoples Meeting, etc., Sunday School teacher [1/1931]

Social life: Visits from church friends.

Family: Living with parents; occasionally sees other relatives. [See 6/5/1938]. Visit from Lars Olson and others; "Ma hasn't seen her brother in 43 years. Very nice." [7/29/1939] Father's birthdays, December 4; mother's on November 5.

Marriage: "Pa and Ma's wedding anniversary. They have been married 40 years." [5/28/1944]

Aging: Living with aging parents. Father broke hip [9/15/1944] and died soon after [10/4/1944]

School: Attending teacher training classes, presumably for Sunday School [1-2/1931]. Taking stenography course at East Greenwich Academy [3/1935]

Home production: Often notes "Helped Ma with the work" , which is never described. Family took in lodger, Long Island native and Quonset Point worker Norman Byrne. [10/29/1940] "Mr. Hauptmann, our roomer, came home tonight." [12/22/1941]

Work outside home: Worked for the Rhode Island Insurance Company for 15 years, apparently as a clerk or secretary. Diary scarcely alludes to work, other than sometimes the means of transportation home: early train, late train or bus. Apparently had one Saturday a month off, which is noted. Laid off without warning one day: "Went to work, got there on time. Received bad news, was laid off, because of reduction in force, due to merger of the Rhode Island & Merchants Ins. Cos. Worked half a day." [2/15/1940] The lay-off letter is preserved in the collection, and is a remarkable example of false corporate concern. The diaries mention the job search almost every day for the next few months. After six months, "Had a call to go to Apponaug Co. to see Mr. Williams regarding work. Got a temporary position & am starting work Monday." [8/23/1940]. Search continued. Practiced typing for three straight days and took Civil Service exam as a typist [9/18-21/1940]. Seems to have worked steadily after this date, but hard to tell where. "Had a party at the office. The company gave us $25.00 as a bonus (it included a $18.75 war bond." [12/23/1944]

Fashion: Rarely mentioned clothes. "I bought a new black winter coat with silver fox, $76.95." [11/21/1942]

Food and drink: "Went up to Carlton Restaurant in Prov at night to Young Peoples Banquet." [3/23/1935] At a hamburger roast at Goddard Park [7/24/1939]. Dinner at Shore Acres with mother and Charlie Nelson [8/9/1942].

Race / ethnicity content: Good sense of community among Swedish-American; all friends have Swedish names. Active in Swedish church affairs.

Labor: "Went in at the telephone exchange and watched the operators. Virginia Kelly asked me to come in and see them." [6/3/1938]

Arts and culture: "Went up to Providence in the morning to sing over the air (choir) (Swedish Radio Service)." [3/17/1935]. Played in church string band [5/18/1937]

Travel: Trip to Wilmington, Del., Philadelphia and Washington D.C. with friend Alice Johnson. Saw mainly Swedish church and historical sights. "Tired but have seen a lot and spent lots of money. The total trip cost $80.32." [6/25 - 7/7/1938] To church conference in Forestville, Conn. [7/1/1939]

Organizations: Spoke at the Young People's Meeting on "The Life of a Christian", presumably at her church [1/25/1931]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 994

Collection title: Madeline Bengston Family Papers

Location within the collection:

Size: 3" x 2" and 6" x 5"

Condition: Good

Provenance: 1996. 73. 1. 1-, gift of Adolph N. Anderson Jr., executor of her estate.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read only 1-2/1931, 3/1935, 4/1936, 5/1937, 6/1938, 7/1939, 2/1940, 8-10/1940, 12/1941, most of 1942, 10/1944, 12/1944


Evidence gleaned from diaries and other papers in collection.

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1931-1944

East Greenwich, R.I. - Social life and customs

Swedish-Americans - Rhode Island

Notes on the Rowena (MacLellan) Blaine Diary

Entries dated 1905 to 1965


Name at birth: MacLellan, Rowena

Name after marriage: Blaine, Rowena (MacLellan)

Birthdate and place: December 27, 1886 in Newport, RI

Death date and place: April 1965 in Newport, RI

Age range during diary: 19 - 79

Residence during diary: 3 Fowler Ave., Newport, RI and 51 Friendship St., Newport, RI

Places written: Newport, RI

Biographical note: Rowena was born and lived her whole life in Newport, RI. She was a 1909 graduate of Rhode Island Normal School and taught in the Newport school system until her marriage in 1918 and then returned to teaching in the fall of 1954. During the intervening years she was a housewife, mother and also worked in her husband's jewelry store. Joseph Blaine died in 1953 and the family sold the business. Rowena's sister Janet lived with her from 1940 until Janet's death in 1959.

Ethnicity: Scottish-American

Religion of diarist: Baptist

Social class: Middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 17

Number of pages: 12 volumes for 1913-1965 with about 400 pages each; 1963 diary has 128; 1905 has 22; 1907 has 29; 1908 has 96

Exact dates: June 26 1905 - April 17 1965

Frequency of entries: Daily at times interspersed with sporadic gaps.

How was author identified?: Diaries signed by the author.

Brief description: Diary of a Newport, RI resident describing the events of her life from age 19 to her death at the age of 79.

Writing quality: Her penmanship is generally quite clear and easy to read.

Utility for research: Does not write at length about major social or historical events nor does she give many insights into her emotional life. The utility of her diaries are as a record of a Newport housewife and of several generations of the Blaine and MacLellan families. She keeps many notes on the births, deaths and connections between members of the extended families. She is in many ways an average woman of her generation. She teaches until she gets married and then raises a family while supporting her husband and his jewelry business. She returned to teaching after the death of her husband in 1953.

Related papers at RIHS: Joseph W. Blaine Family Papers

Family members:

Father's name: Alexander MacLellan

Father's dates: 1856-1939

Father's occupation: Gardener

Mother's name: Mary Davies

Mother's dates: 1853-1934

Brothers: Duncan MacLellan (1889-1889); Alexander Davies MacLellan (1891-1955)

Sisters: Janet (Jeanette) never married (1889-1959); Gladys (1894-1921).

Husband's name: Joseph W. Blaine

Husband's dates: 6/8/1875- 3/16/1953

Husband's occupation: Jewelry store owner

Marriage date and place: April 4, 1918

Father-in-law's name: Edwin Carlos Blaine

Father-in-law's dates: 1840-1904

Father-in-law's occupation: Jewelry store owner

Mother-in-law's name: Sarah Penelope Sophia (Carry) Blaine

Mother-in-law's dates: 1849-1879

Sons: Joseph W. Blaine Jr. (1920-1986)

Daughters: Constance Baldwin Blaine (1912-1992) the daughter of Joseph W. Blaine and his first wife Signe Hallborg Blaine (1881-1912)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Joseph (Bill) W. Blaine, Jr.; Janet (aka Jeanette or Judy) MacLellan; Joseph (Joe) W. Blaine Sr.; Florence P. (Salisbury) Dodd - a teacher at the RI Normal School; Myra [Sampson] - student at Normal School.

Topical content:

Events discussed: "Ambassador Von Bernstoff of Germany given his passport. Great excitement." [2/3/1917] "Czar of Russia abdicated throne." [3/16/1917] "All talk of war, seems imminent." [3/22/1917] "Exciting day. Pres. Wilson called extra session of Congress to discuss war - School all day - Exercises at noon outdoors around the flag. . . down st to see bulletin boards - no new news Aztec sunk." [4/2/1917] "Last day for Liberty Bonds & I didn't get mine." [6/14/1917] "Big turn out for soldiers leaving for France." [8/17/1917] "Peace Day! 3:50 A.M. Fire alarm rings as a signal that Germany has signed the armistice. We dress & take Con. down to Wash. Sq. see bonfire and join in singing America. Marseilles, Star Sp - B. & Doxology, watch hastily formed parade pass, then come home & go back to bed till 7:30. Have bkfst. without C. Great excitement in air. C. wakes at 9." [11/11/1918] "News of Japan's attack on us comes about 8:10 Everybody shocked." [12/7/1941]

Religious content: Rowena attends church regularly and sings in the choir, performing solos often. "Solo in a.m. 'Hear my cry, O Lord'" [5/13/1917] "Went to church but skipped Communion." [6/3/1917]

Social life: In 1905 many of her summer days are spent bathing at the beach. "Ma & Janet went down street in the evening & G., A.D, G.A.C., & I played tag until 9 o'clock." [7/3/1905] "In the afternoon went to Mrs Groffs and she took Vera Ackers, Mrs. Baker and I over to the training station where we went aboard the ship captured from the Spanish, and were shown around by a little red-headed fellow named W.S. Roberts. We also saw the 13 inch shot found in the side of the vessel after its capture . . ." [7/13/1905]

Family: "In the evening I ironed my petticoat and was promised when that was done that I could go to Clara's, was whipped & put to bed because I wanted to go. I hate the whole mess except Judy." [7/7/1905] Rowena gives birth to her only son on June 30, 1920. She is speculating about being pregnant in early November of 1919. "Sick with indigestion - up 3 times in night. Wonder again?" [11/4/1919] "I'm not very well in morning but feel better by noon .... Break news gently to Joe. Gone Goose!!" [11/5/1919] The day Rowena and Joe decide that she is pregnant "Retire at 10 - then Joe & I have heart to heart & decide the great event is a reality. Awake most of night. Everybody pleased." [1/11/1920] "Billy born just before 2:45. So glad he's a boy & such a big one - 9lbs. I have 7 stitches & feel fine. Ma here in eve." [6/30/1920] "I have my 1st experience in bathing Sonny. He has infinite patience with my awkwardness, Poor child! Mrs. Harris leaves at 10:30 and the responsibility's on me." [7/14/1920] "Aunt Jeanette gets lost all the time & heads off down cellar." [9/17/1948]

Health: "Jennie's eye cut by Dr. Wheatland successful - very sore yet." [1/19/1914] "

"Dr. Tisdall's at 10 of 5 where he x-rays l. upper wisdom tooth, finds it ulcerated & extracts it - Home on bus with Joe . Show Jane & Joe tooth." [5/12/1947]

Rowena's husband Joe is ill for many months before his death. She writes daily during his illness about his health and special needs and celebrates the small successes. "Joe has normal bowel movement a.m. & p.m. so we can omit enema Hurrah!!!" [10/20/1952] "I slept on couch last night. Joe still breathing, but that's about all. Miss Curran comes. Bed sores still bad. Temp 97." [3/14/1953] "Quiet night until 6 a.m. - make Joe as comfortable as possible...Have my hair done at Reagan's...Mrs. Smith, nurse comes a.m. & p.m. to check-Joe's pulse hardly detectable - she doesn't try to turn him - his breathing very labored & quick. Mrs. Smith takes me to City hall to pay tax - I pay gas bill & get my shoes - Myrt brings me home. Joe still breathing same - he passes away about 7.14 p.m. we wait & finally call Hambly who comes. I get Bill about midnight. Ian Caleb & other friends."[3/16/1953]

"Good Fri. Wake at 2.30 a.m. Wind & rain. I get up & take my pillow & bug lite & make my way down the stairs looking for couch. It is gone! I wander around but can't find anything, so lie down on floor by table & go to sleep. Mr. Z. finds me & calls Mrs. Z. he takes me up stairs & I get into bed. He nails both windows. I get dressed after bath by Elsie. Dinner, go for walks see 1st dandelion bloom & a squirrel." [4/16/1965]

School: She attends the Rhode Island Normal School to become a teacher. "Invited to become a member of Theta Phi" [11/6/907] "Got my report card & was thoroughly ashamed of it; did not show it at home." [4/3/1908]

Home production: She mentions doing some housework in nearly every entry. "Janet cold & blue all day. I do dishes 3 times, vac dining room rug, clean toilet, radiator covers, etc. After Bill Coffey comes for washing machine gets grease over everything - out by 5:30. Tea kettle shows up - Hurrah!" [10/19/1948] "Ice box leaking; pull it to pieces - leave ice out overnight." [10/22/19148] "Sewed on my kimona." [6/24/1913]

Work outside home: "Worked at the office all morning for Maysie 50¢" [7/27/1905] "This afternoon at two o'clock my life as a teacher began. It is the goal of the first twenty-one years of my life. The lesson was "Little Rosalie" by Harriet P. Spofford and I taught grade 5-B . . . I am tickled to death & am going to teach for the rest of my natural life!(?)" [2/18/1908] After Rowena graduates from the RI Normal School in 1909, she spends most of her days teaching until she marries Joseph Blaine in 1918. She does not go into detail about her work as a teacher, most of her entries merely say "School all day".

Fashion: "I went over to Emma's. On the way my red silk garter had a down fall." [7/9/1905]

Food and drink: "Was treated by Mrs. Watts to peanuts and popcorn and soda." [8/1/1905] "Mollie, Kate, Bessie Ella, Myra & I entertained Miss Salisbury. She wore a red silk dress. We had cheese & olives & peanut butter sandwiches, fruit cake, chocolate cake, fudge, & nabiscoes & chocolate with whipped cream." [11/21/1907] "Today we move! Up early trying to do everything at once. Van arrives at 8:45 before I finish breakfast & go at it madly. At 11 Mrs. Reynolds arrives with soup & biscuits. At 12:45 Tess brings hot coffee on tray." [9/15/1948] "Clean & cook broccoli." [10/16/1948] "Up late - routine - fry pork chops, cream broccoli & boil sweets - roast rest of meat." [10/17/1948] "Joe brings fried clams & French Fried potatoes." [10/22/1948]

Race / ethnicity content: "Jap fight in tea room." [9/1/1917]

Community: "We discover that Mrs. Calibani went to school to me at Calvert I (Josephine Gramolini & I taught her English! She came to Newport from Italy when 10 years old.)." [9/16/1948]

Gender relations: In 1908 while she is a student at the Rhode Island Normal School, Rowena and her friends have something of a crush on the gymnastics teacher, Florence P. Salisbury: "Someone came and put her hands over my eyes. . then I put my hand back to feel of the hair - and the hands were removed from my face. I saw Miss Salisbury. I grabbed her around the waist and gave her one swing around and then let her go. Later she begged my pardon, and said is was such a temptation!" [3/2/1908] "Finally came the parting! It was more pleasure than pain. She [Miss Salisbury] was very undignified and girlish. I never loved her more than when we stood there at the door - we three . . ." [6/13/1908] Rowena met her future husband as early as March 1914. "Received invitation fr. Mr. Blaine to attend Philharmonic Concert, Apr. 30th. Great excitement!" [4/20/1914] "Dea[con] Carr came home with me and we went down Ave. for walk. I told him he couldn't meet me or take me out any more." [7/4/1915] "Had large bunch of water lilies from the Deacon this morning - beauties!" [7/20/1915] "Mr. Blaine came home with me - went down Baton Rd. to find out where fire was - false al., came back here & he stayed till after 10. Shook hands." [2/11/1917] "Stayed a few minutes at social Mrs. M.K. wanted me to meet a Mr. Whipple - nothing doing." [6/3/1917] "Joe & I went for walk Lover's Lane. Stayed from 2-6 - Showery. Told me of his home etc. Constance's picture with mine!" [7/29/1917] "Eve. Mr. Blaine came home with me. We went to Cliffs, near Ruggles Ave. watched moon on water. Great! * Something pretty nice for my ring finger!! Home at 11:45!!! Ma wild!" [8/5/1917] "[JWB] told me about 'Signe' on way home." [8/16/1917] " . . then Joe came home with me - Mistletoe." [12/27/1917]

Travel: Description of a day trip to Providence where they shopped and went to the Roger Williams Park to see the animals [8/22/1905]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 1079

Collection title: Joseph W. Blaine Family Papers

Location within the collection: Box 12, folder 17; Box 13, folders 1-4

Size: 1913-1965 volumes are 4" x 5.5"; 1905 is 8.5" x 10"; 1907 is 8.5" x 5.25"; 1908 is 6" x 3.5"; 1963 is 3" x 4"

Condition: All of the volumes are in excellent condition with the exception of the 1905 diary which was written on a school tablet of poor quality paper and is fragile.

Provenance: 2002. 102. 1- gift of Patricia Walsh Rose

Cataloged by Karen Eberhart, January 2003

Subject headings:

Diaries, 1905-1965

Dodd, Florence P. (Salisbury)

Newport, RI - social life and customs

Rhode Island Normal School

x Salisbury, Florence P.

Sampson, Myra

Notes on the Signe A. (Hallborg) Blaine Diary

Entries dated 1897 to 1912


Name at birth: Hallborg, Signe Adina

Name after marriage: Blaine, Signe Adina (Hallborg)

Birthdate and place: July 18, 1881, Hartford, CT?

Death date and place: April 3,1912, Newport, RI

Age range during diary: 16 - 31

Residence during diary: 33 Young St., Newport, RI (1902); Boston, MA (1903); 15 Everett Street, Newport, RI (1910-12)

Places written: Newport, RI; Hartford, CT; Boston, MA; Northampton, MA; Sabbath Day Lake, ME; New York, NY

Biographical note: She was the daughter of Swedish-American parents who were themselves probably second generation Americans. Signe does not appear to speak any Swedish herself although she does participate in Swedish holidays with her family and she had at least one Swedish-speaking friend. She became a teacher and taught in schools in Newport and surrounding towns. Signe married Joseph William Blaine of Newport and had one daughter. She died a few weeks after the birth of her daughter presumably due to complications from the birth.

Ethnicity: Swedish-American

Religion of diarist: Congregational?

Social class: Middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 4

Number of pages: 72, 144, 25, 63

Exact dates: Dec 24, 1897 - Dec 24, 1901; Jan. 1, 1902-Dec. 31, 1902; July 6, 1903-Aug. 17, 1903; Dec. 30, 1910-Jan. 30, 1912

Frequency of entries: Daily entries except for the 1897-1901 and 1910-1912 periods where there are long gaps between entries.

How was author identified?: All diaries signed by the author.

Brief description: The diaries cover the early adulthood of Signe Hallborg. During 1902-1903 she is concerned mostly with her work as a teacher, her social relationships and her classes at the Harvard Summer School. The later diary for 1910-1912 is written during the first years of her marriage.

Writing quality: The penmanship is quite legible. The style of writing is not inspired but readable.

Family members:

Father's name: Carl Hallborg

Father's occupation: Tailor

Brothers: Henry E. Hallborg married Elizabeth "Beth" S. Babcock

Sisters: Ruth H. Hallborg

Husband's name: Joseph William Blaine

Husband's dates: 1875-1953

Husband's occupation: Jeweler

Marriage date and place: June 30, 1909, Hartford, CT

Father-in-law's name: Edwin Carlos Blaine

Father-in-law's dates: 1840-1904

Father-in-law's occupation: Jeweler

Mother-in-law's name: Sarah Penelope Sophia (Carry) Blaine

Mother-in-law's dates: 1849-1879

Daughters: Constance Baldwin Blaine (3/12/1912 - 1992)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Friends: Miss Lawton, Mylie Frank, Pauline, Nell Bacheller. Family: brother Henry Hallborg and his wife Beth (Babcock) Hallborg, sister Ruth Hallborg

Topical content:

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: "Telegram that auntie Thilda is dying. She died in the afternoon but we did not know it till Friday even when we get another telegram. Ruth and mother go on the one o'clock to Hartford. They do not then know auntie to be dead. I feel badly to think she had no familiar face with her at the last." [11/6 - 11/7/02] "Dr. Baldwin gives me examination and engages room at hospital for middle of March. Says I carry baby very well. I must refrain from eating candy, nuts, cakes, pies, or any starches and sugars. Live normal life!" [1/16/12]

Religious content: Signe goes to church often in the evenings and participates in the Sunday School lessons for the children of her church. "Had a quiet talk on religion - 'death but a fulfillment of our earthly longings.' " [1/9/02] "Then went to Dr. MacClelland and told him that I wish to join church. He very kind and obliging." [4/22/02]

Social life: "Lecture in High School. We girls sit in back and pass candy along and eat it. Dreadful for school teachers to behave so!" [4/21/02] "Pauline brings ping pong in evening and we play. Henry beats her. (He is expert.)" [6/30/02]

Family: "After a long stretch of peace Ruth and I again have a 'tussel' and get shaken all up about nothing. We make up and play whist later." [4/19/02] "Joe brings a 1912 diary so the events of little 'to be' must go into that." [1/25/12]

Marriage: "Nell and I go to the beach. We talk of marriage and Nell says she does not believe in love. It is infatuation merely. Men all have selfish motives." [2/14/02] "Dr. McClelland preaches on 'Divorce.' Most forceful and earnest. To be undertaken under no condition - at least for no reason but for fornication. Marriage the holiest and the awfulest thing. If you have been unfortunate and you can no longer 'confide you can hope, and if you cannot hope you can endure, endure to the grave.' " [5/18/02]

Health: "Then on our way home we went in to the Hospital. It is really so sad to go into such a place! They carried an old lady in there while we remained. I am so thankful that I have a home so that I need not think of being placed in such a position if taken sick." [12/28/1897] "Visited three of my pupils who are out with the whooping cough" [1/20/02] "I am worn out and my face is broken out shamefully." [6/13/02] "In evening Gen comes for me to go to Prof. Bailey's lecture for women. Speaks of vinereal diseases, gondera, strictures, cypales [syphilis], and of the dreadful dangers attending marriage under these conditions. It is no more necessary for a man to do these things and if he is not willing to expose his own Mother or sister to such treatment he should not be willing to practice it. . . . Gen tells me of some experiences she has had in this line." [7/30/03]

School: "Studied 'Art of Teaching' in the evening." [1/14/02] "Alone at school. Children somewhat restless. I have hysterics after supper. My head aches and I am tired out." [2/21/02] Signe attends Summer School at Harvard in Boston, MA during July and August of 1903. She takes a course in the natural world which includes lessons in geology, geography, weather, astronomy and similar scientific subjects.

