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Pocket Diaries of Merchant's Wife

Identifier: SC 01548

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

Three pocket diaries written in 1869-1870 and 1874. The first diary, from 1869, focuses on the writer's daily life in Massachusetts. She writes about her activities such as music lessons, visits from friends, commemorating the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, attending lectures at the Ladies' Physiological Institute, going to the Anti-Slavery Convention at the Horticultural Hall, and seeing photograph exhibits. She also mentions writing letters to Erastus, who has gone to San Francisco.

The second diary, dated 1870, appears to contain entries from two different years. In the first part, she writes mainly about her work as a seamstress, sewing muslin skirts, lace collars, hoop skirts, drawers, and a Victoria lawn skirt, and mentions Erastus, who now lives with her. The second part of the diary, from April 13th on, she writes about their travels by ship from New York to San Francisco. On June 24th, they passed through the Strait of Le Maire at the bottom of Argentina, and on September 1st they arrived in San Francisco. When there, she stayed on board a lot, went calling, and worked as a seamstress. On December 15th, the ship sailed from San Francisco.

The third diary, from 1874, contains briefer entries than the previous two. On April 17th, they sailed from New York for San Francisco. and arrived in the middle of August. In September, they began to sail for Honolulu and continues to travel through the South Pacific, stopping at Howlands Island and Savaii Island. There are notes on food and clothes in the memoranda section.


  • Creation: 1869-1870
  • Creation: 1874

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.


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Guide to the Pocket Diaries of Merchant's Wife
Olivia Weiss, SCRC Apprentice
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository