1850 ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A WELL-TO-DO YOUNG MAN WHO EXPERIENCES HOMESICKNESS AND DEPRESSION AS HE’S SENT OFF TO CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS TO STUDY FOR HIS HARVARD ENTRANCE EXAM

By: JOSEPH HOLMES

Price: $3,055.99

Quantity: 1 available


On offer is the diary of Joseph Holmes, an 18 year old boy who leaves his home in Kingston, Massachusetts, in 1850, to be tutored for the college examination in Cambridge, Mass., presumably for entrance into Harvard University. On the first page, Holmes writes: “The Intention of this Journal is, as well and faithfully as I am able to carry out my purpose, to contain a description of all my actions, of my advancement in study, of my pastimes, of my expenditures and all such other matters, as may be interesting for myself, parents, and other friends (to whom it shall always be open) in after time to review, neatly written down each day at an appointed period, set especially apart for the purpose...” He begins his journal as follows: "This morning for the first time, I left the place of my Nativity, the Home of Eighteen years, the Friends of my infancy and Youth, the Companions of a happy Boyhood the scenes of a brief but gladsome experience and more than all the immediate presence and supervision of my Parents for a long absence but I trust not separation....” He writes of his farewells to his family, and takes the train to school with his father: "Having seated myself in the cars, I was soon beyond Kingston and summoning all my courage I tried to appear cheerful. The Hon Daniel Webster occupied a seat directly in front of me. Upon leaving the cars I perceived Capt A Baker. After our arrival we proceeded directly to the Fitchburg Station and took the Harvard Branch for Cambridge about to be my dwelling place.” Holmes finds a boarding house to live in Cambridge. He becomes homesick very soon, and to add to his misery, the weather is very poor with constant rain. He writes: "My room is dark, disagreeable and cold. I am obliged to wrap a coverlet about me to keep comfortable. I never before have seen so dusty and muddy a place as this is, it is difficult to decide which is the worst - one day you are covered with dust, the next splattered with mud which resembles ashes and water...." However, he does take to his studies with his tutor very well: “I went to my Tutor an hour earlier instead of my appointed one for other days. My lesson being well acquired and ____ I happily began to prepare myself for my first walk into Boston,” and later, “I spent most of the morning in study preparing my lesson. Mr. Lowe seems to be very well satisfied with my advancement - I told him this morning he must scold if I was not smart enough.” In spite of the poor weather, Holmes does walk quite often to Boston, and around the area. He visits Mount Auburn and writes of the beautiful monuments and the simple beauty of the chapel. He also visits Harvard Hall: "we went over to Harvard Hall and viewed all the paintings and portraits. Some of them are splendid pictures. The principal room is the place where the students practice forensics. Shall I ever tremble on that stage myself thought I as I saw it and after that came this encouragement...Shall I ever make those before me in this Hall to tremble?...." Holmes is an excellent and mellifluous writer: “Here we have another dull rainy homesick day. The clouds seemed to be overloaded with water and are pouring forth their liquid contents plentifully and continually.” Holmes’s father must have done business in Boston as Holmes meets him quite often at the depot. His father keeps his son updated on the news from home as well as with letters and the diary contains mentions of deaths, marriages and family news. There are no entries from May 27 until Oct 20, the last entry in the journal. In this last entry, he summarizes what he had done since May. Most importantly to him, he passed the "dreaded college examination". He writes, “I studied very steadily during the month of June and a fortnight of July preparing....July myself the pleasure of a few visits home.” He also wrote of the Fourth of July Celebration in Boston, and the great Quarter Celebration of the June 17th: "I spent the day with Mrs. Barker, having just returned from Kingston. Mr. Everett delivered the Oration in one of the Ship Houses of the Navy Yard which was beautifully decorated and arranged for the occasion...." Edward Everett was a US Representative, a US Senator, Governor of Massachusetts, and Secretary of State. He was also President of Harvard from 1846 to 1849. In this same long entry, the Holmes mentions another historical event that occurred in July 1850: "On the 10th of July I went home with my tutor Mr. Lowe to spend a day with Father and Mother before the examination. We carried with us the sad news of the death of President Z Taylor.” He finishes the entry by stating: “I returned to Cambridge and entered upon my Collegiate Course when I should have also returned to any Journal but for various reasons I have delayed this long.” At the very end of the book, There are two pages of the “Account of Joseph A. Holmes” in which Holmes writes down his various expenses for the month of May, such as “Carriage to convey Trunk - $.25”, “1/2 Lb. Confectionary - $.10”, “1 pr. Congress Gaiters - $3.00”, “1 Pr. Pants - $5.00” and a number of others. The final page of the book is titled, “Memoranda of Correspondence of J. A. H.” and contains a column of “Correspondents” alongside columns of “Letters written” and “Letters rec’d” with the amount written next to each name. The diaries duration is from May 7-26, and an entry on October 20, 1850. There are 28 handwritten pages in total in the book, which is roughly 70 pages in length. It is bound in brown marbled paper with a piece of black cloth on the spine; Both covers are detached from the text block. Holmes writes in black ink and his script is very neat and legible, fitting for a young man studying higher education in the 1850s.

Title: 1850 ORIGINAL HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A WELL-TO-DO YOUNG MAN WHO EXPERIENCES HOMESICKNESS AND DEPRESSION AS HE’S SENT OFF TO CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS TO STUDY FOR HIS HARVARD ENTRANCE EXAM

Author Name: JOSEPH HOLMES

Categories: 19th Century Diary, Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 19th Century Manuscript,

Publisher: KINGSTON CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS MA HARVARD, 1850

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall

Seller ID: 0009062

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