Home production: Signe sews herself many shirtwaists throughout the year. "I make a shirtwaist." [10/28/02]

Work outside home: Signe works as a school teacher in an elementary school. "I have charge of school again and as Miss Fales is busy with Thanksgiving offering it is hard work for me." [11/24/02]

Food and drink: "Go to dinner of Mock Turtle Soup and fried hominy with sauce." [7/12/03] "Breakfast of trout and corn bread." [7/15/03]

Race / ethnicity content: Signe has some sort of charity relationship with some men from China. "Miss McLeish and four Chinamen out. Mine in Philadelphia." [2/2/02] "Chinese festival. Mine presented me with red rope and when it broke gave me his own." [2/3/02] "Saw Miss Lawton. Indignation meeting at Chinese. Do not like expensive supper and outside people asked. Mr. Taft walks with us. All kicking." [2/09/02] "Supper with Chinamen. Ela[?] played games with them afterwards. We are not certain about our actions." [2/10/02] "My Chinaman not at the mission." [2/23/02] "Go down and tell my Chinaman that I can come no more because I need rest. He will not go either he said. He had letter for Mr. Taft." [5/29/02]

Gender relations: "Well he loves me. I am taken almost too abruptly, can not say much. Then I became cross. Have I given any cause for such action. I do not love. I cannot think of marriage. It is abhorrable. I do not know my own heart and can not give it to another. It is horrid of you to tell me this! . . . I must see something of the world before I can decide. Will I not give him one kiss? Just one! No! I have said that once and I mean it. I will not give one." [8/30/01] "Restless and longing oh so hopelessly - Walk. Church. Dream with moon's beams shining upon me but all to no purpose. I am sad and alone oh moon!" [8/17/02] "Walk in evening and reference to our position wh. I say is unchanged and wh. I cannot see will ever be nearer for somehow I cannot love him." [8/25/02] "Mrs. Philip Stevens - our neighbor - leaves her husband and goes to Chicago to live with her mother and sister. Foolish - foolish girl to leave a good home and good influences!" [10/18/11] In the back of the 1910-1912 diary she writes out quotes and useful advice from various authors mostly on the topic of how to live an honest and fulfilling life. There is also advice on how to relate with your husband. "Think often and speak frequently to your husband of his good qualities and the things you most admire in him.. Allow no one to criticize him in your presence and do not discuss his weaknesses with other."

Progress: "Electricity first used in the U. Congregational Church, a gift of Miss Newton. Great improvement." [1/19/02]

Arts and culture: "Read Tolstoi in the evening 'Anna Karenina' - not quite satisfactory." [1/11/02]

Travel: She travels to Hartford, CT to see her aunt on July 8, 1902. Takes a trip to Maine, specifically Sabbath Day Lake, in late August of 1902. She also goes on a trip to western Massachusetts after her Harvard Summer School in 1903 where she visits Greenfield, Smith College in Northampton and the silk mills in Florence.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 1079

Collection title: Joseph W. Blaine Family Papers

Location within the collection: Subgroup 2, Box 4, Folder 14

Size: 4.25" x 2.5"; 2.5' x 4'; 2.75" x 6"; 8" x 10"

Condition: Excellent condition, the 1903 diary is loose leaf paper of lower quality.

Provenance: 2001. 73. 1. 1-, gift of Patricia Walsh Rose

Cataloged by Karen Eberhart, February 2002

Subject headings:

Chinese-Americans - Rhode Island

Diaries - 1897-1912

Elementary school teachers - Rhode Island

Massachusetts - Description and travel

Newport, RI - Social life and customs

Swedish - Americans - Rhode Island

Teachers - Rhode Island

Notes on the Mary S. (Johnson) (Mosher) Blake Diary

Entries dated 1863 to 1863


Name at birth: Johnson, Mary Saunders

Name after marriage: Blake, Mary S. (Johnson) (Mosher)

Birthdate and place: 1805, Rhode Island

Death date and place: 1888, Providence, RI

Age range during diary: 58

Residence during diary: 334 Broad St., Providence, RI

Places written: Providence, Rhode Island

Biographical note: Married Constant Burr Mosher in 1823 and had three children: George, Abby, and Mary. Mr. Mosher died in 1833 and Mary remarried George Emerson Blake in 1835. They had six children: Emerson, Edward, John, Louise, Edna, and Lewis. She ran a large household, employing Irish help, which included some of her children and their families. She was also in charge of collecting rents from and seeing to repairs at a tenement house and shop.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Universalist?

Social class: Middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 26 page transcription

Exact dates: January 1 - December 31 1863

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Research done by Sheldon MacLeod

Brief description: Mary Saunders Blake's diary contains information about letters and packages she sent and received; information about her son, Johnny, who was off at war (Civil War); record of what she bought and sold and payment given or recieved; number of pies made; and information on work her household help did and how much they were paid. In the original (but not the transcription) there is also a section at the end of the diary that details all cash transactions for the year.

Writing quality: Good

Family members:

Husband's name: 1) Mosher, Constant Burr 2) Blake, George Emerson

Husband's dates: 1) d. 1833   2) 1810-1897

Husband's occupation: 1) Unknown              2) Carpenter

Marriage date and place: 1) 1823      2) 1835

Sons: George C. Mosher (b. 1824); Emerson P. Blake (1837-1908); Edward J. Blake (b. 1839); John T. Blake (b. 1841); and Lewis D. Blake (b. 1848)

Daughters: Abby F. Mosher (b. 1826); Mary E. Mosher (1830-1833); Louisa Johnson (Blake) Martin (b.1843), married Alphonso W. Martin; and Edna (b. 1845)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Emerson (son); Nellie (daughter-in-law); Ed (son); Johnny (son); Abby (daughter); Louise (daughter); Edna (daughter); Lewis (son); I. Dougan (household help); Mrs. McSorley (household help), Mr. Blake (husband); Gov. [James Y.] Smith

Topical content:

Events discussed: Home production; money received for rents; sending and receiving of letters from her daughter, Abby and son, Johnny; money received for selling eggs and from children for boarding, as well as an accounting of bills paid.

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: "Emerson Edward born ten minutes before twelve Sunday night May 3rd, 1863" [5/3] "Frank Baker died." [8/19]

Religious content: "Paid pew tax $4.00." [3/2] "Gave Edna 15 cts to go to 2nd Universalist Sabbath school." [5/5] "Em.& Ed gone fishing for the first time on the Sabbath and I hope the last." [2/24] "Went to church forenoon & afternoon." [10/11]

Social life: "Edna and Lewis went to hear the bell ringers yesterday." [1/25] "Thanksgiving. Em. invited company for Johnny. Carpets up and dancing until three o'clock, when the company dispersed."[11/26]

Family: "Called on Gov. Smith with Ed Burrows. He promised me a commisssion for Johnny." [6/12]"Heard of Johnny being wounded." [7/9] "Called on Gov. Smith to get a furlough for Johnny which he promised to see about getting today."

Health: "Drs. Barrows & Peck called to examine Johnny's arm." [8/1]

School: "Went to school exhibition with Edna." [5/8] "Lewis school closed today." [7/24]

Home production: "Baked 14 pumpkin pies & 4 apple pies." [1/22] "Baked 18 mince pies & fried 40 apple pies." [3/9] "I worked in garden." [4/29]

Work outside home: "Rec'd $3.00 Aborn St. rents." [1/27] "Louise commenced work with Mrs. Newell this afternoon." [9/29]

Fashion: "Bought for Edna gaiter boots $1.62, riboon, cord 34 cts. Nellie found silk & made Edna a Spanish waist." [3/26] "Bought a muslin dress for Louise 2.50 cts." [6/1]

Community: "Went to Judge Pitman's office to sign a petition for Mrs. Leonard to get her pension and back pay." [4/15]

Labor: "I. Dougan ironed. For the two days work $1.25." [3/17] "Ann Maguire cleaning house $1.00." [4/11] "McSorley ironed 62 cts." [6/17]

Arts and culture: "Em & E - gone to theatre." [4/7]

Travel: "Emerson left today for St. Louis." [2/12] "Johnny left for Falmouth this evening." [3/20]"Louise & Emerson gone to Wrentham." [3/1] "Mr. Blake went to Wrentham this morning..." [6/4]

Organizations: "Girls gone to Knitting Society at Mrs. Pond's." [2/16]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-B

Collection title: Mary Saunders (Johnson) Blake Diary

Graphic content: None

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): Transcription only. Original in the possession of Donald R MacLeod of Wisconsin.

Provenance: 1998. 25, gift of Alys MacLeod

Cataloged by Lori Salotto, December 2000


Notes by Alys F. MacLeod

Providence City Directories

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:

Blake, Edna (b. 1845)

Blake, Edward J. (b. 1839)

Blake, Emerson P. (1837-1908)

Blake, George (1810-1897)

Blake, Lewis (b. 1848)

Blake, John T. (b. 1841)

Blake, Louise (b. 1843)

Blake, Nellie

Diary, 1863

Dougan, I

McSorley, Mrs.

Mosher, Abby (b. 1826)

Providence, R.I. - social life and customs

Smith, James Y. (1809-1876)

Notes on the Gertrude C. Bray Diary

Entries dated 1918 to 1919


Name at birth: Bray, Gertrude C.

Birthdate and place: September 22, 1888, Pawtucket, R.I.

Death date and place: October 17, 1975, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 29-31

Residence during diary: 178 Pine St., Pawtucket, R.I. (later Providence)

Places written: France and Germany.

Biographical note: A graduate of Wheaton College, she spent over a year in the front lines during World War One as a volunteer in the American Red Cross and as a canteen worker for the Y.M.C.A. After the war, she worked as a psychiatric investigator for the Veterans Administration.

Ethnicity: Yankee?

Religion of diarist: Baptist

Social class: Middle?

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 2

Number of pages: 52, 114

Exact dates: January 15, 1918 - April 22, 1919

Frequency of entries: Sporadic; not always clearly dated

How was author identified?: Diaries were donated with other signed papers of Bray

Brief description: Diaries describing activity as a canteen worker on the French front in World War One.

Writing quality: Good, though some entries are brief and rushed, and the handwriting is difficult.

Utility for research: This is a great resource for anyone interested in womens' involvement in the first world war; it provides factual details that might be of interest to military historians, in addition to hurried bits of information on social life on the front.

Related papers at RIHS: Gertrude C. Bray Papers (MSS 303) include many letters sent and received, her passport, and other items. There is also a bound typescript titled "Copy of Letters & Diary of World War I", but it seems to include only letters, and little if any of the wonderful diaries.

Family members:

Father's name: Bray, Ferdinand

Father's dates: d.1912

Father's occupation: Hardware dealer, Pawtucket, R.I.

Mother's name: Cottrell, Mary T.

Mother's dates: d.1938

Brothers: Ferdinand Bray Jr. (1891-1977); Russell S. Bray (1903-1986)

Sisters: Florence S. Bray (1892-1973)

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: A Senator P___ is frequently mentioned in the first months of the diary; he was director of YMCA operations in France and Bray reported directly to him.

Topical content:

Events discussed: Live action from the first World War. For example, bombing raid on Paris [1/30/1918]. Attached to the 42nd (Rainbow) Division.

Social life: Frequent accounts of leisure activities on the front in World War I: ball games, concerts, general socializing.

Work outside home: Describe over a year of work working in canteens in France for the American troops in the first World War. The bulk of her work was frying doughnuts for the troops.

Food and drink: Canteen worker in France during war. Much of the diary describes cooking doughnuts for the troops, and their drinking habits.

Gender relations: A wealth of information on relations between women volunteers and the male soldiers. For example, on third day in Europe, is contacted by a soldier from her native Pawtucket, who takes her out to dinner. [1/29/1918] Spending quite a bit of time with a fellow named Harry Lane: "Lane down at 7:30 went for a long walk, moonlight night, a wonderful time!" [5/17/1918]. "Harry went up to our billet. Sure does love me much... He brought me a kit full of hot cakes..." [5/31/1918] In her final training meeting, the women in her unit "were warned to be careful about our behavior." [1/30/1918].

Travel: Not a standard travel diary; in France for the war.

Organizations: French dentist refused to charge for filling tooth after seeing her Masonic pin. [2/1/1918]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 303

Collection title: Gertrude C. Bray Papers

Size: 7" x 5"

Condition: Fair; one cover missing and the other damaged.

Graphic content: Map of battle lines [9/11/1918?]

Provenance: 1975. 54, gift of the estate of Gertrude C. Bray.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? These diaries were not read very carefully. They undoubtedly contain much worthwhile information, but the handwriting is difficult.


Obituary, Providence Journal-Bulletin, October 18, 1975

Rhode Island Cemetery Index

Scrapbook of unidentified clippings in the Gertrude C. Bray Papers

Subject headings:

American Red Cross

France - Description and travel

Women in war - France

World War, 1914-1918 - Women

Young Men's Christian Association

Notes on the Celia G. Clarke Diary

Entries dated 1829 to 1829


Name at birth: Clarke, Celia Greene

Name after marriage: Brayton, Celia G. (Clarke)

Birthdate and place: June 4, 1808

Death date and place: August 4, 1880, East Greenwich, R.I.?

Age range during diary: 20-21

Residence during diary: Apponaug, East Greenwich, R.I.?

Places written: East Greenwich, R.I.?

Biographical note: Daughter of prominent East Greenwich family. Attended Troy Female Seminary in New York (one of the first serious schools for women in the country), and returned to help raise younger siblings when mother fell ill. Married prominent lawyer.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Protestant

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 15

Exact dates: May 16 - November 2, 1829

Frequency of entries: Regular; arranged more like an account book than a diary.

How was author identified?: Signed. Her mother had the same name, but as the diary refers to grandparents, it must be the younger Celia.

Brief description: Memoranda book describing daily labor by servants and other matters of financial interest.

Writing quality: Very sparse.

Utility for research: Could easily be called a memorandum book rather than a diary, but interesting how it shows a young woman assuming responsibility for a family at an early age, and also for showing the activities of her African-American farm laborers.

Related papers at RIHS: George A. Brayton Papers (MSS 305) include only account books and legal records. Clarke Family Papers include a few interesting papers from father Ray Clarke (MSS 351). A wealth of information available on extended Greene family, including grandfather and uncles.

Family members:

Father's name: Clarke, Ray

Father's dates: 1782-1847

Father's occupation: Lawyer? A college roommate of John Quincy Adams at Harvard.

Mother's name: Greene, Celia

Mother's dates: 1786-1829, niece of Gen. Nathanael Greene.

Brothers: Ethan Ray Clarke (1818-1895); Samuel Ward Clarke (b.1822) and others died young

Sisters: Anna W. (Clarke) Brayton (b.1820); Emily G. (Clarke) Buffington (b.1825); Mary E. Clarke (1827-1829); others died young.

Husband's name: Brayton, George A.

Husband's dates: d.1880

Husband's occupation: Lawyer and judge of East Greenwich

Marriage date and place: 1831

Father-in-law's name: Brayton, Charles

Father-in-law's occupation: Judge

Mother-in-law's name: Havens, Rebecca

Sons: Unknown

Daughters: Unknown

Other persons frequently mentioned: Aunt Anne (Greene) Maxwell (1776-1857); grandfather Christopher Greene (1748-1830); grandmother Deborah (Ward) Greene (1758-1835); servants John and Caesar.

Topical content:

Family: Death of mother on August 10, 1829 seems to go unmentioned. Helped raise younger children. Re her two-year-old sister, "Our little babe went to Mrs. Slater to nurse at 2$ 50 cts per week while the Child is sick and 2$ when it is better." [8/20/1829]. A later note mentions that "Our little babe died." [11/29/1829]

Home production: This diary seems to cast Celia in a central role in managing the family affairs. She is involved in supervising servants and administering finances, which one might not expect a well-heeled 20-year-old woman to do. She was the oldest surviving child by ten years, however. Her father is never mentioned, and can be presumed to be in Kentucky, where he had business. her mother was ailing and dies during the period of this diary. Thus, though Celia had a support network in her extended Greene family, she was to a large extent acting as a head of household and raising her five much younger siblings.

Race / ethnicity content: Extensive descriptions of work done by servants, who were undoubtedly Afro-American. Their names included John, Prince, Judy and Caesar.

Labor: Descriptions of work done by farm servants, and wages paid, comprise the bulk of this diary. For example, "John worked for himself all day and Caesar helped him. He had Nat's oxen in the morning and Nat came with them as he would not let us have them unless he did. In the afternoon, John had his cart and oxen and himself to get manure from the cellar." [5/20/1829]. "John came at 6 to help Cesar and worked until 9. Cesar then was made to take Prince and go to get a nurse for Grandpa and the day's work was spoilt." [6/5/1829] "Let Job have Prince all day to pay in work." [6/18/1829]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 351

Collection title: Clarke Family Collection

Location within the collection: In box 1

Size: 8" x 5"

Condition: Fair

Provenance: 1948? Appears to have arrived with a large quantity of Greene papers of unknown provenance circa 1948.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read in entirety.


Clarke, Louise Brownell. The Greenes of Rhode Island... (New York: 1903), pages 211, 333.

Account, Ray Clarke with Emma Willard of Troy Female Academy, 8/8/1827 in Clarke Family Papers (MSS 351) at R.I.H.S.

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1829

East Greenwich, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Flora M. (McGimsey) Brockelmann Diary

Entries dated 1938 to 1938


Name at birth: McGimsey, Flora M.

Name after marriage: Brockelman, Flora M. (McGimsey)

Birthdate and place: December 13, 1892, New Jersey

Death date and place: March 20, 1976, East Hartford, Conn.

Age range during diary: 45

Residence during diary: 239 Langdon St., Mount Vernon, New York [see 7/14/1938 entry, 1930 census]

Places written: Quonochontaug, R.I. (village in town of Charlestown); also stopped briefly in many Connecticut coastal towns en route.

Biographical note: Both of her parents were raised in the southern United States, but the author was born in New Jersey and raised in Mount Vernon, N.Y. Worked as a commercial poster artist. Married a bank manager at the age of 35 and eventually settled in Stamford, Connecticut.

Ethnicity: Irish-Dutch-Southern-American. Grandparents were from American South, but father's grandfather Thomas A. McGimsey born in Ireland in 1772. Mother's father M.B. Fowler was born in New York to Dutch parents; mother's mother apparently from old southern family.

Religion of diarist: Unknown

Social class: Upper-middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 120 pages

Exact dates: July 14 - July 28, 1938

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Signed

Brief description: Diary kept while on vacation on the Rhode Island shore, traveling with a woman who seems to be her husband's unmarried sister. They are celebrating the tenth anniversary of a similar trip taken in August of 1928.

Writing quality: Excellent; very descriptive and amusing, often dripping with sarcasm.

Utility for research: A wonderful source for anyone interested in summer resort culture, which should be a whole sub-section of history in itself... Generally, an interesting glimpse of southern Rhode Island in the 1930s, and an amusing portrait of two independent-minded women enjoying a respite from their families.

Related papers at RIHS: None

Family members:

Father's name: McGimsey, Charles R.

Father's dates: 1860-c1925

Father's occupation: Rug wholesaler

Mother's name: Fowler, Emma

Mother's dates: 1865-a1938 [see 7/21/1938]

Brothers: Gerald F. McGimsey (b.1889), Charles R. McGimsey Jr. (b.1900)

Sisters: Marion Emily McGimsey (b.1896)

Husband's name: Brockelman, Herbert W.

Husband's dates: 1885-?

Husband's occupation: Bank manager

Marriage date and place: circa 1929

Sons: None?

Daughters: None?

Other persons frequently mentioned: Traveling with unmarried Elsie Brockelmann, possibly a sister-in-law [page 1; 7/22/1938]. Bought gift for Walter, presumably family member. [7/21/1938]. Made friends at the Inn: Miss Cassandra "Sweetie-Pie" Enos and Miss May "Big Betty" Watson of Hartford [constantly mentioned]; a complete list of fellow guests is in the entry for 7/24. Long description of the Ashaway Fish Line Factory, and the Crandalls, the Seventh-Day Baptists that run it. [7/23/1938]

Topical content:

Events discussed: "With the ocean so near we wondered if that could be different than it has been since the glacial period now that the New Deal controls it. And yes! It is all wet like everything else that F.D.R. monopolizes. But then I suppose if they could even the fish would vote for him - (such suckers as they are!)" [7/23/1938]

Religious content: Did not attend church. "Seven Day Baptists are numerous in this section, and Ashaway, a quaint little village, seems to be the center of them." [7/23/1938]

Social life: A very leisurely vacation. Bowling, swimming and aimless drives are the entertainments of choice.

Marriage: On vacation away from husband. "I'll get shot when I tell Herbert that my bed-time was 11 - 11:30 or 12 nearly every night. But then Quonnie is so gay we have to stay up late." [7/27/1938] Among guests at the inn are an octogenarian newlywed couple [7/18/1938]

Work outside home: The author worked as a commercial poster artist into her marriage, as late as 1930, but no reference to her work was noticed here.

Fashion: Describes shopping at the Richmond Lace Factory in Alton, R.I. [7/20/1938]. "Home in a hurry to dress for dinner. I changed my handkerchief & belt & shoes (to brown from blue) and Elsie took off her bandanna! Such swankiness!" [7/21/1938]

Food and drink: Eats frequently at the Quonochontaug Inn. Describes the cook there: "Even the chef won't take a drink! But he can cook without a bracer." [7/16/1938]; "The cook is a wonderful man, an American, about 40 years or so, a good-looking, agreeable man." [7/20/1938]. Complaining about the difficulty of eating lobster and mackerel, she complains "A New England shore dinner - typical of a New Englander's hospitality in more ways than one - if you understand my sentiment." [7/24/1938]. Also dines at Ye Old Tavern in Wakefield [7/21] and Miss MacLaren's Tea Shop [7/23/1938]

Gender relations: "One would never think that we had really definitely thought we'd drive in the opposite direction - to Delaware as we had planned via mail - but it's a woman's right to change her mind - and certainly when two woman can do it and agree they need medals!" [introduction].

Arts and culture: Long encounter with the world's biggest Nelson Eddy fan; "He hails from Rhode Island and naturally the domestics of this state are boosting him sky high. Me for Charlie McCarthy! [7/22/1938]. Enjoyed a movie at the United Theatre in Westerly [7/25/1938].

