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Munger Family Diaries

Identifier: Mss. Acc. 2014.018

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Scope and Contents

This collection contains 16 diaries kept by members of the Munger family from New Haven, Connecticut and Portland, Oregon. The collection contains information about the social, religious, cultural, and intellectual lives of late 19th- and early 20th-century women, the daily rhythms of their domestic lives and family relations. Twelve of the diaries were kept by Rosanna ("Rose" or Rosa") May Munger from 1886-1945, excluding years 1888 to 1899 and 1910 to 1914. Rose’s diaries generally include one entry per day. Rose apparently suffered from a spinal disease, never married, and mostly lived with her family in New Haven. Some of the topics discussed in her diaries include taking trips to Europe and across the United States with her family, acting as secretary to her father, the Rev. Theodore Thornton Munger (1830-1910), a Congregational minister and an advocate of the "New Theology," working at an office, volunteering for several social and religious organizations, as well as other aspects of her daily life. Among the acquaintances Rose most frequently mentions are brother Thornton Taft Munger (1883-1975), sister Eleanor Duncan Munger (b. 1868), sister Mary Munger, nicknamed Polly (b. 1877), sister-in-law Mary Erskine Heilman Munger (1883-1967), step-mother Harriet King Osgood (1857-1925), friend Bessie Thompson, and Allie and George Sherman.

Also included in the collection are three diaries kept by Rose's sister-in-law, Mary Erskine Heilman Munger, the wife of Thornton T. Munger, a research scientist for the U.S. Forest Service in Portland, Oregon. The diaries cover the years 1921-1935 and are five-year diaries containing entries for each day of the year. In her diaries, Mary talks about going to dinners and dances, playing card games, doing house work, volunteering for a variety of social organizations, as well as about her husband and children’s daily lives.

The final diary was kept by Rose's mother, Elizabeth K. Duncan Munger, for the year 1882 and includes mentions of her family life, housework, daily weather, and a family trip to Europe, more specifically to England, Scotland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and France.


  • Creation: 1882-1945
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1900-1930


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

Rosanna May Munger was born on March 16, 1866 in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the daughter of Rev. Theodore Thornton Munger (1830-1910) and Elizabeth Kinsman Duncan (1842-1886). Rosanna (called "Rose" or "Rosa") was diagnosed in 1870 with a serious spinal disease. As she grew up, Rosanna would help her father with his literary work, accomplish secretarial work for an office, and volunteer for a number of organizations including missionary committees and the League of Women Voters. Rosanna never married.


1.50 Linear Feet

Physical Characteristics or Technical Requirements:

The fragile nature of this material may limit handling.

Acquisition Information:

Acc. 2014.018 was received by Special Collections in January 2014.

Processing Information:

Accessioned and minimally processed by Steven Bookman, Univeristy Archives Specialist, in March 2014. Fully processed by Eve Bourbeau-Allard, Graduate Assistant, in September 2014.

Guide to the Munger Family Diaries
Finding Aid Authors: Steven Bookman, University Archives Specialist; Eve Bourbeau-Allard, Graduate Assistant.
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository