1908 HANDWRITTEN ORIGINAL DIARY OF A YOUNG GERMAN GIRL LIVING A YEAR IN AMERICA, WRITING VIVIDLY OF HER TEENAGE LIFE WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY, AND FINALLY RELUCTANTLY RETURNING HOME TO GERMANY IN A STEAMBOAT

By: LUCY GREGORY

Price: $2,255.99

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Good


On offer is the 1908 diary of Lucy Gregory, a teenage German girl living in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her mother for most of the year, until she returns to Germany. Lucy lives with her mother for a year in Cambridge, though the reason for why she lives in another country is never discussed. The way Lucy refers to her aunts and uncles means her Mother is probably American and has brought her daughter along with her for a year back. Lucy is a normal teenage girl in many respects. She likes skating in the winter, dancing with friends, visiting family and saying hello to the many different people in her neighborhood in Boston. She also goes to church every Sunday, but her diary is mostly absent of any thoughts on God. She is also very independent, going out on long walk by herself and she seems to be a tough and knowledgeable young woman with a strong penchant for playing chess, one time even beating a woman twice her age. The diary first page states: “Lucy Gregory from Aunt Alice & Uncle James Ropes. Xmas 1907. By Sparks St., Cambridge, Massachusetts U.S.A.” The book alternates between pen and pencil. The pen is written in neat script and very easy to read. The pencil writing can provide some challenges to readability, but they are certainly not insurmountable. Most page entries contain at least a spelling error or two, all understandable for a German girl writing in a second language. Lucy obviously falls in love with America with the zeal of a spritely teenage girl. The diary is all fairly standard up until the end of September, when Lucy takes a trip back across the Atlantic to live in Germany again. She says goodbye to all her friends that she has met and her mother’s family and boards a steamer ship with her mother back to Germany. Lucy notes that the trip is fairly rough, but she does not get seasick. She plays chess often, reads, writes letters, and reflects occasionally on the life she is leaving behind. Most notably, on October 8, she has a particularly traumatic experience as she watches another boat have an accident and sink. “...I felt a shock & got up & looked out of the window. It was very foggy but I could see a white thing with a light on it. Finally the light sank. I heard the cries for help. Life saving boats let down. We not very much hurt although we used the pumps all morning. 10 saved 14 drowned. Boat we ran down either Nippoma or Neptune.” That evening Lucy finally returns home. She notices that “father did not kiss mama” and that in their home, “most things dirty.” suggesting a state of disrepair for her parents marriage. She comments that her brother has not grown much since she last saw him. Later in the same entry she writes, “this is the end of our beautiful year in the United States. I will go there again to live even if I should change my mind I would have to go because I have promised I would. It is better so. In the mean while I will try to keep good as I can not to disgrace my chosen country. Lucy Gregory.” Above this she writes, “I will never marry a German.” Under this entry, Lucy has come back two years later to write, “It is not right to bind yourself like this. I will do, what seems right to me when the time comes. Lucy Gregory.” The date this is written is July 12, 1911. After returning to her home in Germany, the entries in the diary stop. There is nothing written for the majority of October, November, and December. The last entry is on December 25th as Lucy speaks of her Christmas day and evening and the presents she received. She seems to be back in high spirits. She also writes, under the October 4th entry, a quick addendum to the last entry from the day before: “I am writing this on the 31st of December 1908 in Leipzig. I have forgotten all about that Sunday...” At the end of the book is a cute poem called “Recipe for a Happy New Year” which begins “take each of the 365 days now coming to us along sun shining ways and put into it just as much as you may of cheery hard work & jolly good play...” There is also two pages of “Cash accounts” where Lucy writes down money received from family and the money she spent on presents for others. Sample entries: “Jan. 2, 1908. First school day! Last month I got 11 stars. Begun The French & Indian Wars today. When I came home from school I found Aunt Harriet's trash there. She gave me a purse with a dime in it. My 26th Xmas present. Yesterday I got two copies of the St. Nicholas. We are going to have object drawing in school now. It was colder today but I only wish there was seating.”; “Jan. 20, 1908. Went to school. As it was 18° in the morn. and I thought there was going to be skating on the rink but it was only in the morning. In the afternoon I went to the little pond & had a nice scate the best I had this year with year with a good many friends. We will write a compos. on Venice in school & I will have to read about it. I think I will draw the rest of the evening. Ag. came back from B.”; “July 29, 1908. When I got the mail in the morning I got a card from Frances W. Williams asking me to come up there to play tennis to-morrow but I don’t think I can go because Aunt Helen is going to pass, just at that time, to back back home. Sat in the hammock & sewed. Miss Earl came to see Aunt Edith. She is very deaf four her age. I think that's too bad because she is so young & pretty.”; “Sept. 6, 1908: I went to the episcopal church in the morning with Aunt Edith. They act awfully queerly they sing in the middle of their long prayer. They courtesy when they sing of Jesus. They deacon look like a pitifully picked sparrow, anybody could see he had just enough in aims to be our episcopal minister...They learn everything by heart & I should think they would not.” (Background: A native of Leipzig, Germany, Mrs. Henderson graduated from Radcliffe College in 1916 with honors in French and received a master's degree in comparative literature at Columbia University in 1918. She taught French at the former May School in Boston, at the former Miss Johnson's Tutoring School in Cambridge, and in the 1930s at the Buckingham School in Cambridge, now Buckingham Browne & Nichols School.)

Title: 1908 HANDWRITTEN ORIGINAL DIARY OF A YOUNG GERMAN GIRL LIVING A YEAR IN AMERICA, WRITING VIVIDLY OF HER TEENAGE LIFE WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY, AND FINALLY RELUCTANTLY RETURNING HOME TO GERMANY IN A STEAMBOAT

Author Name: LUCY GREGORY

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Diary, 20th Century Manuscript,

Publisher: CAMBRIDGE, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS MA, 1908

Book Condition: Good

Type: Manuscript

Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall

Seller ID: 0009088

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