Travel: Travel diary, mostly of two-week stay at summer resort on Rhode Island shore.

Geographical and architectural: Describes a Connecticut park as "the Coney Island of New Haven." [7/28/1938].

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-B

Collection title: Flora M. (McGimsey) Brockelmann Diary

Location within the collection:

Size: 6" x 4"

Condition: Good

Provenance: 1969. 75, purchased from Alfred Goodman for $30

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read carefully in entirety.


1880 U.S. Census, Georgia E.D. 98, page 60 (Fowlers)

1920 U.S. Census, New York E.D. 80, page 9B

1930 U.S. Census, E.D. 233, page 22A

Ancestry World Tree

Connecticut Death Index

Social Security Death Index

Subject headings:

Charlestown, R.I. - Description and travel

Diaries - 1938

Eddy, Nelson (1901-1967)

Quonochontaug Inn (Charlestown, R.I.)

Summer resorts - Rhode Island - Charlestown

Notes on the Augusta P. (Webster) Brougham Diary

Entries dated 1944 to 1948


Name at birth: Webster, Augusta P.

Name after marriage: Brougham, Augusta P. (Webster)

Birthdate and place: May 13 1880, Middletown, RI

Death date and place: March 4 1967, Newport, RI

Age range during diary: 63 - 67

Residence during diary: 14 Everett Street, Newport, RI

Places written: Newport, R.I.

Biographical note: Married young to Newport grocery salesman, who died two years before diary begins. Widowed rooming-house keeper, living with single daughter.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Social class: Middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 365

Exact dates: January 1 1944 - January 8 1948

Frequency of entries: Almost daily, some days missing

How was author identified?: Each page has printed section reading "Today is the birthday of -----". May 13 page reads "Augusta Brougham," and the day's entry for 1944 suggests it is the author's birthday. Daughter Abbie Brougham is similarly identified on February 9. Other data fits.

Brief description: Kept by widow in sixties who took in lodgers to supplement her Social Security payments.

Writing quality: Fair. Short entries and not very descriptive.

Related papers at RIHS: None

Family members:

Father's name: Webster, Benjamin J.

Father's dates: 1833-1903

Father's occupation: Farmer

Mother's name: Wilbur, Augusta B.

Mother's dates: 1844-1927

Brothers: Nathan A. Webster (1874-1886); Alfred B. Wilbur (b.1864) (half-brother?)

Sisters: Helen (b.1871)

Husband's name: Brougham, James E. Jr.

Husband's dates: 1876-1941

Husband's occupation: Wholesale grocery salesman

Marriage date and place: June 26 1897, South Kingstown, R.I.

Father-in-law's name: Brougham, James E.

Father-in-law's dates: 1849-1912

Father-in-law's occupation:

Mother-in-law's name: O'Neal, Abbie R.

Mother-in-law's dates: 1851-1876

Sons: None?

Daughters: Abbie A. Brougham (1898-1987), never married

Other persons frequently mentioned: Sister-in-law Edith Brougham (1892-1979); brother-in-law Joseph Brougham; friend Harriet "Hattie" E.P. Bauer (1880-?); friend Jean Bindon, caretaker at Chateau Sur de Mer [mentioned 4/6/1945, 9/20/1945]

Topical content:

Events discussed: Mentions current events rarely and briefly. For example: "Fair, lovely day. Jap surrender?" [8/9/1945]

Religious content: Mentions attendance at both Methodist and Christian Scientist [8/6/1944] churches. Judging from regular doctor consultations, she was not a practicing Christian Scientist.

Marriage: Only apparent mention of late husband: "Jimmies birthday he'd be 69 today." [7/21/1945]

Health: "Howard Perry sick in mind, called police for help." [4/23/1944] "Howard Perry out of his head - called police." [4/26/1944]. Apparently an old friend or neighbor; his birthday noted on 9/20/1945.

Home production: Income was derived from Social Security and from renting rooms. Most tenants seemed to be short-term vacationers, including many married couples. Some of these roomers were problems. "Sybil stole everything of value in my cedar chest and left thro the window this afternoon. Police are after her." [7/27/1944]. Frequently declares "Glad they are gone" after departure of roomers.

Food and drink: Often mentions meals prepared.

Arts and culture: Frequently attends movies, sometimes mentions reading.

Travel: Frequent visits to Portsmouth, Wakefield, Providence, Fall River. Trip to central Connecticut, August 13-15 1947.

Organizations: Active member in Masonic Order of the Eastern Star, abbreviated as Star Club or OES.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-B

Collection title: Augusta P. (Webster) Brougham Diary

Size: 7.5" x 5"

Condition: Excellent

Provenance: 2000. 60, purchased from the Yankee Book and Art Gallery

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, September 2000


1880 U.S. Census, R.I. E.D. 86, page 11

Newport Daily News obituaries, October 15 1941, March 6 1967, December 10 1987

Newport directories

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1944-1948

Lodging-houses - Rhode Island - Newport

Newport, R.I. - Social life and customs

Order of the Eastern Star - Rhode Island - Newport

x Webster, Augusta P. (1880-1967)

Notes on the Avis (Binney) Brown Diary

Entries dated 1793 to 1804


Name at birth: Binney, Avis

Name after marriage: Brown, Avis (Binney)

Birthdate and place: August 17, 1748 Boston, MA

Death date and place: August 16, 1807 Providence, RI

Age range during diary: 45 - 56

Residence during diary: Providence, RI

Places written: Providence, Rhode Island

Biographical note: Native of Boston, Massachusetts and the second wife of Nicholas Brown of Providence, Rhode Island. She had two stepchildren, Hope and Nicholas and together, she and Nicholas had a son, John who died at the age of one.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Baptist

Social class: Upper class

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 34, pages 20, 22-28, 30, and 34 are blank

Exact dates: June 14, 1793 to August 5, 1793, May 9, 1798 and May 5, 1803, and May 5, 1804

Frequency of entries: The diary consists of twelve entries. The first nine entries, the bulk of the diary, are written within a span of three months. The first four entries are written in June 1793, the next three entries are written in July 1793 and the next two in August 1793. The remaining three entries are one entry each, in May, in the years 1798, 1803, and 1804.

How was author identified?: Signed on page 19

Brief description: Avis Brown's diary consists almost exclusively of religious writings asking for forgiveness and salvation in her time of sin and temptations. She states that she wants to "keep some regular account of my religious exercises." [6/18/1793] There is brief mention of two family situations: one having to do with her husband's family and one with her sister's family.

Writing quality: Fair

Utility for research: Religious exercises

Related papers at RIHS: Short letter from Avis Brown to her nephew, James Brown, found in the James Brown Papers (Mss 310).

Family members:

Father's name: Binney, Barnabas Capt.

Father's dates: 1723-c1774

Father's occupation: Son of Deacon John and Hannah (Paine) Binney of Boston, Massachusetts. He was a merchant, as well as the master and owner of his own vessel which traded with Demerara, a county in British Guiana. Tradition has it that he was also a plantation and slave owner in Demerara.

Mother's name: Binney, Avis (Engs)

Mother's dates: 1720-c1779

Brothers: Barnabas, 1751-1787, married to Mary Woodward

Sisters: Ann, b. 1752, married to Samuel Anthony

Husband's name: Brown, Nicholas

Husband's dates: 1729-1791

Husband's occupation: Leading Providence businessman involved in maritime, manufacturing, and merchant activities. Nicholas, along with his brothers John, Joseph, and Moses, started the partnership of Nicholas Brown and Company. Nicholas was the founder of the firm of Brown & Ives.

Marriage date and place: September 9, 1785

Father-in-law's name: Brown, James Capt.

Father-in-law's dates: 1698-1739

Father-in-law's occupation: Leading Providence merchant with West Indies trade dominating his maritime business. He was involved in import, export, sales, maritime insurance, real estate, and other business ventures.

Mother-in-law's name: Brown, Hope (Power)

Mother-in-law's dates: c1701-1792

Sons: John, 1788-1789; stepson Nicholas (1769-1841), married Ann Carter and Mary Bowen Steele

Daughters: Stepdaughter Hope, 1773-1885, married Thomas Poyton Ives

Topical content:

Religious content: “I did this day on my knees solemnly engage in the strength of Christ, that I would by the assistance of His grace enter into a close and serious examination of my shocking violation of my solemn covenant engagements with the Lord - that I would His blessed spirit assisting return unto the Lord with fasting with supplication and weeping and wait seeking and sorrowing before him till He shall vouchsafe to restore my soul to heal my backsliding and to manifest His free unchangeable Love.” [6/14/1793]

Family: "Have seen so much hardness of heart, cunning and deceit in my husbands’s brother, Moses that I have for many months avoided seeing him, but he professing good will and laying blame on the children hath earnestly sought an interview...I who so need Divine forgiveness must forgive those who have injured me. I have consented to see him on Monday.”[6/28/1793] "My sister's children who I have taken into my family from pity, as their parents are not able to maintain them, are a great trial to me and while they show the depravity of human nature they show me too the kindness of my own heart...If thou hast called me to raise these children for thee let me not shrink from the service however painful it may be...grant me all the wisdom, fortitude, patience and every grace...deliver them from the bondage of sin and Satan"

Marriage: “Ever since the death of my husband I have been engaged in a most unhappy altercation with his executors and family about property." [6/28/1793]

Health: "Through the infinite Mercy of GOD I am this day alive, in health, peace and comfort after all the various scenes I have passed thro...I am a living monument of Divine Love and faithfulness, but I daily see more and more of my own weakness and inconstancy." [5/5/1803]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-B

Collection title: Avis (Binney) Brown Diary

Location within the collection:

Size: 8 1/2" x 12 1/2"

Condition: Fair. Readable, but fragile. Some of the pages are torn at the edges and starting to crumble and three quarters of the binding is unattached from the pages.

Graphic content: None

Provenance: Unknown. Probably donated with the bulk of the Ives-Gammell Family Papers (MSS 508).

Cataloged by Lori Salotto, December 2000


Binney, Charles J.F. (collected by), Genealogy of the Binney Family, 26-28,66-68. Albany, New York: Joel Munsell's & Sons, 1886.

Brown Family Papers Project. "A Guide to the Records of James Brown, (1698-1739) in the Manuscript Collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society Library," John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University, 1995.

Brown Family Papers Project. " A Guide to the Records of Nicholas Brown, (1757-1791) in the Manuscript Collection of the Rhode Island Historical Society Library," John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University, 1997.

Goddard, Katharine (complied by), The Chad Brown Workbook: A Continuting Family Genealogy of the Descendants of Chad Brown," 30-31. 2nd edition, Providence: Rhode Island Historical Society, 1987.

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:

Brown, Moses (1636-1836)

Diaries, 1793-1804

Religion - R.I.

Notes on the Isabel B. (Brown) Brunschwig Diary

Entries dated 1922 to 1927


Name at birth: Brown, Isabel B.

Name after marriage: Brunschwig, Isabel B. (Brown)

Birthdate and place: October 21, 1881, Providence, R.I.

Death date and place: 1952

Age range during diary: 40-45

Residence during diary: Providence, R.I.

Places written: 1922: Algiers, Italy, Greece, Egypt, France, Switzerland

            1924: Cuba, Panama, Hawaii, Italy, Austria, Switzerland

            1925: Spain, Italy

            1927: France

Biographical note: Daughter of the Governor of R.I., she became a renowned world traveler.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Unknown

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 2

Number of pages: 45; 69

Exact dates: January 21 - September 2, 1922; January 15 1924 - September 18, 1927

Frequency of entries: Sporadic

How was author identified?: Signed

Brief description: Very sketchy travel diaries from several trips.

Writing quality: Not very descriptive, ranging from sentence fragments to lists of stops.

Utility for research: No obvious utility; not a particularly good travel diary.

Related papers at RIHS: Daniel Russell Brown Family Papers (MSS 63) include a few related letters.

Family members:

Father's name: Brown, Daniel Russell

Father's dates: 1848-1919

Father's occupation: Hardware magnate; Governor of R.I., 1892-1895

Mother's name: Barrows, Isabel

Brothers: Milton B. Brown

Sisters: Unknown

Husband's name: Brunschwig, Edgard

Husband's occupation: Rhinestone manufacturer, born France, res. in Providence after 1912.

Marriage date and place: After 1927

Father-in-law's name: Unknown

Mother-in-law's name: Unknown

Sons: None?

Daughters: None?

Other persons frequently mentioned: 1922: accompanied by Miss Dorothy Rhodes of Pittsburg [undated news clipping tucked in at 5/13/1922].

Topical content:

Labor: Mentions "General strike on in city" in Rome [5/25/1922]

Travel: Travel diaries, without very much descriptive detail. A typical entry: "The morning in the glorious Alhambra which is being much restored. Bank for money is hard to get in Spain. P.M. Alhambra tours and gardens." [7/22/1925]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 63

Collection title: Daniel Russell Brown Family Papers

Location within the collection:

Size: 7" x 5"

Condition: Good

Graphic content: 2 pages of stamp collection in 1927 volume

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.):

Provenance: 1982. 121. 1-, gift from donor wishing to remain anonymous

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Skimmed


R.I.H.S. Manuscripts Division Accession Files, 1982

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1922-1927

Notes on the Sarah Bartlett Bullock Diaries

Entries dated 1864 to 1921


Name at birth: Bullock, Sarah Bartlett

Birthdate and place: July 8, 1840, Providence, R.I.

Death date and place: June 19, 1921

Age range during diary: 23-80

Residence during diary: Providence, R.I. (various addresses on the East Side: with family at 16 Pitman St.; in rented room by herself at 120 George St.; in rented room at 279 George St. and 53 Waterman St. with Geo. Burroughs 1891-1921)

Places written: Providence, R.I.

Biographical note: Never married nor held a job; lived in rented apartments, and seems to have been supported by largely by well-to-do brother, and by friend George Burroughs.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Congregationalist. First Congregationalist Church.

Social class: Middle (see above)

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 52

Number of pages: Mostly 365 each

Exact dates: January 1, 1864 - June 9, 1921; missing volumes for 1879-1881, 1888, 1909 and 1917.

Frequency of entries: Daily, but often misses short periods.

How was author identified?: Some are signed.

Brief description: 52 diaries describing a largely uneventful life.

Writing quality: Fairly good; freely expresses emotions.

Utility for research: Should be of use to somebody. Although the author's life was largely uneventful, her long cohabitation with an unmarried man might be of interest. If anyone decides to study the "socially awkward", this might be a good place to start.

Related papers at RIHS: Long letter to niece Abby (Bullock) Burgess recounting family history and her own life story (MSS 9001-B).

Family members:

Father's name: Bullock, Samuel B.

Father's dates: 1810-1889

Father's occupation: Stable keeper, Providence, R.I.

Mother's name: Bartlett, Abby E.

Mother's dates: 1815-1894

Brothers: Sam H. Bullock (1850-1939), manager of Earl Carpenter & Son, an ice company, and husband of Emma Carpenter.

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: George H. Burroughs (1851-1918) figures very prominently (see below). Anna Bradford and Annie Butterworth among her friends. George and Celia Madison (also diarists) were life-long family friends. Diarist Lucy D. (Carpenter) Cushman (1861-1942) was her brother's sister-in-law.

Topical content:

Religious content: Active in church; taught Sunday School for a period. Upset by the departure of Rev. Slicer in 1890; "George & I went to church to hear Mr. Lord our new pastor who preached for the first time. I won't criticize, only he is the opposite of Mr. Slicer." [9/28/1890].

Social life: The author seems to have trouble making friends and fitting in. A revealing entry, the second one in the diary: "Second day of same monotonous life... Resolved to think more & talk less, to live for the good of others, thus becoming truly happy. Failed, been cross all morning. Try again. 4 callers. Read 'Lost & Found', did not like it. Alone all evening and cross & fretful." [1/2/1864] "Not well, could not go out, so tried to content myself in home. What a quiet life I lead not worth keeping a diary." [1/16/1864] Actually, she seems to have had a fairly broad social circle, and the diaries are filled with accounts of calling, parties and whist games. Later entries are generally less introspective, but there are exceptions: "I know I am cross but somehow I don't help it. This long cold winter with everything else is enough to make a saint wicked." [2/3/1883]

Family: "Lost command of my temper several times, spoke disrespectfully to my dear good mother." [1/3/1864]. Argument with sister-in-law: "Not a soul thought I wanted to go to vespers, so I went down & lost my temper. I hurried to service & it did me little good, then I came home found Emma & Abby here & then I lost my head entirely and made Emma cry &c &c... I read my Bible but got very little comfort. Emma was insulting but I hardly think she meant it." [5/1/1892] "I have not seen Emma since our unpleasantness. I shall never cease to think I should have more attention from her as well as many other people. If I were only rich. I may be wrong." [5/6/1892]

Aging: Poignant account as elderly woman without any means of support. At age 78 after her long-time friend George Burroughs had died: "Oh! Oh! I have to be dependant. What's the use of thinking." "I am an old tough nut and may live twenty years more. Where will I be, and who will care for me. I am alone and yet I have my good brother and his family." [2/1, 2/2/1918]. "Somehow, folks don't seem to think of me, and yet I fear I am oversensitive." [4/24/1921]

Health: The usual trials of failing health as old age approaches.

Home production: Regular account of housework.

Food and drink: While playing whist with friends, hostess "Annie passed around wine & I left the room I was so grieved!" [11/17/1865]

Labor: While still living with parents, usually had one or two servants in the house. "Hannah was crazy and left at noon. We were thankful to get rid of such a horrid woman. It made mother sick." [1/11/1870]

Class relations: The author seems to have been born on the fringes of the upper class, but not quite in it. In later life, without any means of support, her circumstances seem to have been quite modest. When still a young woman, in back of 1864 diary, Bullock wrote a poem titled "Lines on War and ye Sociables, which did not come off, by one who does not know to which set she belongs, and is greatly distressed in consequence." Includes these verses:

            "With music hired, hall engaged /

            Cards to the first set sent and paid /

            Some patronesses, much enraged /

            Found two or three not up to grade

            I'll not go! Withdraw my name!/

            Scratch out my name and don't forget/

            How shocking! What a crying shame/

            To mix us with the second set.

            There'll be a party given yet/

            For all who draw this fleeting breath/

            The first must meet the second set/

            The dance will be the dance of death."

Gender relations: Had some sort of crush on someone named "Dandy". "Dandy went by, did not look up." [1/1/1864]; "Not seen Dandy for two days! Wonder if he ever thinks of me. Foolish to care." [1/3/1864] "Went to S. Hill's party... Dandy there, did not dance with him. Odd. C. Pearce very attentive. Had nice dream about Dandy." [1/14/1864]

Other romances followed, not all of which seemed so utterly futile, but nearly so. "Mr. Bliss came down in the eve., we played whist till eleven. I am afraid he won't come very often as he can't really get over my returning his present. Don't blame him." [1/5/1870] "Mr. Bliss came down in the evening & we played whist as usual when he comes. He was impatient & cross & went home early." [12/5/1870].

The truly puzzling case is George H. Burroughs (1851-1918). His story is difficult to piece together; he seems to have lived with the Burgess family for most of his life, and might have been raised by them, though he does not seem to have been a close relative. Neither George nor Sarah ever married. He worked for many years as an accountant at the major textile firm of B.B. & R. Knight. Sarah shared rented apartments with him from 1891 to his death in 1918; the census lists her as head of household, with him as a 'boarder'. They seemed to have been close; they went to church together, and he seemed to have helped support her financially. On her 50th birthday, "Geo. gave me $50, how good he is." [7/8/1890]. Upon his death, Sarah attended the funeral, but did not go to the chapel; "I did not dare go to have histronics." [1/19/1918] His death was a financial as well as an emotional tragedy for her: "Sam took George's will in which he left all to me which only means about nothing. They may find just enough to pay his last expenses of his sickness &c. I shall have to make a change [of apartments]. George evidently speculated in worthless stocks. Some bad man must have led him on and so now in my old age I must make a change. It is sad to think of such a pleasant substantial man to be led on. I fear he did not think of me in my old age." [1/21/1918]

Arts and culture: Avid reader, usually mentions what books she has checked out from the library.

Travel: Trip with family to visit cousin in Chatham, N.Y. [8/17 - 8/31/1865]; similar trips most summers, to New York, Vermont or "Halsey Farm" in Massachusetts.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 65

Collection title: Sarah Bartlett Bullock Diaries

Size: Various, but mostly about 5" x 3"

Condition: Good

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): Diaries also available on microfilm as part of the series New England Women and their Families in the 18th and 19th Centuries: Personal Papers, Letters, and Diaries, Series C. The microfilm is filed under catalog number HQ1438 .R45, Part 1, Reels 18 to 26.

Provenance: 1968. 60. 1-52, gift of niece Abby (Bullock) Burgess

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Skimmed a good portion of these diaries; there are still unanswered questions.


1900 U.S. Census, Providence, E.D. 6, page 8.

Providence city directories.

No obituary was found for George Burroughs in the Providence Journal.

Subject headings:

Bullock, Sam H. (1850-1939)

Burroughs, George H. (1851-1918)

Diaries - 1864-1921

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Marie L. Burge Diaries

Entries dated 1886 to 1907


Name at birth: Burge, Marie Louise

Birthdate and place: March 10, 1865, Brooklyn N.Y.

Death date and place: April 28, 1952, South Kingstown, R.I.

Age range during diary: 20-32

Residence during diary: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Places written: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Biographical note: Raised in Brooklyn as daughter of successful physician. Never married and eventually settled in Wickford, R.I., where her grandfather Lemuel Burge had preached for many years and where many of her cousins still lived.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Episcopalian

Social class: Middle - upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 3

Number of pages: 171, 245, 184

Exact dates: January 2 1886 - December 31 1907

Frequency of entries: Regular

How was author identified?: Signed

Writing quality: Fairly good, but not generally very personal or detailed.

Utility for research: Not especially valuable. Only a few brief sections are even of local Rhode Island interest.

Related papers at RIHS: None

Family members:

Father's name: Burge, John Henry Hobart

Father's dates: 1823-1901

Father's occupation: Physician of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mother's name: Schneider, Louise

Brothers: Frederick W. Burge (1872-1949)

Sisters: Jessie Jay Burge (1867-1948, never married); half-sister Anna Shaw Burge, raised by aunt Julia Burge.

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: Not all of the following are mentioned, but it might help to get the genealogy straight: the author's grandfather was Rev. Lemuel Burge (d.1864), formerly of Wickford, R.I. He had many children by his wife Elizabeth E. Shaw, including the author's uncles Samuel B. Burge (b.1841) and Dr. William Burge (b.1831), and aunts Anna S. Thomas (b.1821-1843); Elizabeth E. Burge (b.1822), Julia P. Burge (b.1825), Frances Griswold (1826-1900), and Caroline B. Mathewson Greene (1828-1900).

Topical content:

Religious content: Frequent mention of church involvement, but no long expressions of piety.


Family: "Aunt Lizzie (Miss E.E. Burge) having decided that it was best not to encumber her heirs with the estate on account of the encroachments of business on either side, Jessie secured for us the most of Commodore Perry's China." [10/15/1901]

Arts and culture: Includes lists of books read in back of 1900 diary.

Travel: Some mention of family in Rhode Island, for example: Visits to see 'Uncle' Rev. William Brenton Greene (b.1854). He is later more accurately described as a "second cousin once removed" [10/1 - 10/22/1901, and again 6/26 -7/13/1903]; "Mamma took the train for Wickford, R.I. to visit Aunt Lizzie Burge in the 'Shaw Homestead'." [8/29/1904] Wickford is a village in North Kingstown.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 320

Collection title: Marie L. Burge Diaries

Size: 11" x 9"

Condition: Good; one volume missing cover.

Provenance: 1971. 62. 1-3, purchased from Don Burnett for $50

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Skimmed.


Burge, Marie L. Letter to Rhode Island Historical Society dated January 26, 1950, Wickford, R.I. and filed in the Genealogical Manuscripts collection under "Berg Family: Rev. Lemuel Burge of Wickford, R.I."

Subject headings:

Brooklyn, N.Y. - Social life and customs

Diaries - 1886-1907

North Kingstown, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Marion M. (Walling) Burgess Diaries

Entries dated 1882 to 1899


Name at birth: Walling, Marion Melissa

Name after marriage: Burgess, Marion M. (Walling)

Birthdate and place: Circa 1844, Burrillville, R.I.

Death date and place: April 21, 1902, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 38, 48-55

Residence during diary: 91 Prospect St., Providence, R.I.

Places written: 1) Scotland, England, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France

            2) Providence, R.I.

Biographical note: Wife of prominent manufacturer, active in the Providence Shelter for Colored Children

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Baptist

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 2

Number of pages: 108, 323

Exact dates: June 24 - September 16, 1882; November 20, 1892 - March 12, 1899

Frequency of entries: Usually weekly

How was author identified?: Signed

Writing quality: Fairly good, though mostly just short descriptive entries.

Utility for research: A decent chronicle of upper-class life on the East Side of Providence, though not very personal. This particular family is not well-documented otherwise.

Related papers at RIHS: Fourth Baptist Church Records (MSS 120); Providence Shelter for Colored Children Records (653)

Family members:

Father's name: Walling, Sayles

Father's dates: 1815-1903

Father's occupation: Of Providence, R.I.

Mother's name: Marsh, Lemanda

Mother's dates: 1823-1916

Brothers: Unknown

Sisters: Unknown

Husband's name: Burgess, Edwin A.

Husband's dates: 1842-1900

Husband's occupation: Manufacturer of pickers, belts and hoses for textile mills, in A. Burgess & Son.

Marriage date and place: September 7, 1865, Providence, R.I.

Father-in-law's name: Burgess, Alexander

Father-in-law's dates: 1810-1887

Father-in-law's occupation: Manufacturer in A. Burgess & Son

Mother-in-law's name: Simpson, Caroline

Mother-in-law's dates: Unknown

Sons: None

Daughters: Stella M. (Burgess) Harris (1866-1912), m. Frederick A.M. Harris (1864-1919); Edith Sayles Burgess (b.1879, living 1910)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Whist partners with Gov. D. Russell Brown [2/19/1899, etc.]

Topical content:

Religious content: Member of Fourth Baptist Church of Providence; regular churchgoer.

Social life: Whist is a central activity, played with regular groups at least once weekly. Also attends theater and concerts.

Family: Frequent mention of parents, who live nearby.

Childhood: Youngest daughter is 13 at start of second diary; her social activities are sometimes mentioned. Also, Harris grandchildren frequently mentioned.

Marriage: Husband a busy businessman; not much insight into their marriage.

Health: Long discussion of family illnesses in 1899, with several doctors and nurses called in to care for ailing granddaughter and other family members sick with grippe.

School: Daughter Edith in New York off to Peebles and Thompson boarding school [8/28 - 10/9/1898] Visit to school, 3/12/1899.

Fashion: Frequent discussions of shopping and dresses made.

Class relations: Occasional discussions of the help. "Such a time with girls as S[tella] has had. She engaged one and she did not show up at all so they could not move Wed., then another, and she came & told her she had changed her mind, so she could not go Thursday. Ella has been doing the cooking. At last Stella said she was going Sat. girl or no girl so she planned for Sat. At the last minute she took a green horn & I don't know how she will get along." [6/26/1897]

Travel: Travel diary from 1882 of trip to Europe is more detailed than most, and includes inscriptions from many of the Americans met on the journey.

Organizations: Vice-president of Shelter for Colored Children [city directories; 12/4/1892]. Generally just mentions that she attended the meetings, but occasionally more: "I had to go down to see Mr. Richmond today about selling the Shelters." [3/12/1899]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 979

Collection title: Marion M. Burgess Diaries

Location within the collection:

Size: 9" x 7"

Condition: Fair; both bindings becoming detached and one page loose.

Provenance: 1973. 297. 2. 1-2, gift of Harris Arnold

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read Nov. 1892 - Feb. 1893; 1899; skimmed rest.


Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (Chicago: Beers & Co., 1908), vol. 3, p. 2177.

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Providence vital records

Providence marriages (mss.), vol. 8, p. 173

Obituary of Edwin A. Burgess in Providence Journal, February 14, 1900, p.3

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1882, 1892-1899

Providence Shelter for Colored Children

Notes on the Eleonora T. (Thornlimb) Butterworth Diary

Entries dated 1930 to 1930


Name at birth: Thornlimb, Eleonora T.

Name after marriage: Butterworth, Eleonora T. (Thornlimb)

Birthdate and place: November 21, 1901, Rhode Island

Death date and place: After 1981, probably in Cranston, R.I.

Age range during diary: 28

Residence during diary: 7 Junction St., Providence, R.I., boarding in father-in-law's house.

Places written: Providence, R.I.; Jacksonville, Fla.

Biographical note: Worked as telephone operator before marriage, then was apparently a housewife. Moved to Cranston in 1938.

Ethnicity: Swedish-American

Religion of diarist: Baptist (Elmwood Avenue Baptist Church)

Social class: Working

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 25

Exact dates: January 5 - February 23, 1930

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Signed (four pages from back cover)

Brief description: Diary of working-class housewife involved in church and charitable activities; includes vacation in Florida.

Writing quality: Plain, not very personal, but clear.

Utility for research: A very short diary, but could be useful for somebody looking at working-class church involvement.

Related papers at RIHS: None

Family members:

Father's name: Thornlimb, Ernest F.

Father's dates: 1878-1939

Father's occupation: Toolmaker, in jewelry factory.

Mother's name: Lindstrom, Ellen N. Stepmother: Erika S. Anderson

Mother's dates: 1878-1901 Stepmother: b.1878

Brothers: Ernest F. Thornlimb Jr. (b.1904); Edmund Thornlimb (b.1905)

Sisters: Esther Thornlimb (1908-1917)

Husband's name: Butterworth, Wilmarth B. "Bud"

Husband's dates: 1901-1970

Husband's occupation: Traffic manager at Jones Warehouse, Providence.

Marriage date and place: June 4, 1924, Providence

Father-in-law's name: Butterworth, George W.

Father-in-law's dates: 1870-1933

Father-in-law's occupation: Real estate agent

Mother-in-law's name: Boyd, Elizabeth T.

Sons: None?

Daughters: None?

Other persons frequently mentioned: "Bud" is husband Wilmarth Butterworth. "Bartlett" is probably Thomas E. Bartlett, agent of the R.I. Bible Society.

Topical content:

Religious content: Very active church member, served on many committees.

Social life: Often visits friends. "Went to club at Mrs. Adams house, from there went to Agnes for bridge game." [1/7/1930]

Marriage: Not much insight into her marriage. Husband only mentioned 1/17, 2/7, 2/10, 2/14.

School: Taking basketry class at church [1/11/1930].

Work outside home: Butterworth seems to be a housewife. There are several entries that suggest otherwise: "Worked in afternoon" [1/10]; "Went to Bartlett's for morning" [1/11]; "Worked at Bartlett's" [1/15]; "worked at Bible Rooms" [1/24]; "Went to Bartlett's" [1/27]. However, these entries suggest a very irregular schedule. The Providence directories list several Bartletts, including a Bartlett's Hall in the northern part of town, but my guess is that she was volunteering at the Rhode Island Bible Society downtown, of which Thomas E. Bartlett was the agent.

Fashion: Went to Guild meeting... Girls gave me a lovely Beach suit." [1/31]

Race / ethnicity content: Though the author is Swedish-American, there is little to suggest her ethnicity here.

Arts and culture: Member of the 300-strong Providence Festival Chorus, which performed at Infantry Hall [1/6, 1/7]. Member of a drama club that performed in Antioch and Waltham, Mass. [1/18, 1/25].

"Went to Majestic with Mrs. Etchells to see 'Sunnyside Up'." [1/16]. "Went to Strand...to see 'Sally'". [1/28]

Travel: Trip Jacksonville, Florida for three weeks with husband, apparently to visit family.

Organizations: Butterworth belonged to a bewildering variety of committees and groups, many of which were probably related to the church. The following are mentioned: "C.E." (Christian Endeavor?) [1/5, 1/12]; Guild (Neighborhood Guild?) [1/10, 1/31]; Dramatic Club [1/12, 1/18, 1/25]; Bridge Club [1/14]; Eastern Star [1/15]; Financial Club [1/16]; Friendship Club [1/21]; Rainbow Advisory Board [1/22]; Missionary meeting [1/29]; Providence Festival Chorus [1/7].

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-B

Collection title: Eleonora T. (Thornlimb) Butterworth Diary

Size: 7" x 5"

Condition: Good

Graphic content: Cover is imprinted "Shepard's, Providence, R.I. 1930 Ready Reference Diary."

Provenance: 1994. 164. 3, unknown donor

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read carefully in entirety.


1920 U.S. Census, Providence, E.D. 237, page 5

Providence vital records

Providence and Cranston directories

"Festival Chorus Concert Tonight", Providence Journal, January 7, 1930.

Obituary of Wilmarth B. Butterworth in Cranston Herald, January 13, 1970

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1930

Elmwood Avenue Baptist Church (Providence, R.I.)

Florida - Description and travel

Providence Festival Chorus

Swedish-Americans - Rhode Island

Notes on the Candace C. (Dorr) Carrington Diaries

Entries dated 1862 to 1886


Name at birth: Dorr, Candace C.

Name after marriage: Carrington, Candace C. (Dorr)

Birthdate and place: October 5, 1815, Providence, R.I.

Death date and place: February 23, 1886, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 46-70

Residence during diary: 38 Williams St., Providence, R.I.

Places written: Providence, R.I.

Biographical note: Daughter of a prominent merchant, and married the son of a prominent merchant. A common tale.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Protestant

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 6

Number of pages: About 150 each

Exact dates: March 20, 1862 - February 21, 1886

Frequency of entries: Mostly daily. A few scattered entries are made by her husband. He also continued after her death until 1890.

How was author identified?: Some are signed

Brief description: Very brief entries made in third person, often barely decipherable.

Writing quality: Poor; the entries are very brief and difficult to decipher due to the hurried handwriting and the heavy use of abbreviations. Written in third person.

Utility for research: There is probably quite a bit of factual information about the daily business of Providence's social elite that could be extracted with a great deal of effort, but casual reading is unlikely to be well rewarded.

Related papers at RIHS: The Carrington Papers (MSS 333) are an enormous collection of business records pertaining to Edward Carringtons I and II. the Sullivan Dorr Papers (MSS 390) relate to her father. There are undoubtedly other papers relating to the author's extended family.

Family members:

Father's name: Dorr, Sullivan

Father's dates: 1778-1858

Father's occupation: Merchant, in China trade

Mother's name: Allen, Lydia

Mother's dates: 1782-1859

Brothers: Famous fighter for truth and justice Thomas W. Dorr (1805-1858); Allen Dorr (1808-1889); Sullivan Dorr Jr. (1813-1884); Henry C. Dorr (1820-1897).

Sisters: Ann Allen (Dorr) Ives (1810-1884), wife of Moses B. Ives (1794-1853); Mary T. (Dorr) ames (1811-1869), wife of Judge Samuel Ames (1806-1865).

Husband's name: Carrington, Edward Jr.

Husband's dates: 1813-1891

Husband's occupation: Merchant and textile manufacturer

Marriage date and place: February 23 1841, Providence, R.I.

Father-in-law's name: Carrington, Edward

Father-in-law's dates: 1775-1843

Father-in-law's occupation: Pioneering merchant in China trade; textile manufacturer

Mother-in-law's name: Hoppin, Lorania

Mother-in-law's dates: 1774-1861

Sons: Edward "Ned" Carrington III (1852-1934); did not marry until 1909.

Daughters: Anne I. (Carrington) Dwight (1849-1904), wife of Gamaliel L. Dwight III (1841-1875).

Other persons frequently mentioned: Only grandchild was Margarethe L. Dwight (1871-1962), who never married. Various Ives and Ames nieces and nephews.

Topical content:

Social life: Lists daily callers, etc.

A typical entry, selected at random: "42 degrees NW clear beautiful. K Hoppin went home on 9. CC AJC M. Blodgett went to Boot (?) & former to Interest (?). GLD went down. CC bought A's skirts &c. James off all walked to street cars. EG at College in evg. All in bed early." [11/10/1870]

Another random entry: "46 degrees N.E. Ned up early to see bicycle race Wh. was not breakfast at club. CC out better calling saw Dr. Radeke. Ned down eye painful out in M dined with Jack played out without sack (?) aft. E.C. out aft. Anny has excema on hand J better Geo & Wm Hoppin & Wm Ames evg. EC at Anny's in b'g about the man in Phil. (?)" [5/4/1881]

Organizations: Directress of the Providence Children's Friend Society [10/6/1863]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 333

Collection title: Carrington Papers

Location within the collection: Box 276

Size: 8" x 7"

Condition: Fair; bindings are damaged

Provenance: 1960. 40. 1. 1-, probably arrived from Rhode Island School of Design with the rest of the Carrington Papers.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Barely skimmed


Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1932), volume 3, p. 196

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1862-1890

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Anna H. Chace Diaries

Entries dated 1904 to 1921


Name at birth: Chace, Anna H.

Birthdate and place: November 11, 1856, Pennsylvania

Death date and place: September 30, 1945, Providence

Age range during diary: 47-65

Residence during diary: Philadelphia, PA; 758 Broad St., Central Falls (to 1911); Providence, R.I. (1911-1914)

Places written: Philadelphia and Providence

Biographical note: A devout member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and daughter of former U.S. Sen. Jonathan Chase, she never married and was very active in the international peace movement.

Religion of diarist: Quaker

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 14

Number of pages: 365 each

Exact dates: January 1, 1904 - September 5, 1921

Frequency of entries: Sporadic. Entries after 1906 alternate at random in their authorship, between Jonathan and Jane Moon Chace and their two daughters. There are also long stretches with no entries at all, or only weather. A few entries (discussing "Jane") from February 1906 appear to have certainly been done by Jonathan Chace, whose handwriting reoccurs. The handwriting is usually the only clue, as the entries are often in third person regardless of author.

How was author identified?: Internal evidence. Diary catalogued as Anna & Elizabeth Chase diary; some entries are clearly Anna's.

Brief description: These diaries were kept jointly by Jane Moon Chace, her husband Jonathan, and their two daughters Anna and Elizabeth. Each woman is given a separate entry in this index. The entries are very brief and often cease for long periods, but there are some longer entries of interest.

Family members:

Father's name: Chace, Jonathan

Father's dates: 1829-1917

Father's occupation: Textile manufacturer of Valley Falls, R.I.; U.S. congressman, 1881-1889.

Mother's name: Moon, Jane C.

Mother's dates: 1831-1914

Sisters: Elizabeth M. Chace (1868-1955)

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: Uncle James H. Chace (b.1827); father's first cousin Arnold B. Chace (1845-1932); A.B. Chace's son Malcolm G. Chace (b.1875); prominent R.I. Quaker Charles Perry.

Topical content:

Religious content: For content notes, see the entry for Elizabeth M. Chace; the entries alternate and are difficult to distinguish.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 998

Collection title: Chace Family Diaries

Location within the collection: Box 1

Size: 6" x 5"

Condition: Good

Provenance: 1955? Unknown but cataloged circa 1955, shortly after the last daughter's death.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997


Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy (New York: Lewis, 1932), vol. 4, 395-396.

Hinshaw, William W. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1969), vol. 2 (Pennsylvania), 965-966.

Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (Chicago: Beers & Co., 1908), p.1152-1158.

Obituaries of Anna H. Chace (10/2/1945) and Elizabeth M. Chace (9/22/1955) in Providence Journal.

Notes on the Elizabeth M. Chace Diaries

Entries dated 1904 to 1921


Name at birth: Chace, Elizabeth M.

Birthdate and place: November 1, 1868, Pennsylvania

Death date and place: September 21, 1955, Providence

Age range during diary: 35-53

Residence during diary: Philadelphia, PA; 758 Broad St., Central Falls (to 1911); Providence, R.I. (1911-1914)

Places written: Philadelphia and Providence

Biographical note: A devout member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and daughter of former U.S. Sen. Jonathan Chase, she never married and was very active in the international peace movement.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Quaker (Wilburite division)

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 14

Number of pages: 365 each

Exact dates: January 1, 1904 - September 5, 1921

Frequency of entries: Sporadic. Entries after 1906 alternate at random in their authorship, between Jonathan and Jane Moon Chace and their two daughters. There are also long stretches with no entries at all, or only weather. A few entries (discussing "Jane") from February 1906 appear to have certainly been done by Jonathan Chace, whose handwriting recurs. The handwriting is usually the only clue, as the entries are often in third person regardless of author.

            It appears that all of the entries from 1904 to 1906 are Jane's; 1906 to 1911 are divided mostly between Jane and Jonathan, with some by the daughters; 1911 to 1917 are mostly by Jonathan with some by Elizabeth; and 1920 to 1921 are mostly by Elizabeth with some by Anna. Volumes are missing for 1912, 1914, 1918 and 1919.

How was author identified?: Internal evidence. Diary catalogued as Anna & Elizabeth Chase diary; most of the post-1917 entries are clearly Elizabeth's, such as 8/20/1920.

Brief description: These diaries actually span from 1904 to 1920, and were kept jointly by Jane Moon Chace, her husband Jonathan, and their two daughters Anna and Elizabeth. Each woman is given a separate entry in this index. The entries are very brief and often cease for long periods, but there are some longer entries of interest.

Writing quality: Very plain and unremarkable.

Utility for research: Valuable more as an occasional record of events than as a literary artifact, though the concept of a group family diary is unusual. The Chaces all led interesting lives, though, which are partially documented here.

Related papers at RIHS: Only the records of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers).

Family members:

Father's name: Chace, Jonathan

Father's dates: 1829-1917

Father's occupation: Textile manufacturer of Valley Falls, R.I.; U.S. congressman, 1881-1889.

Mother's name: Moon, Jane C.

Mother's dates: 1831-1914

Sisters: Anna H. Chace (1856-1945)

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: Uncle James H. Chace (b.1827); father's first cousin Arnold B. Chace (1845-1932); A.B. Chace's son Malcolm G. Chace (b.1875); prominent R.I. Quaker Charles Perry.

Topical content:

Events discussed: At League of Nations conference in Geneva, Switzerland [7/7 - 9/3/1921]

Religious content: Meeting attendance often noted, but faith is mainly evidenced by simplicity of the entries.

Social life: Social visits noted.

Family: Diary kept jointly by family, in disorienting third-person style.

Marriage: Fiftieth anniversary party [10/12/1904]. No secrets between Jane and Jonathan, as Jonathan routinely wrote in the diary when Jane was unable to.

Labor: Household help is frequently discussed.

Travel: Two sisters and "J.C.R." to London and Paris [7/8 - 9/15/1920]; sisters in Geneva for League of Nations meeting [7/7 - 9/3/1921]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 998

Collection title: Chace Family Diaries

Location within the collection: Box 1

Size: 6" x 5"

Condition: Good

Provenance: 1955? Unknown provenance, but cataloged circa 1955, shortly after the last daughter's death.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Skimmed most of these diaries.


Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy (New York: Lewis, 1932), vol. 4, 395-396.

Hinshaw, William W. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1969), vol. 2 (Pennsylvania), 965-966.

Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (Chicago: Beers & Co., 1908), p.1152-1158.

Obituaries of Anna H. Chace (10/2/1945) and Elizabeth M. Chace (9/22/1955) in Providence Journal.

Subject headings:

Chace, Jonathan (1829-1917)

Diaries - 1904-1921

League of Nations

Notes on the Jane C. (Moon) Chace Diaries

Entries dated 1904 to 1911


Name at birth: Moon, Jane C.

Name after marriage: Chace, Jane C. (Moon)

Birthdate and place: June 12, 1831, Pennsylvania [diary entry, 6/12/1914]

Death date and place: August 15, 1914, Providence

Age range during diary: 72-80

Residence during diary: Philadelphia, PA; 758 Broad St., Central Falls (to 1911); Providence, R.I. (1911-1914)

Places written: Philadelphia and Providence

Biographical note: A devout member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), she married Jonathan Chase, who later became senator from Rhode Island.

Religion of diarist: Quaker

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 8

Number of pages: 365 each

Exact dates: January 1, 1904 - November 11, 1911 (?)

Frequency of entries: Sporadic. Entries after 1906 alternate at random in their authorship, between Jonathan and Jane Moon Chace and their two daughters. There are also long stretches with no entries at all, or only weather. A few entries (discussing "Jane") from February 1906 appear to have certainly been done by Jonathan Chace, whose handwriting reoccurs. The handwriting is usually the only clue, as the entries are often in third person regardless of author.

It appears that all of the entries from 1904 to 1906 are Jane's; 1906 to 1911 are divided mostly between Jane and Jonathan, with some by the daughters; 1911 to 1917 are mostly by Jonathan with some by Elizabeth; and 1920 to 1921 are mostly by Elizabeth with some by Anna. Volumes are missing for 1912, 1914, 1918 and 1919.

How was author identified?: Internal evidence. Diary catalogued as Anna & Elizabeth Chase diary, but entries frequently discuss both of them (6/8/1911) and place her age as too high (6/12/1911].

Brief description: These diaries actually span from 1904 to 1920, and were kept jointly by Jane Moon Chace and her two daughters Anna and Elizabeth. Each woman is given a separate entry in this index, but the content is discussed under Elizabeth' entry. The entries are very brief and often cease for long periods, but there are some longer entries of interest.

Family members:

Father's name: Moon, James

Father's dates: 1782-1855

Father's occupation: Of Pennsylvania.

Mother's name: Haines, Jane

Mother's dates: 1793-1884

Brothers: Mahlon Moon (1814-1887), Charles Moon (b.1820), James H. Moon (1830-1923)

Sisters: Eliza Moon (b.1818), Rachel (b.1823)

Husband's name: Chace, Jonathan

Husband's dates: 1829-1917

Husband's occupation: Textile manufacturer of Valley Falls, R.I.; U.S. congressman, 1881-1889.

Marriage date and place: October 12, 1854, Fallsington, PA

Father-in-law's name: Chace, Harvey

Father-in-law's dates: b.1797

Father-in-law's occupation: Textile manufacturer, Valley Falls, R.I.; nephew of Elizabeth Buffum Chace; active in Underground Railroad.

Mother-in-law's name: Wood, Hannah

Mother-in-law's dates: 1800-1833

Sons: None

Daughters: Anna H. Chace (1856-1945); Elizabeth "Bessie" M. Chace (1868-1955)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Husband's brother James H. Chace (b.1827); husband's first cousin Arnold B. Chace (1845-1932); A.B. Chace's son Malcolm G. Chace (b.1875); prominent R.I. Quaker Charles Perry.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 998

Collection title: Chace Family Diaries

Location within the collection: Box 1

Size: 6" x 5"

Condition: Good

Provenance: 1955? Unknown provenance, but cataloged circa 1955, shortly after the last daughter's death.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997


Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy (New York: Lewis, 1932), vol. 4, 395-396.

Hinshaw, William W. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1969), vol. 2 (Pennsylvania), 965-966.

Representative Men and Old Families of Rhode Island (Chicago: Beers & Co., 1908), p.1152-1158.

Obituaries of Anna H. Chace (10/2/1945) and Elizabeth M. Chace (9/22/1955) in Providence Journal.

Notes on the Mary D. (Sharpe) Chafee Diary

Entries dated 1889 to 1889


Name at birth: Sharpe, Mary Dexter

Name after marriage: Chafee, Mary D. (Sharpe)

Birthdate and place: January 2, 1860, Providence, R.I.

Death date and place: April 27, 1934, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 27

Residence during diary: Providence, R.I.

Places written: England and France

Biographical note: Daughter of a very prominent Providence manufacturer, and married a son of another one.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Protestant

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 96

Exact dates: October 2 - November 29, 1889 (see note on identification)

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Identification of this diary was problematic. It had been identified as "Mary Chafee diary, 1880", but this could refer to the wives of Zechariah II or III, both of whom were named Mary and both of whom were living through 1901. Key evidence was frequent reference to the traveling companions as Zech, Alice and "Mrs. Chafee". It seems much more likely to refer to a mother-in-law as Mrs. than a daughter-in-law. Furthermore, the October 11 entry mentions "Henry Chafee's birthday", clearly referring to the son of Zechariah III, born on that date in 1887. It might seem odd for a mother to refer to her infant son by his full name, but she might have been distinguishing him from her brother Henry Sharpe. Assuming the author to be Mary (Sharpe) Chafee to be the author, and Mrs. Chafee to be her mother-in-law Mary (Buffington) Chafee, the diary must have been written between 1887 and Mrs. Chafee's death in April 1901. By checking the dates in the diary against a perpetual calendar, the year is narrowed down to 1889 or 1895. By checking the family correspondence files in the Zechariah Chafee papers for those years, 1895 can be ruled out, as there are letters from October 1895 from Mrs. Chafee in Boston. In 1889, there is a letter from Mrs. Chafee in Paris to her son, dated December 7, which is consistent with the diary. The diary seems to leave Mrs. Chafee and Alice in Europe on November 21. Also see the reference to President Carnot, who served in France from 1887 to his assassination in 1894, and to the death of the King of Portugal on the same page.

Brief description: Diary of trip to Europe with husband, his mother and his sister Alice.

Writing quality: Very good

Utility for research: A decent travel diary, perhaps most useful for its tangential reference to Brown & Sharpe business.

Related papers at RIHS: Zechariah Chafee Family Papers (MSS 340) include extensive family correspondence. Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company Records (MSS 822) document her family business.

Family members:

Father's name: Sharpe, Lucian

Father's dates: 1830-1899

Father's occupation: Founder of Browne & Sharpe Manufacturing Company, the world's largest producer of quality measuring tools.

Mother's name: Dexter, Louisa

Mother's dates: 1831-1901

Brothers: Henry D. Sharpe Sr. (1872-1954); Lucian Sharpe Jr. (1871-1931)

Sisters: Ellen D. Sharpe (1861-1953); Louisa D. (Sharpe) Metcalf (1866-1959); one other?

Husband's name: Chafee, Zechariah III

Husband's dates: Manufacturer, active in Brown & Sharpe and also in Builders Iron Foundry

Husband's occupation: 1859-1943

Marriage date and place: February 10, 1885

Father-in-law's name: Chafee, Zechariah Jr.

Father-in-law's dates: 1815-1889

Father-in-law's occupation: Manufacturer, president of Builders Iron Foundry

Mother-in-law's name: Buffington, Mary Frances

Mother-in-law's dates: 1824-1901

Sons: Zechariah Chafee IV (1885-1957); henry S. Chafee (1887-1964); John S. Chafee (1896-1984); Francis S. Chafee (1903-1980)

Daughters: Elizabeth (b.1889); Mary S. (b.1897)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Alice Chafee (1859-1933), twin sister of Zechariah III, later Alice Dunham.

Topical content:

Social life: Glamorous reception thrown by French president Sadi-Carnot for those receiving awards at a manufacturing exhibition; met "M. Eiffel, a very interesting face." [10/21, 10/28/1889] "also saw 'Buffalo Bill' coming out of the 'American Bar' at the hotel." [10/21/1889]

Food and drink: Complaints about ocean steamer food. "Tried oatmeal gruel this morning. Wretched stuff." [10/4/1889]; "Managed to dine in the saloon. A glass of beer for breakfast. very satisfactory; far superior to gruel." [10/6/1889]

Labor: The ostensible excuse for this vacation is the author's husband's official business. He met with "Mr. Neat, who sells Brown & Sharpe's tools in England." [10/15/1889] and attended an exhibition in Paris where Brown & Sharpe had an exhibit [10/19/1889]. The author's father

Lucian Sharpe seems to have attended the exhibition in Paris and accompanied them back to London briefly; the only mention of him seems to be that "London s clear and bright. Father could hardly recognize it." [10/31/1889]

Class relations: "Mr. Neat [an English salesman for Mr. Chafee's company] called with his wife. She is rather amusing. Her experience with American women has not been very encouraging, as she has encountered the class who have been unable to find anything here as good as what we have in America. She is rather bourgeoise." [11/4/1889]

Travel: Fairly good travel diary from England and Paris; not much on sights, but enjoyably peevish depiction of travel by ocean steamer. "I always did think the sea a poor place." [10/3/1889]; "I am quite lame in the back from continual 'holding on' whether I sit or lie down. Too rough to walk much." [10/7/1889]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 340

Collection title: Zechariah Chafee Family Papers

Location within the collection: In box 6

Size: 9" x 6"

Condition: Good; fragile paper

Provenance: 1978. 35. 1?, probably gift of Francis H. Chafee

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Skimmed fairly closely


Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Chaffee, William H. The Chaffee Genealogy... (New York: Grafton Press, 1909), pages 239 and 401

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1889

Europe - Description and travel

Notes on the Zerviah (Sanger) Chapman Diary

Entries dated 1775 to 1783


Name at birth: Sanger, Zerviah

Name after marriage: Chapman, Zerviah (Sanger)

Birthdate and place: December 21, 1718, Woodstock, CT

Death date and place: April 30, 1812, Warwick, RI

Age range during diary: 56 - 65

Residence during diary: Warwick, RI

Places written: Warwick, R.I.

Biographical note: Resided in Woodstock, CT through at least 1741, settled in Nova Scotia with her husband, had a total of 21 children, and moved to Warwick, R.I. after her husband's death in 1770, where she lived with her daughter Hannah (Chapman) Arnold..

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Quaker?

Social class: Middle?

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 16

Exact dates: April 16 1775 to April 1 1776, April 10 1783 to January 7 1784. Also six pages of transcibed selections dating from 1768-1787.

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: On envelope accompanying diary; fits known facts.

Brief description: Fragmentary diary dealing mostly with household work.

Writing quality: Very brief entries, with erratic spelling.

Utility for research: The earliest woman's diary at the R.I.H.S., and an excellent source on Revolutionary-era woman's work, though of little literary merit.

Related papers at RIHS: "Chapman Family: Stephen Chapman Genealogy", in RIHS Genealogical Manuscripts, has transcriptions of two of Zerviah's letters dated 1765 and 1793, transcribed selections from her diary, and a comprehensive genealogy of her descendants.

Family members:

Father's name: Sanger, Nathaniel

Father's dates: 1685-1761

Father's occupation: Of Woodstock, Conn.

Mother's name: Peake, Dorcas

Mother's dates: 1696-1785

Brothers: John (1722-1814), Nathaniel (b.1724), Isijah (b.1727), Asa (1736-1791), Amasa (b.1737)

Sisters: Mary (b.1717), Marcy (b.1720), Elizabeth (b.1725), Dorcas (b.1732)

Husband's name: Chapman, Stephen

Husband's dates: 1711-1770

Husband's occupation: Born in Connecticut, imprisoned in 1765 for debt in Newport, Nova Scotia, and died there.

Marriage date and place: May 22, 1734

Father-in-law's name: Chapman, William

Mother-in-law's name: Chapman, Anna

Sons: Stephen (b.1736), Nathaniel (1742-1820), Rufus (1744-1848), Ebenezer (b.1750), William (b.1760) and others died young.

Daughters: Zerviah Potter (1735-1803), Hannah Arnold (1737-1821), Lucia Blanchard (1739-1823), Dorcas Mathewson (1747-1842), Mary Patt (1754-1823), Anna Greene (b.1757) and others died young. 21 children in all.

Other persons frequently mentioned: Son-in-laws Simeon Arnold (1736-1820), Daniel Mathewson (1747-1824) and Reuben Blanchard (1743-1813), grandsons Lemuel Arnold (1759-1779), Ephraim Arnold (1763-1822), Ebenezer Arnold (1765-1814), Cyrus Arnold (b.1768), Uriah Arnold (b.1772), and Freelove Arnold (1775-1855); granddaughters Phebe Arnold (1761-1783), Zerviah Arnold (1770-1800), Lydia Arnold (1774-1797), Eunice Blanchard (b.1764).

Topical content:

Events discussed: "We had ye doleful news of ye fight bertween ye Regulars & Americans." [4/20/1775] "Man of war fired Prudence Island." [1/12/1776]

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: "Zerviah put to bed with a daughter about 1 o'clock in the morn" [9/15/1775]. Ruth Potter, daughter of Ezra and Zerviah, born that date. "Went burying Westcott's wife" [8/18/1775]. "I went to Daniel Budlong's to ye birth of a daughter wd 9 lb 10 oz." [12/14/1775]. "Went with Sim[eon Arnold] to see his aunt Bates buried." [1/28/1776]. "I at John Rhodes. His wife had a daughter born." [3/17/1776]. "Phebe departed this life about one of ye clock after'n." [5/12/1783] (granddaughter Phebe Arnold). "Dinah had mare to go burying Joseph Lippit" [5/19/1783].

Religious content: Frequently mentions attending meeting in Warwick, Greenwich and Cranston, but little religious content. Apparently not a member of Society of Friends, just an attender. "Reuben to monthly meeting." [11/26/1783] - NOT the date of Greenwich Monthly Meeting.

Social life: Frequent visitors from out of town who stayed overnight, almost as if the family were running an inn. Zerviah's letter dated October 4, 1765, which appears transcribed with selections from the diary in the genealogical collection, complains that her husband was jailed on false acusations of forgery, and implores her children: "I do hereby warn you of ever trusting anything in the hands of any of the family of Westcoate which Robert belongs to for they are the falsest people that I ever knew."

Family: Constant mentions of children and grandchildren. "I went with Eben'r to Daniel Mattesons staid 4 weeks." [8/3/1783]. Refers to grandson Ebenezer Arnold age 18 and son-in-law Daniel Mathewson. "Ezra, Zer'h & I went to Woodstock, I staid with mother." [10/10/1783]. Author's 87-year-old mother still living.

Health: "I was poorly, took puke." [10/8/1783].

Home production: Constant discussion of weaving done in home by author and her family. Also discusses cooking, animals butchered, etc.

Work outside home: In transcribed portion of diary, notes "I begun to keep school" on June 4 1770 and December 6 1773.

Food and drink: Frequent mention of meals such as "Had fish for dinner" [4/26/1775] or "Baked fryed pancakes for breakfast." [4/29/1775]. "I churnd made cheese baked & brewed" [6/14/1775].

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-C

Collection title: Zerviah (Sanger) Chapman Diary

Location within the collection:

Size: 8 1/2" x 7"

Condition: Fair. Not bound, some entries illegible, but generally readable.

Provenance: Unknown

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, August 1999


"Chapman Family: Stephen Chapman Genealogy", in RIHS Genealogical Manuscripts, under the care of the Printed Collection.

Potter, Frank Elwood. Descendants of Nicholas Potter (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1991), 28.

Subject headings:

Arnold, Simeon (1736-1820)

Cottage industries - Rhode Island - Warwick

Diaries - 1775-1783

Textile industry - Rhode Island - Warwick

Notes on the Caroline L. (Herreshoff) Chesebrough Diary

Entries dated 1853 to 1855


Name at birth: Herreshoff, Caroline Louisa

Name after marriage: Chesebrough, Caroline L. (Herreshoff)

Birthdate and place: February 27, 1839, Bristol, R.I.

Death date and place: 1924

Age range during diary: 18, 20

Residence during diary: Bristol, R.I. (Point Pleasant)

Places written: Bristol, R.I.

Biographical note: Daughter of country gentleman. Married an ailing Civil War veteran who died ten years later; she lived most of her life as a widow.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Baptist?

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 28 pages

Exact dates: 4/10 - 5/8/1853, 8/15 - 8/18/1853, 5/29/1855

Frequency of entries: Sporadic

How was author identified?: Donated with Herreshoff Papers; internal evidence suggests daughter of C.F.H. II, and Caroline is only one that fits.

Brief description: Brief diary of young Bristol woman.

Writing quality: Good, fairly descriptive.

Utility for research: Not really long enough to be of very much value.

Related papers at RIHS: Extensive collection of Herreshoff-Lewis Family Papers (MSS 487)

Family members:

Father's name: Herreshoff, Charles F. II

Father's dates: b.1809

Father's occupation: Farmer

Mother's name: Lewis, Julia Ann

Mother's dates: 1811-1901

Brothers: James B. (1834), Charles F. III (1839), John B. (1841), Lewis (1844), Nathanael G. (1848), J.B.F. (1850), Julian L. (1854)

Sisters: Sally B. (1845)

Husband's name: Chesebrough, E. Stanton

Husband's dates: 1841-1875

Husband's occupation: Disabled Civil War veteran

Marriage date and place: August 16, 1866

Father-in-law's name: Chesebrough, Albert G.

Mother-in-law's name: Cobb, Phebe E.

Sons: Albert S. Chesebrough (1868-1916)

Daughters: None

Topical content:

Religious content: Attends church

Social life: "I stayed 6 weeks in Prov where I enjoyed myself very much. Invited out 22 times, excepted 12." [5/29/1855]

Family: Frequent discussion of extended family.

Health: Brother John going blind; "Dr. Briggs has just applied leeched to John's face for his eyes, but they would not take hold." [4/10/1853]

School: Awarded "No. 1 in attendance, deportment, Latin." [4/22/1853].

Home production: Tends garden and sews own clothes.

Labor: Brother "James has been with the railroad surveyors at $1.25 per day." [5/8/1853]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 487 sg 10

Collection title: Herreshoff-Lewis Family Papers

Location within the collection: Box 9, folder 19

Size: 4" x 3"

Condition: Good

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): Diary also available on microfilm as part of the series New England Women and their Families in the 18th and 19th Centuries: Personal Papers, Letters, and Diaries, Series C. The microfilm is filed under catalog number HQ1438 .R45, Part 2, Reels 24 and 25

Provenance: 1970. 122. 1. 1-, gift of Norman Herreshoff

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read in entirety.


The Chad Brown Workbook: A Continuing Workbook of the Descendants of Chad Brown, 2nd ed. (R.I. Historical Society, 1987).

Subject headings:

Bristol, R.I. - Social life and customs

Diaries - 1853-1855

Notes on the Ida M. Clarke Diary

Entries dated 1869 to 1879


Name at birth: Clarke, Ida M.

Birthdate and place: August 25, 1853, Newport, RI

Death date and place: November 22, 1886, Newport, RI

Age range during diary: 15 - 16

Residence during diary: 13 Tew's Court, Newport, RI

Places written: Newport, RI

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Unknown

Social class: Working-middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 365

Exact dates: May 18 - October 18 1869, with very sporadic entries from August 20 1873 to June 20 1879

Frequency of entries: Daily in 1869; very sporadic and out of order, 1873-1879.

How was author identified?: Signed inside cover. "Bristol, R.I." is written in a different hand, and is certainly incorrect.

Brief description: Life of a semi-invalid girl in working-class family who does knitting to bring in extra money.

Writing quality: Fair. Very little punctuation and limited vocabulary.

Related papers at RIHS: None known

Family members:

Father's name: Clarke, James

Father's dates: 1810-1886

Father's occupation: Ropemaker and watchman, of Newport, RI

Mother's name: Smith, Ann

Mother's dates: 1810-1887

Brothers: James (b.ca.1832), William (b.ca.1837), John (b.ca.1842)

Sisters: Mary C. (b.ca.1840, m. John B. Durfee, 1867?), Ann M. (mentally handicapped) (b.ca.1846)

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: Uncle Joseph Smith, b.ca. 1805, who lived next door [6/10/1869]

Topical content:

Events discussed: "Well today is a day never to be forgotten and I shall call it the September Gail... Oh! The wind has blown down trees and the steeple and chimneys and there was such a time." [9/8/1869].

Religious content: Does not mention attending church; no religious meditations.

Social life: "I went to the fare [fair]. James came for me, I went, and Liz got me into a scrape the first thing and I made her get me out. She did and I went round a little while with Annie Thurston then I went with Sarah and had some candy and cake and ice cream. It was real nice." [8/4/1869] Last entry in diary: "I don't feel pleased with myself or any one else but hope I shall soon." [6/20/1879, written on 11/3/1869 page]

Family: "Mummy came up today. Oh, what a day it has been. Nothing but rows all day." [8/6/1869]

Health: "If Willie was here and I could walk, I should be very happy indeed." [6/1/1869, written on 6/3/1869 page]. "I had a letter from my old Dr. and he is coming to get me well and I hope he will." [7/3/1869] "I had a new plaster on my leg and I looked at it and there was a blue bump. Mother said it would brake. I did not know what to think." [8/15/1869] "This morning I waked up and found that my leg had broke." [8/16/1869] "Today I made the attempt and succeeded in comeing down one pair of stairs." [8/18/1869] "I have got another place on my leg that looks as if it would brake." [9/6/1869]. "Well, now I can walk, and I don't think I have, or do, or go, any more than what I earn." [5/31/1874, on first page] "I can walk and have walked 4 years." [6/20/1879, on first page.] Later died of "hip joint disease" in 1886.

Home production: "Mother West came here tonight... She said she had some work for me, I hope she has. If I can do it, she told me to come up." [5/24/1869] "Mother West was here tonight and brought me some cuffs to make. She gave me some peanuts. I love her very much." [5/26/1869] "Well I had to live up stairs today and I made almost a yard of tatting [a type of lace]." [7/1/1869] "Today I have been real smart. I have made a whole yard of tatting today and sewed too and I think that was pretty well for an invalid." [9/6/1869]

Food and drink: Recipe for spring cake entered under January 1.

Gender relations: "Joe wanted me to have some milk tonight told me to come and drink. I want to see him again. He ain't worth seeing that is I don't think so." [5/22/1869] "I have not spoken to Joe yet. It is to bad but I can't help it he might have behaved himself. I am sorry, very sorry but it can't be helped now." [5/24/1869] "I had a talk with Joe and he is ever so much better I think. He is sick he says. I am sorry he is sick but it is for some good purpose I suppose. He is going to try to be better and I think he will." [5/30/1869] "Joe moved I am sorry for that for he is gay. I guess he will come to see us some times though." [6/4/1869] "Joe is more respectful than before. Oh, if only he would be good." [6/9/1869] "I saw Tommy today and he looks beautiful. He is a very handsome boy, I think. Oh, I am so sick." [6/21/1869]. "Joe went by with a pipe in his mouth and it grieved me to the heart." [7/8/1869] "I saw Tommy a few minutes and that was very nice. He is so pleasant. I love him very much." [7/24/1869] "I saw Tommy. There is but few I like or think so much of as I do of Tommy." [8/10/1869] (note reads: "Tommy Garner on State Street) "My dearest Tommy was here today. He is so funny, he told me a dreadful story. He is a real honest boy, though, for he couldn't go without telling me it was a story. He is a dove." [8/23/1869] "Ala says she saw Tommy and he said he wasn't my fellow, but I shan't die if he ain't. I didn't expect he was. I am sure but I do know who is if he don't." [9/25/1869]

Arts and culture: "Well today is the capper. I had the one wish of my life gratified. I had a Melodian and I do take comfort with it, but I am going to have a better one." [7/29/1869]

Travel: "I had to come home in a hack, but hope I never shall again." [5/19/1869]

Geographical and architectural: "Went down the new road, it is a splendid drive." [8/21/1869]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-C

Collection title: Ida M. Clarke Diary

Location within the collection:

Size: 3" x 2"

Condition: Good

Provenance: 2000. 40, purchased from Ralph Petrucci

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, July 2000


Newport directories

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Rhode Island death records, 1886, page 591 and 594; and 1887, page 547

1850 U.S. Census, Newport, page 374

1865 R.I. Census, volume 14, page 267

1870 U.S. Census, Newport Ward 4, page 480

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1869

Handicapped - Employment - Rhode Island - Newport

Lace and lace making - Rhode Island - Newport

Newport, R.I. - Social life and customs

Textile crafts - Rhode Island - Newport

Notes on the Caroline (Updike) Eddy Diary

Entries dated 1904 to 1904


Name at birth: Eddy, Caroline (Updike)

Name after marriage: Collins, Caroline Updike (Eddy)

Birthdate and place: July 13, 1884, Providence, RI

Death date and place: 1969, Providence, RI

Age range during diary: 20

Residence during diary: 182 Bowen St., Providence, RI

Places written: Providence, R.I.

Biographical note: Caroline Updike Eddy was born in Providence to Wilkins and Abigail (Watson) Updike. She attended the RI School of Design and married Clarkson A. Collins, Jr. on April 27, 1910.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Social class: Upper class

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: approximately 200

Exact dates: Jamuary 1 - December 31 1904

Frequency of entries: Infrequently from January to May; daily through the end of July; sporadic in August; then daily again through December

How was author identified?: Name indicated on first page of diary.

Brief description: This diary describes Caroline Updike Eddy's everyday life in 1904. She details her social life, the weather, and the meeting and dating of her future husband, Clarkson A. Collins, Jr.

Writing quality: Jotting down of notes rather than full sentence passages. Handwriting can be difficult to read.

Utility for research:

Related papers at RIHS: Diary of her sister Aritis Updike (Mss 1065, box 2, folder 45).

Family members:

Father's name: Eddy, Alfred Updike

Father's dates: 1857-1937

Father's occupation: Lawyer and president of two fire insurance companies.

Mother's name: Proctor, Anne C.

Mother's dates: 1859-1936

Brothers: Lawrence (died shortly after birth, 1891)

Sisters: none

Husband's name: Collins, Clarkson A. Jr.

Husband's dates: 1884-1941

Marriage date and place: April 27, 1910

Father-in-law's name: Collins, Clarkson Abel

Father-in-law's dates: 1853-1931

Mother-in-law's name: Loomis, Letta

Mother-in-law's dates: 1853-1931

Sons: Alfred Updike (b. 1913); Clarkson A. III (1911-1972)

Daughters: none

Other persons frequently mentioned: Edith; Phillip; Martha; Florence; Clarkson Collins

Topical content:

Religious content: "Church with Edith. awful sermon. poor little preacher! He'll have a hard life." [7/3/1904] "To Chapel [West Point] in a.m. interesting sermon." [7/17/1904] "Church of the Paulist Fathers - good music and interesting sermon - man believed in an absolute - powerful devil." [10/30/1904] "C. Collins came at four - Tea - animated discussion about religion - Buddhism in particular." [11/11/1904].

Social life: "Florence stayed until 10 o'clock. Went to Mays. Missed F. In afternoon played bridge with B. Aldrich" [5/6/1904] "Sailing all the morning with the Aldriches." [7/4/1904]

Health: "Bad cold and suffering great snuffles." [6/19/1904]

School: "My first day at the School of Design." [10/17/1904]

Home production: "Sewed at Ediths in morning - too tired to do anything else." [5/10/1904]

Food and drink: "Made fudge and had tea." [9/16/1904]

Community: "Ball game with Phillip in p.m. Brown 1-0 Dartmouth. Rah!" [5/14/1904]

Gender relations: "on my way home C Collins met me - asked me to go over to Howard Ave with him on an errand - walked both ways. Like him so much." [10/24/1904] "had a date with C. Collins. C.C. at half past four. very attractive." [10/25/1904]

Arts and culture: "In evening went to first outdoor concert at college with Phillip - such a good time." [5/11/1904] "Last music lesson today:" [6/16/1904] "Cotillion in evening." [12/31/1904]

Travel: "Went to Saunderstown at 2:15 got there and sailed across to Dutch Island" [5/28/1904] "Sailed to Narragansett in a.m." [5/29/1904] "Started for Cambridge at 11.3." [6/18/1904]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 1065

Collection title: Alfred U. Collins Family Papers

Location within the collection: Box 2, folder 27

Size: 3" x 5"

Condition: Excellent

Graphic content: Clipping depicting a piece of artwork that could be ordered.

Provenance: 2002. 47. 1. 1-, gift of Eliza Collins, daughter of Alfred Updike Collins.

Cataloged by Lori Salotto, February 2001


Opdyke, Charles Wilson. OpDyck Genealogy, 118-124. Albany, New York: Week, Parsons & Company, 1889.

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:

Collins, Clarkson A Jr. (1884-1941)

Diaries, 1904

Providence, RI - Social life and customs

Notes on the Alice (Greene) Comstock Diary

Entries dated 1897 to 1897


Name at birth: Greene, Alice

Name after marriage: Comstock, Alice (Greene)

Birthdate and place: November 2, 1857, Providence

Death date and place: March 19, 1938, Providence

Age range during diary: 39-40

Residence during diary: 76 Humboldt Ave., Providence, R.I. (East Side).

Places written: Providence, R.I. Spent July and August in summer home in Seaconnet (Little Compton, R.I.)

Biographical note: Daughter of a prominent Brown professor, she lived in Providence, married a successful lawyer, raised three daughters and lived a quiet domestic life.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Baptist

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 183 pages of diary

Exact dates: 1/1/1897 - 12/31/1897

Frequency of entries: Daily (preprinted pocket diary), plus account book, address book, list of visits made, list of correspondence, and other memoranda

How was author identified?: Signed on front page.

Writing quality: Plain but very good.

Utility for research: Not very exciting, but a very competent chronicle of daily family life, health problems, clubs and leisure activity.

Related papers at RIHS: Papers of Comstock in-laws in MSS 169, the Comstock Papers, but nothing directly relevant.

Family members:

Father's name: Greene, Samuel Stillman

Father's dates: 1810-1883

Father's occupation: Professor of Mathematics and Civil Engineering, Brown University

Mother's name: Bailey, Mary Adeline

Mother's dates: 1825-1907

Brothers: John S. Greene (1860-1935) of Cleveland, Samuel Stuart Greene (1862-1894), half-brother Frank B. Greene of Pennsylvania, Percival Greene (died young)

Sisters: Unknown

Husband's name: Comstock, Richard Borden

Husband's dates: 1854-17 March 23

Husband's occupation: Corporate lawyer, president of R.I. Bar Association

Marriage date and place: July 19, 1883, Providence

Father-in-law's name: Comstock, Joseph J.

Father-in-law's dates: 1811-1868

Father-in-law's occupation: Steamboat captain

Mother-in-law's name: Comstock, Maria S. (Taber) (Cook)

Mother-in-law's dates: 1814-1911

Sons: None

Daughters: Marjorie S. Hart (1884-1939); Louise H. Alden (1886-1945); Alice May Comstock (unmarried) (1890-c.1964)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Marsden J. Perry's "entertainment for children at his house" (John Brown House?) [3/12]. Charles, Harry and Willie Aldrich were frequent visitors; not close relatives of Sen. Aldrich. "Aunty Potter" was Mrs. Eliza E. Potter, professional nurse. Nephew Percival Greene (b.1880) in house for fall college semester; son of her brother Frank. Nephew Gladding Comstock also a Brown freshman and frequent visitor at home. Cook Annie McCarty, arrived 9/16. Maria (Cook) Wing mentioned [9/25].

Topical content:

Events discussed: Major snowstorm [1/29]. Move of husband's law firm to Banigan Building [1/15]. Very little discussion of current events. Husband campaigning for William Baker as mayor [10/28].

Religious content: Regular church-goer, apparently at Union Baptist Church on East St., and occasionally others. Praises Mr. Ewer's "manly sermon" [10/17].

Social life: Accounts of visiting friends, parties, etc. Busy social schedule. Brown University commencement week a big event [6/14]. Many Providence friends summered with them in Little Compton.

Family: Visits from brother John S. Greene [5/23, most of August]

Childhood: Daily account of the activities of her three daughters, aged 6 to 13.

Marriage: Apparently happy marriage to hard-working lawyer. One unusually disheveled entry, though, reads "Dick was out very late tonight politically. In fact he did not get home until 3:00" [10/29].

Aging: Visits with aging mother and mother-in-law.

Health: "The 'grip' is raging in Providence and has been unusually severe." [2/10]; neuralgia in face [2/28]. General accounts of colds and flu. Horrifying dental work [3/20-24, 4/15, 4/26, 7/6, 10/26]. Husband injured face and hand while setting off fireworks [7/5].

School: Children in Miss Bowen's school [9/23]; nephew staying at house while attending Brown University.

Fashion: 34 visits throughout year from dressmaker Mrs. S.B. Horton; list of visits in back of book. New dressmaker, Mme. Thalman [4/13]. Intermittent discussions of clothing. Visit downtown: "In the Boston Store window there is a man dressed up as an owl to advertise the 'Owl Hooks and Eyes'. It is a very good imitation of an owl & the children have enjoyed it." [11/11]

Food and drink: Treated daughter to "ice cream at Tillinghast's" [4/12].

Race / ethnicity content: At birthday party of 11-year-old daughter, 17-year old nephew Percy Greene "dressed up as an old colored woman, came in and told their fortunes and gave out some little presents." [9/28].

Arts and culture: Reading Oliver Twist to the children [1/17], Kenilworth [2/3], etc. Children attend music and dance lessons. Alice and husband attend theater and lectures. "I am trying to make as many words as I can correctly out of the word 'Manufacturers'. There have been prizes offered for the largest lists." [2/13]. Personal reading: McLeod of the Camerons [2/14], Barnaby Rudge ("too frightful, just yet, for the children to read") [2/16], Tatterly [3/7]. Attended baseball game, Brown vs. Princeton [5/8], Brown vs. Harvard [6/16]. Daughters "took a 'wheel' down the [Blackstone] Boulevard." [6/23] Went to "see Miss Parmelee's watercolor exhibit at Mr. Slicer's" in Little Compton [8/7]. Playing tennis through summer in Little Compton, and through much of the fall in Providence. Saw tennis championship in Newport [8/26]. Golf links laid out in field by nephew [9/29 - 10/3]. Children stage a play called "Dr. Cure-all" for family [11/27].

Travel: To summer house in Little Compton for July and August 1897.

Organizations: Hope Club [1/1], Whist Club [1/4], Athletic Club [1/5], Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children [1/22], Euchre Club [2/9], Squantum Club [2/22], Providence Art Club [4/1], "our dear old Chaucer Club" [4/10], husband's college fraternity reunion [5/13-17]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 169

Collection title: Comstock Papers

Location within the collection:

Size: 5" x 3"

Condition: Very good

Provenance: 1974. 72. 1; deposited by Henry Hart Jr. in 1974, probably author's grandson; made a gift by his heirs, 1989.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Did not read in entirety


Comstock, John Adams. A History and Genealogy of the Comstock Family in America (Los Angeles, 1949), p. 242, 360.

Kemble, Harold E. "Comstock Family Papers, 1837-1903" (Unpublished finding aid, 1985).

Subject headings:

Comstock, Richard B. (1854-1923)

Diaries - 1897

Greene, Percival (1880- )

Little Compton, R.I. - Description and travel

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Cynthia A. (Sprague) Congdon Diaries

Entries dated 1841 to 1854


Name at birth: Sprague, Cynthia Anthony

Name after marriage: Congdon, Cynthia A. (Sprague)

Birthdate and place: December 18, 1819

Death date and place: December 25, 1880, East Greenwich, R.I.

Age range during diary: 21-25, 32-34

Residence during diary: East Greenwich, R.I.

Places written: East Greenwich, R.I.

Biographical note: Her mariner father died young, and she was raised by her mother. Though she seems to have been fairly well educated, she worked as a seamstress to help support herself until her marriage to a sea captain. She sailed with her husband on at least one trip to San Francisco.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Methodist [see 3/28/1841]

Social class: Middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 2

Number of pages: 157, 138

Exact dates: February 8 1841 - April 19 1842 and October 27 1844 - February 21 1845; October 6 1852 - January 11 1854.

Regarding the date of the first entry: it clearly reads January, but the following days are numbered sequentially and the next month is March. The entry for the 21st reads "Never was a day in February ushered in with more beauty." Most significantly, her fiancee John Congdon left on a major journey on February 8, which seems to be described on the first page.

Frequency of entries: Almost daily for most of 1841, sporadic through 1845 and in later volume.

How was author identified?: Signed

Brief description: The first volume was kept at home in East Greenwich, and is largely dedicated to her fiancee/husband, who was out at sea. The second volume was kept at sea while traveling aboard her husband's ship to San Francisco. She was traveling with her young son, and addressed the volume to her daughter.

Writing quality: Very good; very personal and detailed.

Utility for research: The second diary is fairly well known as an important source on women at sea. The first diary is excellent in its own way. It is a portrait of life in a seaport town, and the shows the effects on the women left behind. It is also a very early account of a woman working for wages.

Related papers at RIHS: The Congdon Family Papers provide full supporting documentation to these diaries, including diaries of her husband and daughter, and extensive correspondence.

Family members:

Father's name: Sprague, John Jr.

Father's dates: 1784-1822

Father's occupation: Sea captain? Cynthia's gravestone reads "Daughter of Captain John Sprague"

Mother's name: Anthony, Lydia

Mother's dates: 1797-1877 (second wife of John Sprague Jr.)

Brothers: Half-brother John Sprague

Sisters: Half-sisters Polly, Hannah and Eliza Sprague

Husband's name: Congdon, John Remington

Husband's dates: 1820-1863

Husband's occupation: Sea captain

Marriage date and place: March 6, 1842

Father-in-law's name: Congdon, Peleg

Father-in-law's dates: 1784-1862

Father-in-law's occupation: Sea captain

Mother-in-law's name: Remington, Mary

Mother-in-law's dates: 1792-1820, of Warwick

Sons: George Barrell Congdon (1846-1902)

Daughters: Mary Remington (Congdon) (Carstein) Dearstyne (1842-1916). See separate entry.

Other persons frequently mentioned: Mrs. Remington, visited in Apponaug 5/20/1841, was the grandmother of her fiancee.

Topical content:

Events discussed: Interested in temperance after hearing a reformed drunkard lecture; "There is a society formed here consisting of 300 members. There are some reformed drunkards, Eldredge Sweet, Capt. Joseph Spencer John Cornell and others." [1/13/1842]

While at sea, a passing ship informed of the death of Daniel Webster. "So one after another of our great men are being called away from earth, but I trust that others will be raised up who will fill their place, and that the affairs of the nation may be conducted with wisdom and in peace.' [12/19/1852]

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: The first diary would be worth scouring for vital records entries, as there are quite a few. Wedding of Harris Briggs mentioned [3/10/1841], and death of Mrs. Wheeler's baby [3/19/1841], for example. The second diary has less, but the following entry written at Valparaiso, Chile might be of interest: "John visited the burial ground and searched for Isaac Pinnegar's grave, he found it in the Episcopal yard, and in good order, he could read his name and age." The Pinnegars were friends from East Greenwich. [2/4/1853]

Religious content: Deeply religious, especially in times of trouble. "I have not enjoyed the communion with my Heavenly Friend today that I do on some days. I know the reason very well. I have neglected to pray to him as I should. I have thought too much of earth and earthly joys." [2/18/1841] Mentions attending a love feast [2/26/1841]. "I have been reading a Catholic book...there are some things with which of course I cannot say I am satisfied, but I would not by any means condemn the Catholic because he does not believe as I do." [12/26/1852]

Social life: Not much for frivolity. At age 21: "I do not enjoy myself in company as I once did... I had much rather sit down at home in the enjoyment of my thoughts than to go abroad." [2/26/1841] At sea: "Mr. Noyes one of our passengers taught me how to play chess, perhaps I have been wrong in learning, my time, I think might have been better employed. I do not appreciate those games. I think they are more harm than good." [11/30/1852]

Childhood: The sea diary includes descriptions of the activities of her six-year old son George, who was along for the voyage.

Marriage: Reflections a week after her marriage: "Let us never contend, let me always feel that I am the weaker vessel and as such yield my opinion to his. Under all circumstances let me study his happiness and as much as in my power promote it." [3/13/1842]. The first diary was written expressly for John's amusement when he returned from sea voyages. After a long gap in entries, "I am afraid dear husband you will hardly find my Journal worth reading." [2/16/1845]

Health: Troubled throughout diaries by severe headaches.

Work outside home: Worked as a seamstress before marriage, to support herself and her mother. Frequently mentions work done. "Mr. May came down this morning and asked me if I did not want to go in the Mill to warp. Well said I what will you give. He says I wish first to know if it will be an object for me to leave my work. If I was able to work in the factory I should certainly go but as I am not I must be contented with less, and work at my trade notwithstanding my dislike to tailoring. I intended to have taught a school this summer but there are more schools here in the Village now than scholars I should think. I had no one to look out for me in the country, so I shall have to give up my favorite occupation this time but never mind I shall get along well enough. My Heavenly Father will provide for me." [6/1/1841]

Even married and at sea, continued to sew. "I have finished a jacket for George today, I cut it yesterday, so you will see I do some work." [11/17/1852]

Food and drink: "This morning I was making pies in cutting the crust the knife slipped and cut a piece of my thumb it is quite sore I shall learn to be more careful next time." [2/24/1841] Mother was going on a trip and she did not feel fully trained in the kitchen: "I have been very much engaged in cooking today for I do not like to cook very well when Ma is absent I can mix well enough but I do not like to have care of the baking." [3/25/1841]. "Stuffed and baked a fish, it was very good considering it was the first I ever cooked. I had no Ma to ask how it should be done." [3/30/1841]

The sea diary includes frequent accounts of shipboard fare, which doesn't sound half bad. "We have had dinner, and it consisted of boiled beef and pork potatoes and squash, a nice pudding which we have every Sundy." [11/14/1852] "A fine Porpoise was caught last night. We had some of it cooked today for dinner. The fried liver tasted much like Hog's liver, and the meat like a wild duck." [12/27/1852]

Race / ethnicity content: "Ma went to the schoolhouse to a Negro meeting" (presumably Abolitionist) [2/27/1841]. "I am going to the Indians meeting this PM... Heard the Indians preach again, the house was crowded I do not think I seen such an assemblage since I visited the Masonic Hall. They talked extremely well and it was really wonderful to hear them speak of the Bible and bring forward their illustrations. Ignorant and unlearned as they were, one of them could not read a word he was the best speaker and one to have heard him would have supposed him well versed in the language of scripture." [3/21/1841]

Labor: While returning on ship to Rhode Island, "Our crew were all discharged at Callao [Peru] and we shiped a crew to go down to the islands for less wages." [7/12/1853]

Class relations: Describes a visit from a Mrs. Howland Greene, who "was obliged to work last spring and summer out of doors and in the house too for there was no one to do anything but herself poor woman. I pitied her very much. In their younger days when they were able to work they lived in ease and affluence, now that they have grown old they are obliged to work hard for the necessaries of life. I think I had rather work all my days than to be in the possession of such riches and then be reduced to poverty. I can almost say blessed be nothing." [2/24/1841]

Gender relations: The first diary opens with an account of intense mourning, apparently relating to the death of a friend named John. She spends several days crying almost continuously. On closer inspection, it refers to her future husband John, who had not died, but had just left as second mate on a ship bound for India. "Oh my father, preserve him from temptation... Impart to him thy strength that he may be enable to resist evil of every kind." [2/8/1841] Had an encouraging chat with the wife of a sailor, who said the loneliness is not as bad when married; "Strange! how differently people talk on this subject." [2/27/1841] First letter from John [1/29/1842].

Arts and culture: "This eve went the Lyceum... The subject was Transcendentalism. I was much interested but I have no time to comment." [1/10/1842]

Travel: The second diary is written at sea as a passenger on the bark Hannah Thornton, captained by her husband, from East Greenwich to San Francisco. Off the eastern coast of South America near the Equator, "saw a funny looking boat this morning, it made of spars lashed together with one sail. They are fishing boats... We saw four men on her and saw haul in fish very plain. I was very much amused for altogether it was the funniest looking thing I ever saw." [11/25/1852] Two sharks caught and cooked [12/15/1852]. Went ashore at Valparaiso, Chile, where the passengers and crew all got drunk, to the author's distaste. [2/4-8/1853] Arrived San Francisco 4/5/1853; good description of town. [5/1/1853]. On return trip, stopped at Callao and Pisco, Peru; long description of a picnic on the nearby barren Chincha Islands and visit to mainland towns. Apparently spent two months there. [7/17/1853] Arrived back in Rhode Island January 1854.

Geographical and architectural: "Thursday morning the store Pirce and company was burned to the ground the cry of fire alarmed me very much." [1/19/1845]. Discussion of husband's family lands and plans to build a house. [2/16/1845].

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 363

Collection title: Congdon Family Papers

Location within the collection: Box 2, folders 18-19

Size: 8" x 7", 6" x 4"

Condition: Good

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): Diaries also available on microfilm as part of the series New England Women and their Families in the 18th and 19th Centuries: Personal Papers, Letters, and Diaries, Series C. The Congdon family microfilm is filed under catalog number HQ1438 .R45, Part 2, Reels 1-9.

Provenance: 1964. 66. 1-, purchased as part of the Congdon Family Papers from dealer Cedric Robinson.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read February 1841; 1842-1845, all of 1852-1854.


Skillkin, Rebecca C. "Calendar of the Congdon Family Papers in the Rhode Island Historical Society" (Unpublished typescript, 1966).

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1841-1854

East Greenwich, R.I. - Social life and customs

Hannah Thornton (bark)

San Francisco, Cal. - Description and travel

South America - Description and travel

Sprague, Lydia (Anthony) (1794-1877)

Textile crafts - Rhode Island - East Greenwich

Notes on the Lucia G. (Moses) Cook Diaries

Entries dated 1898 to 1920


Name at birth: Moses, Lucia Gray

Name after marriage: Cook, Lucia G. (Moses)

Birthdate and place: Circa 1854, at sea

Death date and place: Between 1920 and 1928

Age range during diary: 44 - 65

Residence during diary: Woonsocket, RI

Places written: Woonsocket; Digby, Nova Scotia.

Biographical note: Raised in New Hampshire, married a Woonsocket banker, and raised two children there.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Social class: Upper-middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 85

Exact dates: September 23 1898 to January 1 1920

Frequency of entries: Very irregular - perhaps two or three entries per year.

How was author identified?: Label on front cover

Brief description: Describes the diary herself as "My special occasions diary . . . a record, not of every day's trivial round, but the events in each year which most express the general tenor of our lives." Most entries are retrospective, covering the events of the past several months.

Writing quality: Generally good, although the handwriting is somewhat difficult.

Related papers at RIHS: Letter written by Lucia to her grandmother, 1868, inserted in diary.

Family members:

Father's name: Moses, Lucius M.

Father's occupation: Ship captain, born New Hampshire, died Chicago. Married 2nd: Adeline Gower.

Mother's name: Titcomb, Mary W.

Mother's dates: 1825-1861

Brothers: Thomas G. Moses (1856-), Frank D. Moses (1858-), Kirke W. Moses (1871-) (half-brother), Walter F. Moses (1874- ) (half-brother)

Sisters: Illinois Mary (according to genealogy)

Husband's name: Cook, Samuel P.

Husband's dates: 1852-1928

Husband's occupation: President, Producers National Bank of Woonsocket

Marriage date and place: January 31 1883, Boston

Father-in-law's name: Cook, Ariel L.

Father-in-law's dates: 1823-1886

Mother-in-law's name: Phillips, Mary H.

Mother-in-law's dates: d.1917

Sons: Theodore Phillips Cook (1884-)

Daughters: Gertrude N. Cook (1886-, m. Smith?)

Topical content:

Events discussed: "On this day the awful world war ended, peace was declared! Banks, schools, mills, shops closed, and a joyous pandemonium reigned all day! The awful strain ended. Everyone relaxed!" [11/11/1918]

Social life: On 12/31/1910, "I gave a tea, to which I invited 204 people! Every morning, I was up at five, writing my invitations, and arranging my house. I had a caterer from Providence, and Raia the harpist... People were kind enough to say the affair was a great success." [4/1910]

Family: On Christmas, "Cousin Theodore was an unexpected but welcome guest... Cousin Theodore spent a week, and left us, as he always does, the richer for the visit, for his outlook on life is broad and uplifting." [12/25/1898] "I sat before the blazing open fire and read a bundle of my mother's letter, which Tom sent me. They were written fifty years ago, and I am selfish enough to wish they were going to be mine." [1/1903] Trouble with mother-in-law: "Mrs. Cook came to make her home with us... Right after X-Mas we began doing over what was my maid's room for a room for Mrs. Cook.... The winter from then on was hell, no less. My children will know this and if this record falls into other hands I do not care... Mrs. Cook never liked me, and it is the irony of fate that she should have to end her days with me - only I am convinced that I should go first. But one lives through a great deal!" [10/1909] "Mrs. Cook spent the month with Ida Lord. For this relief, much thanks." [1/1915] Death of mother-in-law on 2/26/1917 [4/12/1917].

Childhood: "Theodore and Gertrude were the best-looking children there - the best - but if they only fulfill the promise of their youth!" [9/13/1903]

Marriage: "My twenty-fifth wedding anniversary! Does anyone who has had a happy married life ever realize how the years slip away like summer clouds!" [1/31/1908]

Health: Lengthy description of diseased glands under daughter's arm (possibly caused by vaccination) which resisted three operations and took several months to heal, interrupting her freshman year of college. [5/1905]

School: "In August Sam and I decided after grave deliberation to send Theodore to Phillips-Exeter. our chief reason being his lack of self-reliance." [11/1901] Sends daughter Gertrude to Wellesley College so she can continue her music studies with Mrs. Hamilton. [9/1904] Theodore's graduation from Exeter "the very happiest week of my life." [5/1905] Daughter graduates from Wellesley. [4/1911]

Class relations: Trouble with an inexperienced servant: "I had under my elastic roof at one time Tom and Ella, Louise Greene, Horace Holden. Then Ernest Greene and Louise visited me, and they made the welkin ring. It was very hot, and I had a green Norwegian, but I somehow managed." [6/1906] "The first of November, the axe fell. Mary Dooley, after living here three years, and serving good meals, garnished by a bad temper and lies, departed to live at the Donahoes and cook. With her went domestic peace. From the first of November until the first of June a procession of imbeciles, idiots and incompetents passed through my kitchen - seven in all. Most of the time I was my own chief cook and bottle washer." [9/1912] "In May I made my usual visit to Dover: when I returned Polish Sofie gave her notice to earn $25 a week in a factory!" [11/11/1918]

Travel: Circa May 1898, "I began to agitate the question of Sam's going to England. After his many years of faithful service in the bank he badly needed a change of thought and scene. He needed a great deal of persuasion before he could be induced to go." [9/23/1898] Visits Ogunquit Beach in Maine 8/1900 [11/1900]. Spends a few weeks in Digby, Nova Scotia at second family home called "Bleakside" late each summer.

Geographical and architectural: "We had our first X-Mas celebration in the new house." [12/25/1898] "Every year I realize more and more that, though transplanted, my roots are deep in New Hampshire soil." [7/1901] Describes minor house renovations. [5/1902]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-C

Collection title: Lucia G. (Moses) Cook Diaries

Location within the collection:

Size: 10" x 8"

Condition: Excellent

Graphic content: 1920 photograph of Nova Scotia home after final entry.

Provenance: 2002. 43. 2, gift of L.H. Strickland

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, July 2002


Moses, Zebina. Historical Sketches of John Moses of Plymouth..., 219. Hartford: Casey, Lockwood & Brainard, 1890

Woonsocket directories, 1920-1928

1920 U.S. Census, Rhode Island E.D. 336, page 11

Subject headings:

Nova Scotia - Description and travel

Woonsocket, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Sarah Crawford Cook Diaries

Entries dated 1809 to 1817


Name at birth: Cook, Sarah Crawford

Birthdate and place: January 30, 1796

Death date and place: 1882

Age range during diary: 13-21

Residence during diary: Providence, R.I. (various locations)

Places written: Providence, R.I.

Biographical note: Only child of a sea captain and a mentally ill woman, she spent much of her adolescence shuttling between various homes. She never married, eventually succumbed to mental illness herself, and spent most of her long life in the care of relatives in Warwick.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Congregationalist?

Social class: Middle? Apparently the poor cousin of the social elite.

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 30

Exact dates: March 16 1809 - May 3 1817

Frequency of entries: Very sporadic

How was author identified?: Identified by transcriber.

Brief description: Brief entries detailing the nomadic life of a teenaged girl without an immediate family.

Writing quality: Brief entries, but readable.

Utility for research: Despite its sketchy nature, this diary might be valuable to someone exploring class boundaries or mental health.

Related papers at RIHS: No papers of close relatives, though many of her social acquaintances are well documented, including cousin Zachariah Allen.

Family members:

Father's name: Cook, Joseph Bernon

Father's dates: b.1765

Father's occupation: Merchant

Mother's name: Allen, Abigail

Brothers: Four, all died in infancy

Sisters: None

Husband's name: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: Cousin Zachariah Allen: "Took dinner with cousin Candace Allen, much gratified by her kindness. Cousin Zachariah gallanted me home." [4/6/1813] Mentioned several other times, including his departure on honeymoon in "Southern W & W states" [5/3/1817].

Topical content:

Events discussed: "Embargoe of 18 months duration totally repealed - guns were fired bells rung & companies paraded in honour of the day." [6/10/1809] "The most dismal rainy day I ever saw. War declared between Great Britain & America - the bells tolled mournfully all day." [6/25/1812] Long account of the famous Great Gale of 1815; "marveled at the upright appearance of a sloop before the front door of a handsome house." [9/23/1815]

Births, deaths, marriages mentioned: Burial of grandfather Amos Allen. [10/1/1810] Marriage of Walter R. Danforth and Elizabeth Ann Carter [6/12/1811]. Death of Miss Balch's mother. [7/24/1811] "Miss Elizabeth Chandler daughter of Benjm J.C. born 10 minutes before 12, her cousin Mary (Lemuel's daughter) 21 hours previous." [3/25/1813] Funeral of Mrs. Patience Carpenter. [5/14/1813] Mr. Fiske's death. [9/30/1813] Mr. P. Allen married Miss Phebe Aborn" [1/4/1814] "Dr. Troop expired last night in an apolectic fit." [4/14/1814] "Aunt Troop departed this life at 6 morn."[10/12/1814] "My kind benevolent host Mr. B.J. Chandler expired. Residing in his family some time, I have become attached to his virtues." [1/23/1815] "Capt. J[enckes?] vessel was wrecked in a violent gale of wind & he & 2 others were drowned. Afflicting news to his wife and 4 children." [9/2/1815] Death of an un-named aunt. [1/13/1817]

Religious content: Occasional mention of church attendance. On witnessing her first death, noted "O the pains of the body are naught in comparison to those of a guilty mind." [7/24/1811]

Social life: Notes occasional visits and parties. "Drank tea with Miss A. Hill, engaged in a game of cards the first time in my life." [10/13/1813]

Family: "I sincerely hope that...I shall be able to assist in making our family enjoy more happiness than they lately have done. How or which way I know not at present, but will do my best endeavor in that which may be pointed out." [1/30/1812]

Childhood: Memoir of a fairly depressing childhood, though the writing is upbeat.

Health: According to penciled notes written by a relative at a much later date, after Sarah's mother became "partially deprived of her reason the family was dissolved". Sarah was partially raised by relatives in Warwick while her father was away at sea, and then placed a succession of Providence boarding schools and relative's homes. "Mother's health declining, Father carried her to Uncle Allen's." [3/5/1810] Four days later, "Mr. Richardson took possession of the house and I entered Miss Balch's family." [3/9/1810] "Dined with Mr. Benjamin J. Chandler for the first time, who took possession of he house & with whom I am to board." [8/4/1812] "Visited mother at Mr. Joel Aldriche's Smithfield." [9/16/1812] "It pleased Miss A[llen?] to give me a home until the last of May. I endeavored to assist her and conduct myself toward her with the gratitude a child shows a parent" [12/25/1815] "In Mrs. Jenckes family." [6/1816] "Mrs. Jenckes moved over the bridge & changed lodgings to Miss Balch's." [1/25/1817]

According to notes in the diary, Sarah also "became deranged in mind (like her mother)... She would not take off her bonnet, wanted to wear it in the house. Also her mitts on her hands". The notes also explain that either Sarah or her mother spent time in the care of pioneering mental health practitioner Samuel Willard of Uxbridge, who "had enough eccentricities of his own, to have some understanding of those who had gone one jump beyond him."

School: "Commenced a year's tuition at Mr. Rawson's academy." [5/7/1810] "Began two 2 yrs tuition of dancing at Mr. Guigon." [11/7/1811]

Fashion: Apparently could not afford material for fine clothing: "Miss P.A. was so kind and considerate as to present me with some muslin for a frock as I was invited to a good many parties." [1/30/1814]

Food and drink: Party at Pomham; "dined on chowder shellfish". [8/21/1813]

Labor: "Father employed in Mr. P. Allen's Factory that is to say to superintend the work people." [8/25/1813]

Gender relations: "Went to a ball at Mr. Bullock's in Rehoboth gallanted by Mr. Peter Taylor. The first and the last." [2/21/1814]

Progress: Trip to Barrington: "Visited the salt works on the shore. The water is pumped into pans of a hundred feet in length. The salt collects on the top by the action of sun & settles at night." [7/17/1813]

Geographical and architectural: "The New Light steeple so called was torn down with the intention of building a new house for Mr. Wilson who is a congregationalist." [3/16/1809] "The new church was dedicated". [6/11/1811] "1 Congre'l M. House destroyed by fire. All the furniture removed out of the house which providentially did not take fire." [6/14/1814]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-C

Collection title: Sarah Crawford Cook Diary

Location within the collection:

Size: 8" x 7"

Condition: Good

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): The R.I.H.S. only has a manuscript transcription, apparently done circa 1880. The diary was published and annotated in Rhode Island History 57:3 (August/November 1997) as part of Jane Lancaster's article, "By the Pens of Females," pages 86-97.

Provenance: 1982. 116, gift of Mrs. Elizabeth Taggart.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read in entirety


A family bible transcription and other notes found in the front of the diary were the only sources used to trace her family.

Subject headings:

Allen family

Chandler family

Diaries - 1809-1817

Mental illness - Rhode Island - Providence

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Laura Gertrude (Smith) Cornelius Diary

Entries dated 1926 to 1926


Name at birth: Smith, Laura Gertrude

Name after marriage: Cornelius, Laura Gertrude (Smith)

Birthdate and place: February 8 1882, Ponca Agency, OK

Death date and place: January 13 1954, Oklahoma City, OK

Age range during diary: 44

Residence during diary: Oklahoma

Places written: Chicago and Evansville, Ill.

Biographical note: Nearly a lifelong resident of Oklahoma, father was a federal agent on an Indian reservation. Thought to be the first white native Oklahoman to graduate from an accredited high school in Oklahoma, in 1901. Married and had two children in Wisconsin, divorced in 1910 and worked in the legal department of an Oklahoma railroad company from 1913 onward.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Episcopalian

Social class: Upper-middle

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 29

Exact dates: June 18 to June 30 1926

Frequency of entries: Daily

How was author identified?: Identification only 95% certain. Found with Tilley family papers; writes of visiting "Mildred" in Chicago, which fits biography of Mildred (Cornelius) Tilley. Also visits Harvey Dever and future wife Helen Nordstrum there; Harvey was one of Gertrude's two nephews. Tone of diary sounds as though it was written by Mildred's mother. Visits Chicago Public Library to read The Oklahoman. Handwriting matches genealogical notes apparently compiled by Gertrude Cornelius around the same period (box 2, folder 12).

Brief description: Short but descriptive diary by Oklahoma woman visiting her young daughter in Chicago.

Writing quality: Excellent

Utility for research: Good for description of Chicago, but the only Rhode Island connection is that the daughter later settled in Rhode Island in 1947.

Related papers at RIHS: Lawrence & Mildred Tilley Papers include a folder of related genealogical notes, folders on Mrs. Cornelius' divorce and estate, and extensive papers of her daughter and son-in-law.

Family members:

Father's name: Smith, Kendall F.

Father's dates: 1850-1904

Father's occupation: Indian agent

Mother's name: Cline, Amanda J.

Mother's dates: 1860-

Brothers: None

Sisters: Ora May (Smith) Dever (1879-1978)

Husband's name: Cornelius, Chester P.

Husband's dates: -1933

Husband's occupation: Oil speculator?

Marriage date and place: Divorced in 1910

Sons: None

Daughters: Mildred (Cornelius) Tilley (1902-1990), then a recent graduate of the University of Kansas ("K.U.")

Other persons frequently mentioned: Nephew Harvey K. Dever, M.D., and his future wife Helen Nordstrum. Describes Evanston home of Vice President Charles G. Dawes (1865-1951) at length, 6/24/1926. "Mrs. Robbins was formerly a settlement worker & she said she had seen Jane Adams many times & has promised to take me to Hull House & if Miss Adams is in the city that I shall meet her." [6/29/1926]

Topical content:

Events discussed: Describes at great length a reception for Swedish crown prince Gustav VI Adolf, 6/25/1926

Religious content: Describes large Eucharistic Congress in Chicago, 6/23/1926.

Food and drink: Frequent mention of home and restaurant meals in Chicago, 1926.

Race / ethnicity content: Visit to "the Chinese Theater, where we heard Chinese opera. This is a rare treat. One feels as tho you are in a foreign country... We were the only white people in the audience." [6/29/1926]

Arts and culture: Frequent mention of movies and orchestras seen in Chicago, 1926.

Travel: Excellent descriptions of Chicago in 1926.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 1025

Collection title: Lawrence E. and Mildred C. Tilley Papers

Location within the collection: Box 2, folder 28

Size: 7" x 5"

Condition: Good

Graphic content: Cover features pen sketch of a flapper

Provenance: 1998. 44. 1. 1-, gift of Lawrence Tilley

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, September 2002

Notes on the Lucy D. Carpenter Diary

Entries dated 1883 to 1883


Name at birth: Carpenter, Lucy Daniels

Name after marriage: Cushman, Lucy D. (Carpenter)

Birthdate and place: December 14, 1861

Death date and place: March 6, 1942, Providence, R.I.

Age range during diary: 21-22

Residence during diary: 47 Richmond St., Providence, R.I.

Places written: Providence, R.I. A couple of entries at summer cottage at "Halsey Farm", apparently near Worcester, Mass.

Biographical note: Unmarried singer and voice teacher until age 42, when she married the pastor of her family's Universalist Church. She also served as the superintendent of the parish Sunday School.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Universalist

Social class: Middle - upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 32

Exact dates: January 1 - December 31, 1883

Frequency of entries: In her words, "I do not expect to write every day but only when I have the opportunity or some unusual event occurs." [1/1/1883]

How was author identified?: Signed

Brief description: Sporadic but detailed account of the life of a young singer.

Writing quality: Very good, and sometimes admirably blunt. Entries are sporadic, but attempt to catch up on the intervening events.

Utility for research: This diary is a good resource on Gilded Age vocal music, and life in Providence in general; it is not as long as we might wish, however.

Related papers at RIHS: Charles E. Carpenter Papers (MSS 331), including ice manufacturing records and 22 of her father's diaries. Sarah B. Bullock Diaries (MSS 65): 52 diaries by her brother-in-law's sister. First Universalist Church Records (MSS 420).

Family members:

Father's name: Carpenter, Charles Earl

Father's dates: 1824-1898

Father's occupation: Ice manufacturer and state legislator; not to be confused with prominent architect Charles Edmund Carpenter (b.1845)

Mother's name: Greene, Adeline F.

Mother's dates: 1830-1911

Brothers: Albert G. Carpenter (1851-1902)

Sisters: Emma C. (Carpenter) Bullock (1858-1948), wife of Sam H. Bullock

Husband's name: Cushman, Henry Irving

Husband's dates: b.1844, Orford, N.H.

Husband's occupation: Pastor, First Universalist Church. Previously married to Emily E. Gilman (1849-1895), with 3 surviving children.

Marriage date and place: July 27, 1904, Providence, R.I.

Father-in-law's name: Cushman, Hartwell C.

Father-in-law's dates: b.1809

Mother-in-law's name: Earl, Mary Ann

Mother-in-law's dates: d.1890

Sons: None

Daughters: None

Other persons frequently mentioned: Niece Abby Bullock. Brother-in-law's sister Sarah Bullock [mentioned 9/13/1883]. "Mr. Cushman" was even then the pastor of her church, and the man she would marry twenty years later; Lucy's mother was involved in caring for Mr. Cushman's sick wife [1/9, 1/14/1883]. Miss Lucy Garlin was the leader of her quartet in Boston.

Topical content:

Events discussed: The adoption of standard time: "It seems rather strange to set our clocks and watches back but as almost all cities and homes are doing so it is best probably to conform." [11/20/1883]

Religious content: Very active in First Universalist Church, where her father was Sunday School Superintendent. Not much spiritual musing except for one entry expressing thanks for health of family, hoping "May we serve Him better." [12/14/1883] Also a New Year's pledge to "conquer our difficulties and be more and more patterned after our Master Jesus Christ." [12/31/1883]

Family: Apparently lives with parents, and sister's family; frequently sees brother's family.

Childhood: Helps raise niece Abby Bullock; "Abby is a constant source of interest with us and it is indeed a pleasure to have the dear good little girl developing under our eye. She is a remarkably good child and, though now cutting her eye teeth, is very little trouble..." [12/14/1883]

Health: "My teeth have seemed very crumbling for the last two or three years probably because my bones are all to soft for my age." [1/25/1883]. Serious health problems forced the end of her singing career, including "peritonitis and inflammation of the bowels." [9/13/1883]

School: Attended fourth-year reunion of Providence High School class of 1879 [10/1/1883]

Work outside home: Singer (second alto) and vocal instructor. "Today I first sang with the Euterpe quartette of Boston as a member of it." [1/1/1883] Miss Garlin the leader. Detailed account of rehearsals, performances. Sang at a women's suffrage meeting in Boston, 1/19/1883. at one show in Spencer, Mass., "The audience was not very well acquainted with good music, if the manner in which we were received was a fair standard to judge by." [2/3/1883].

Auditioned at "Mr. Lang's rooms in Boston to sing for him the Schumann quartettes which we know. He was, as he is said usually to be, very cold, snobbish and unfeeling in his manner, but he found no fault with our singing and we are in hopes to get some good result from his hearing us as he giving a series of Schumann recitals in the Bijou theatre." [3/16/1883]. The singers got the gig a week later, and Lucy had kinder words regarding Mr. Lang, whose "reputation is very great, of course." [3/24/1883] This probably refers to Benjamin J. Lang (1837-1909), a renowned organist and orchestra leader in Boston.

Eventually had to resign for health reasons; "I am very sorry to give up the Quartet as I enjoyed it and also it makes it hard for them to have to get someone else but I think it best both for me and them to do so." [9/13/1883] Did fill in for a performance at the Worcester County Music Festival, but almost fainted. [10/1/1883] The quartet had filled her place with "a Miss Davis of Boston, but was again without a second alto as she proved too conceited to be of much use to them." [12/14/1883]

Also sang with the Arion Club (?), possibly connected with her church, which performed at Infantry Hall in Providence, 1/25/1883.

Food and drink: Surprise birthday party for mother; "Ardoene catered and we had no trouble on that account." [2/23/1883]

Labor: "A week ago Monday Mary, whom we had expected to keep with us through the Winter, at least, left us after a few days notice; she said she was run down and needed a rest; this week Monday she went to work for Dr. Lockling's family. Margaret has been with us every day but Sunday since Mary left - what should we do without her?" [2/23/1883]

Gender relations: Sort of inadvertently describes herself as a couple with one George Burroughs [1/2/1883], and invites him over for family dinner on 1/14/1883.

Arts and culture: Performs in a vocal quartet doing selections from a classical repertoire.

Travel: Travels all over Massachusetts with vocal quartet.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-C

Collection title: Lucy D. Carpenter Diary

Size: 8" x 5"

Condition: Fair; front cover detached.

Provenance: 1949. 15. 3. 1-, gift of the author's estate

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read in entirety.


Carpenter, Daniel Hoogland. History and Genealogy of the Carpenter Family in America... (Jamaica, N.Y.: Marion Press, 1901), 341-342.

The Chancel Window, yearbook of the First Universalist Parish. Features biography of Charles Earl Carpenter in 1899 issue, p. 4-6; and of Henry I. Cushman in 1900 issue, p. 4-10.

Providence vital records and directories.

Subject headings:

Bullock family

Carpenter, Charles E. (1824-1898)

Diaries - 1883

Euterpe Quartet

First Universalist Church (Providence, R.I.)

Lang, Benjamin J. (1837-1909)

Music - Performance - Massachusetts

Providence, R.I. - Social life and customs

Notes on the Maria (Lefferts) Dauchy Diary

Entries dated 1836 to 1836


Name at birth: Lefferts, Maria

Name after marriage: Dauchy, Maria (Lefferts)

Birthdate and place: August 15, 1797

Death date and place: March 14, 1881, Troy, N.Y.

Age range during diary: 38

Residence during diary: Amsterdam, N.Y.

Places written: Troy, Pittsfield, Worcester, Boston, Plymouth, Providence, Springfield.

Biographical note: Biography unknown

Ethnicity: Dutch Yankee?

Religion of diarist: Unknown

Social class: Upper?

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 1

Number of pages: 41

Exact dates: July 27 - August 8, 1836

Frequency of entries: Daily? Entries not clearly dated.

How was author identified?: Identified by donor

Brief description: Travel diary of a very rapid sightseeing journey through southern New England, including a brief visit to Providence and Chepachet.

Writing quality: Excellent, though sometimes more amusing than informative. A pleasant read.

Utility for research: The account of Rhode Island's 200th anniversary celebration is important, but the rest could be considered just another good travel diary.

Related papers at RIHS: None

Family members:

Husband's name: Dauchy, Burr

Marriage date and place: September 15, 1816

Sons: At least one

Daughters: Unknown

Topical content:

Events discussed: In Providence for the 200th anniversary celebration of Roger Williams' landing.

Religious content: The following entry made while passing through Greenbush, N.Y. might be humorous: "My basket was filled with religious tracts, papers & publications, which I throwd out at each gate as we pass'd, that the inhabitants might have a drop of manna to nourish their souls in the morning. I was much gratified with this night distribution; thought it must cause some wonderment, and raise a desire to know the unknown hand that strewed them." [p.5]

Food and drink: Feast prepared for stagecoach passengers heading west from Providence, 1836: "After a long time, breakfast was prepared in Chepachet, for the Land Lady's excuse for not having it ready was that she thought all the people would stay in Providence to attend the celebration. But we were finally called out, abundance! was provided us. Coffee, Tea, Stake, Ham, Potatoes, Pickles, Whortleberries, Black beries, currant preserves, soft cake, tea cakes, wheat bread, brown bread, and the dear knows what all. I did not know but we should have to pay for breakfast & dinner and a tea too for such a variety." [p.41]

Travel: An amusing travel diary from Troy New York through New England. Re hotel vermin: "I took off my bed gown, pricked from it 7 little beasts, the vile enemy to sleep, and carefully laid them down upon the bottom of the brass candles lest the good folks of the house should lose the specia and not be able to supply the next set of travelers." [p.5]

The following is a complete transcription of Dauchy's comments on Rhode Island, found on pages 39-41: "We passed over the Pawtucket river and drove immediately down to the Steam Boat for the passengers to go aboard for New York. The cars came in at the same time from Boston with their passengers also, so that there was no little crowding for a few minutes till they got on Board. We then went up into the city to the house of entertainment call'd the Franklin House. Here in this building was one spacious room that the people were fitting up to accommodate the celebraters of Roger Williams the Baptist hero, it being the second century. The day of his landing was said to be the 5th of August 1636. Green shrubbery, paintings large and small, the bust of Washington and Franklin, had been brought there to decorate the room for the party of Gentlemen that were to dine. We were told that all the Indians in the state would be gathered, and dinner prepared of corn, beans, fish, venison and such like as was used by the natives and first English inhabitants, and another table prepared according to the modern times of feasting. Old fashion table cloths, knee and shoe buckles, were also provided for a portion of the company. Before tea we walked up a hill to see Browns University. There are 3 or 4 buildings and a new chapel reared this season. There was a man carrying into it, the library (as one room was alloted to that purpose). This institution was named after Francis Brown Esq. [actually Nicholas Brown] who gave it a legacy of 5000$. After tea we walked and walked, and walked, till one of my feet was blistered, for the purpose of seeing all we could of the city as our time was short. The next morning we started for Springfield which was 70 miles. We passed the Military Ground where the cannon had been fired about daylight and the tents were pitched soldier fashion. The morning was fine, country pleasant, roads good and company quite social. Passing Greenville, Chepachet and Cadiz we were carried into Connecticut. After a long time, breakfast was prepared in Chepachet, for the Land Lady's excuse for not having it ready was that she thought all the people would stay in Providence to attend the celebration. But we were finally called out abundance! was provided us. Coffee, Tea, Stake, Ham, Potatoes, Pickles, Whortleberries, Black beries, currant preserves, soft cake, tea cakes, wheat bread, brown bread, and the dear knows what all. I did not know but we should have to pay for breakfast & dinner and a tea too for such a variety. After we got seated again in the stage, the lady that entertained us most, said that was not so likely a house as was kept in Woodstock. We went through the corner of Connecticut..."

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 9001-D

Collection title: Maria Dauchy Diary

Size: 8" x 7"

Condition: Good; photostat only.

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): R.I.H.S. has only a photostat; original was in the possession of Mrs. Ruth Alden Church in 1946

Provenance: 1946? Apparently donated by Walter E. Dunham in 1946; no accession record found.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Only skimmed, except for pages 39-41 transcribed in full


See note by donor at beginning of diary

Subject headings:

Diaries - 1836

Franklin House

Massachusetts - Description and travel

Providence, R.I. - Anniversaries, etc.

Notes on the Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein) Dearstyne Diaries

Entries dated 1854 to 1916


Name at birth: Congdon, Mary Remington

Name after marriage: Dearstyne, Mary R. (Congdon) (Carstein)

Birthdate and place: December 24, 1842, East Greenwich, R.I.

Death date and place: April 16, 1916, East Greenwich, R.I.

Age range during diary: 11-73

Residence during diary: 38 Division St., East Greenwich, R.I.

Places written: East Greenwich, R.I., Albany N.Y. (1887-1892), Southern Pines N.C. (1892).

Itineraries of the four travel diaries:

            1) Mostly at sea; New Orleans.

            2) Rhode Island to Savannah, Ga., overland to Mobile, Ala., then sailing for Paris.

            3) Sailing from New York to San Francisco.

            4) From San Francisco to Peru to Valencia Spain and back to R.I.; trips to Albany and Maine.

Biographical note: Daughter of sea captain; traveled widely in youth. Married twice, but both husbands died young. Lived in East Greenwich except for the five years of her second marriage.

Ethnicity: Yankee

Religion of diarist: Methodist?

Social class: Middle - upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 39

Number of pages: Various

Exact dates: November 24, 1854 - February 7, 1916

Frequency of entries: Spotty from 1854-1871; nothing 1872-1879 or 1881-1886; regular entries for 1880 and 1887-1916.

How was author identified?: Most are signed

Brief description: Four of these diaries were written as a young girl at sea on her father's ship, from 1854, 1860 and 1861. Two others were written as a girl in East Greenwich, dated 1856-1859. The rest are brief diaries kept during adulthood. The last few entries in the 1916 diary were made by her daughter Margarethe Allen, recording Mary's illness and death.

Writing quality: The earlier diaries are well written, but after 1870 they become very sparse and unrevealing.

Utility for research: The volumes written at sea are excellent travel diaries, as she was accompanying her father on business rather than making the normal tourist stops. In general, the early diaries are good chronicles of East Greenwich life, while the later volumes are very sparsely written and of marginal value.

Related papers at RIHS: The Congdon Family Papers provide full supporting documentation to these diaries, including diaries of her parents and husband, and extensive correspondence.

Family members:

Father's name: Congdon, John R.

Father's dates: 1820-1863

Father's occupation: Sea captain

Mother's name: Sprague, Cynthia A.

Mother's dates: 1819-1880

Brothers: George B. Congdon (1846-1902)

Sisters: None

Husband's name: 1) Carstein, Asmus F. 2) Dearstyne, James V.

Husband's dates: 1) 1843-1873 2) 1849-1892

Husband's occupation: 1) Mariner 2) Hotel operator of Bath-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Marriage date and place: 1) December 22, 1870, East Greenwich 2) October 29, 1883, East Greenwich

Father-in-law's name: 1) Carstein, Claus 2) Dearstyne, James V.

Mother-in-law's name: 1) Detlefsen, Margarethe 2) Vaughn, Eliza C.

Sons: None

Daughters: Katharina Carstein (1872-1882); Margarethe (Carstein) Allen (1874-1955), wife of Col. Thomas Allen (1874-1948)

Other persons frequently mentioned: Uncle Henry R. Congdon (1819-1883) and his wife Sabra of Providence. First husband's brother Theodore Carstein, d.1879

Topical content:

Events discussed: Active interest in the 1856 presidential elections, just like her fellow East Greenwich girl Mary Dawley. Was appointed as a speaker at the Fillmore Meeting, but after two days "I have given up making my speech, there are five without me and mamma does not think best for me." [10/24/1856] "There is going to be a Fremont this week in the schoolhouse." [10/29/1856].

In San Francisco at beginning of Civil War; "Every thing is for the Union. I did not see a single secession flag." [7/5/1861] Describes an imminent revolution in Peru: "Father says there are soldiers all over the streets & about 400 fellows walking the streets with stones hurrahing & defying them." [8/15/1861]. Took note of 1864 elections: "Too bad, Lincoln elected 4 years more. I wanted McClellan but we did not get him." [11/9/1894]

"In the evening there was the most glorious display of the Aurora that has been seen in a great many years... It was awfully grand and suggested the possibility of the end of the world." [4/15/1869]

Religious content: Not very much religious content.

Family: News of father's death at sea: "My dear father, I cannot realize it." [4/20/1863] After mother's death, left alone as a widow with two children. Contemplating her brother's imminent return home after the funeral, comments "Oh dear what shall I do when I am left alone?" [12/28/1880]

Childhood: Interesting account of life as a sailor's daughter. As her mother often sailed with her father, she spent much of her time at her grandmother's. "It is just a year today since father and mother went away." [5/6/1859]

Not much on her own children; only one diary survives from before Margarethe turned 13. The following entry is, we hope, only a joke: "Margarethe went to Church with me and sang. Mr. Stanhope has previously offered 25 cts. a lb for her but after hearing her sing offers two shillings, guess I won't sell her yet." [1/11/1880]

Marriage: First wedding, to Ferd Carstein; "I have got one of the best boys ever any girl had." [12/22/1870]. Like her mother and both her grandmothers, she married a mariner. He sailed for Calcutta within a few weeks [2/1/1871] He was a German. The diary ends shortly after their marriage.

Second husband was a second cousin who operated a hotel near Albany. The diaries by this point are very sparsely written, and there is little evidence on quality of the marriage, but there is some: "Jim put me out of the room & hurt me this is not the first time my finger is badly hurt when he grabbed my hands." [5/15/1887]. He died five years into the marriage while convalescing at Southern Pines, N.C.; his death is scarcely mentioned: "J died at 8:30 at night. Mr. Clark & I alone with him. Rainy & rained all day & night." [2/25/1892]

Health: "I was measured today, I am just 4 feet 10, & weigh 98 lbs, quite sizable." [2/6/1861] Seems plagued by the same frequent headaches her mother had.

School: 1856 diary discusses school life in East Greenwich.

Work outside home: Before marriage, "I have commenced teaching French, two paying scholars, and one I took for the pleasure of seeing her often." [10/18/1868]

Race / ethnicity content: On visit to New Orleans: "Passed several sugar plantations. First you would see the sugar mill then the masters house surrounded by orange trees then the slave houses which are all built along in a row they are very nice little houses. Each has its barrel before it to catch rain... One poor slave woman came on board [the ship] wanted washing." [12/25/1854]

Married to a German. "The Carstein family arrived in Greenwich from Germany they left Hamburg 31st Aug." [9/16/1871] "Christmas day we were all together in the new house the first time the family had been all together in 13 years" (certainly meaning her in-laws) [12/25/1871]

Gender relations: On board ship as 17-year-old: "One of the passengers a young Italian has been trying to make an acquaintance with me... I did not have much to say to him, for if I speak to one I must to all." [8/3/1860] She was already involved with a boy named "Gardie" back home, who she refers to frequently.

At age 26, "Was introduced to the Carstein brothers, three nice young men." [10/26/1869] Within a few weeks, she reported that "Mr. Carstein and I are very good friends." [12/6/1869]. Within just over a year, she was married to Asmus F. "Ferd" Carstein; the romance is sketched out fairly well.

Her second husband was her second cousin James Dearstyne of New York, who shows up periodically throughout the diaries, including just before her first marriage: "Jim Dearstyne was here... his first visit to Rhode Island." [11/24/1870]

Arts and culture: List of books in library as 11-year-old [p.43 of 1854 diary]. "In the evening went to hear the Hutchinson family sing. I think the concert was very interesting." [4/15/1859]

Travel: Collection includes four diaries kept on trips at sea. Several weeks in antebellum New Orleans as 11-year-old [January 1855]. Trip to Paris [June-July 1860] and San Francisco [June 1861]

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 363

Collection title: Congdon Family Papers

Location within the collection: Box 2, folders 34-40; box 3, folders 1-6

Size: Various, but mostly very small

Condition: Good; the two 1861 diaries were heavily censored by the author, and some pages torn out.

Graphic content: Several little drawings in covers of early diaries.

Format (microfilm, transcript, pub.): Diaries also available on microfilm as part of the series New England Women and their Families in the 18th and 19th Centuries: Personal Papers, Letters, and Diaries, Series C. The Congdon family microfilm is filed under catalog number HQ1438 .R45, Part 2, Reels 1-9.

Provenance: 1964. 66. 1-, purchased as part of the Congdon Family Papers from dealer Cedric Robinson.

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Skimmed closely 1854-1880; barely skimmed 1887-1916.


Skillkin, Rebecca C. "Calendar of the Congdon Family Papers in the Rhode Island Historical Society" (Unpublished typescript, 1966).

Rhode Island Cemetery Database

Subject headings:

Albany, N.Y. - Social life and customs

Diaries - 1854-1916

East Greenwich - Social life and customs

New Orleans - Description and travel

San Francisco, Cal. - Description and travel

South America - Description and travel

Notes on the Beatrice DeCoppet Diaries

Entries dated 1916 to 1928


Name at birth: DeCoppet, Beatrice

Birthdate and place: October 4, 1878, New York City

Death date and place: Living in Narragansett, 1955

Age range during diary: 37-49

Residence during diary: 22 West 17th St., Manhattan, New York City; in summer, 31 Mathewson St., Narragansett, R.I. in house called "Summerstay".

Places written: New York City; Narragansett, R.I.

Biographical note: Unmarried daughter of wealthy parents, lived with unmarried sister all her life. Worked as a nurse for Red Cross in Manhattan during World War I.

Ethnicity: Yankee/Swiss

Religion of diarist: Unknown

Social class: Upper

Background and comments:

Number of volumes: 4

Number of pages: 164, 365, 365, 365 pages

Exact dates: April 26, 1916 - July 1, 1928

Frequency of entries: Almost daily

How was author identified?: Signed

Brief description: Daily diaries describing her horses, dogs and sister, in Manhattan and summer home in Narragansett.

Writing quality: Good, though generally terse.

Utility for research: The sections on Red Cross work from 1917 to 1919 are a very good account of womens' work in wartime; the remainder do a better than normal job of documenting the usual trials of upper-class life.

Related papers at RIHS: The DeCoppet Family Papers (MSS 377) include correspondence and genealogical notes, as well as diaries by both daughters.

Family members:

Father's name: DeCoppet, Henry

Father's dates: 1843-1920

Father's occupation: Banker, of Swiss ancestry, New York City; died Narragansett Pier, 10/6/1916

Mother's name: Fawcett, Laura

Mother's dates: ca.1850-1923

Brothers: Theakston "Ted" DeCoppet (1876-1939)

Sisters: Gertrude C. "Gay" DeCoppet (b.1880)

Husband's name: None

Topical content:

Events discussed: World War I. Makes mention of news, works as nurse for Red Cross in New York. Some friends serving in army. "Awaken at 5 o'cl by horns and whistles. Of course we knew what it meant, Germany has surrendered..." [11/11/1918]


Social life: Horses and show dogs are primary hobbies.

Family: Parents, brother and sister are central to these diaries. Bad blood between unmarried middle-aged sisters, living together: "Last night G insulted me so, her usual names, degenerate, abnormality, etc. Mama never says a word to stop her, only keeps repeating you girls, you girls. Both asked to Jean's. Gertrude went without saying a word to me. I have never heard such names & low language as she used to me. She had such a fit of temper it frightened me." [4/9/1923] "G is acting like H---, I think she is overtired & of course is jealous because I am well and can do everything." [5/13/1928]. "G could not have been more mean & rotten to me." [5/14/1928].

Aging: Caring for aging parents. "Tried to stay in bed as I am under the weather but Pop takes so much waiting on it is impossible." [5/15/1920] Blames herself for her ailing mother's death: "She wanted to go to the bathroom & I foolishly let her... When she got back to bed she complained of feeling sick... There was no one with me... I had to lay Mama back on her pillows & call the doctor myself. If I had some one to help me I might have saved her." [4/21/1926]

School: Studying nursing for Red Cross [12/1917]. Continued studying while working for Red Cross in New York; "The studying is getting dreadfully hard & the rules & regulations get on my nerves so I could scream." [11/17/1918]

Home production: Helped family plant of corn, cabbage, cauliflower and potatoes in Narragansett, probably for war effort. [5/9/1917] Hardly full-time farmers; a particularly grueling day went as follows: "We rode to the Johnsons then I washed my hair. In the afternoon we planted corn for three hours... It took the two men, Ted, Howard, Gay and myself 3 hours to fertilize drop & cover an acre & a half." [5/21/1917]

Work outside home: Volunteered at home for Red Cross work, sewing surgeon's masks. [5/1917]. Later worked as nurse in Manhattan hospital. On first day, noted that " I have never seen such dirt & lack of everything, no hot water bottles, no alcohol, etc. etc. I came home inraged & disgusted" [1/21/1918]. In memorandum section of diary for that month, noted "I have not changed my opinion much of the hospital, the Dr's show the patients no consideration. We are learning really nothing but the practice of handling sick people." [1/1918] After the war, services no longer needed. "Today in class Miss Parsons told us that unless we sign up for 3 yrs we would not be needed after April 1!!! We all feel dreadfully about it & think we have been treated most unfairly..." [3/13/1919] On last day, "I am so blue about going & am almost dead & have had a lump in my throat all day." [4/3/1919].

Community: Re neighbors in Narragansett: "Ted has had trouble with the Browns. Gay & I think he looks very badly & acts queerly... The Brown's left in about an hours notice this morning. She came & told Ted she was very worried about him & she has taken him to a sanitarium." [5/23, 5/24/1917]Labor:

Class relations: There seem to be occasional tensions with the help. One was so rude to her sister he was let go. [4/8/1921]

Arts and culture: Not very involved in high culture, though occasionally attended opera or plays in Manhattan.

Organizations: American Red Cross during World War I.

Cataloging information:

Catalog number: MSS 377

Collection title: DeCoppet Papers

Location within the collection:

Size: First volume 9" x 7"; others 8" x 5"

Condition: Good

Provenance: 1968. 93. 1-, gift of dealer Nino D. Scotti

Cataloged by Rick Stattler, April 1997

How much of the diary was actually read during cataloging? Read April through June 1916, May 1917, and a healthy skimming through the remainder.</