Price: $2,455.99

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Book Condition: Good

On offer are a rare collection of three family diaries dating from the late 19th century. Belonging to two sisters, the diaries offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of 2 middle-class young women at the turn of the century in Boston MA. The group of the two diaries (1897 & 1898) measures 5 inches by 3 inches. The first contains 181 pages and the second 365 pages each plus memoranda and are approximately 95% and 75% complete respectively. The third diary (1899) measures 3.25 inches by 2.25 inches and contains 365 pages. It is approximately 85% complete. The 1897 diary shows wear on the cover but it is intact as are all pages within. The other two diaries are in good condition as well. Also included is an envelope containing ephemera dating back to 1859. Many of these small items provide a wealth of information. These diaries belong to Josephine and Shirley Cornell. They lived in Wilmington, north of Boston MA. Two of them belonged to 18 year old Josephine Cornell. Josephine's diaries cover the years 1897 and 1898. The third diary from 1899 is written by Josephine's sister Shirley M. Cornell. Their father is Henry Lyman Cornell (a music teacher) and their mother was Harriet S. W. Cornell. They had an older brother, Worthington Cornell and three younger siblings - France, Henry Jr. and Katherine. Josephine eventually married to Joseph Robert Hodgson on October 31st. 1905. The family also lived in Malden and Medford Massachusetts. She passed away 1960. The diaries are replete with the happenings that fill a young woman's life. There are references to family incidents such as their father breaking his leg after being thrown out of a buggy, dancing school, many trips to Boston, balls, buggy rides, vacations, music lessons at the conservatory and much much more. The diaries open with this: "Last night I went to a New Year's party and didn't get home till 12:15 at which time I was 18 years old. Today papa and mama gave me a ring with a lovely garnet in it, and ma gave me a fine big bible and this diary. G. Peck sent me a fancy calendar in the mail and F. Roberts a 1 lb box of Hugler's." [Jan1, 1897] "They had the sleigh party tonight. Abner took Shirley. They had six horses. There were only 23 went and they had to pay 55 cents a piece. They went to Watertown where they got out and had hot chocolate and got home about 11. I didn't go. [Feb 5, 1897]. She notes William McKinley's inauguration which was the first inauguration ever to be filmed: "McKinley's inauguration day. Fair. I went over to L. this morning and again this afternoon. George is home today sick. There was a big explosion in the subway of Tremont of Boston. 10 killed, 50 injured. Mrs. Root was in a store opposite. All the windows along the street smashed." [Mar 6, 1897]. She notes her sister, Lill's birthday (May 5th), a summer boat trip (July 21st) and her sister Shirley visiting the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor. (Sept 25) The autumn is taken up with many social events. 1898 continues with her social swirl: "Ma has been making over an Indian Muslin that Rose H. gave me. It is awful pretty. All embroidered. I wore it tonight to the "Officers Party" with Harvey. I danced every dance but last and had a lovely time. We came down in a hack at 6 o'clock. This year Jack H. was Major. He was influenced to take Ruth, the [ ] daughter. My cousin Harris was an Ex Major, yes!" [Feb 18, 1898]. In April, the reader is introduced to someone who will come to play a large role in her life. Her friend Lill had brought a friend of hers over to visit a few times - Jack Hodgson. On April 19th, he is accompanied by his brother Joseph. Josephine and Joe will marry eight years later. "Most all the cyclists have gone to Concord. I went to ride all around Malden. Lill for Fred and S. went to Lill's and played cards. Rained all afternoon. Joe and Jack Hodgson and Lill came over in evening. G. Peck asked me to go to ride Saturday." [Apr. 19, 1898]. She was not unaware of larger events going on: "Hurried up to Park St. from which at 7 this morning to see the Lawrence Light Guards depart for Gloucester. Big crowd. N. H. L. Cadets escorted them to the station. ... [May 24, 1898]. The Lawrence Light Guard was a militia unit from the immediate area that was leaving to fight in the Spanish American War, that had broken out in April of that year. She notes the fall of Santiago de Cuba to American troops (miss-identifying it as Saratoga): "... Saratoga fallen. Capture of Spanish fleet. War seems going on all this time and I've written nothing about it. Oh my." [July 12, 1898]. The third diary belongs to her sister, Shirley. It covers the year 1899. Again, it takes the form of a chatty recollection of comings and goings with friends and social events. "President McKinley is making a visit to Boston and France and I went in town to see him on his arrival. We also saw plainly Delong, Alger, Gov. Wolcott, Maj. Quincy, Sec. [ ] Gage, etc. Went to a whist party over to the Misses Robinson's" [Feb 16, 1899]. Tonight came of the final ball which should have closed the dancing school but five more lessons are to be given. Harry came out with W. to go and stay over night. Mattie Tarbell and Mr. Wright also passed the night. I went to bed 1:50. Danced every one but one. [Mar 10, 1999] Her entries stopped in September. Accompanying the diaries is a small envelope containing about 2 dozen assorted newspaper clippings, announcements, calling cards and photographs. These however date much earlier - generally late 1850's to early 1860's. There is no explanation as to why they were part of the diaries and there does not seem to be an obvious family connection to the Cornells. A small placard announces Wood's Minstrels playing at the Athenaeum in South Boston on Thursday, September 8, 1859. Among its featured presentations are The Patriotic Darkey and Darkies on the Levee. There is a captioned undated photograph of Libby Prison. Libby Prison was an infamous Confederate prison at Richmond, Virginia, during the American Civil War. It gained a notorious reputation for the overcrowded and harsh conditions under which officer prisoners from the Union Army were kept. A newspaper clipping lists ships that have arrived in Boston harbor from all over the world. Included in the listing is the ship's name, her owners and from where she was sailing. A historian would find this a rich collection of information. There is a great deal of small detail as well as a wider perspective of life at the end of the 19th century. The sisters reference many people by their full names which makes this an excellent genealogical reference tool. An urban historian or geographer focused on the City of Boston would find a wealth of information in these as well as being an excellent cross-reference tool.It is a superb look at life at the close of the 19th century through the eyes of 2 young women who enjoy a comfortable, stable life in the Boston area.; Manuscript; 24mo - over 5" - 5¾" tall; KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, 19TH CENTURY, 1890S, CORNELL SISTERS; JOSEPHINE CORNELL; SHIRLEY CORNELL; JOSEPHINE HODGSON, LAWRENCE LIGHT GUARD; USS CONSTITUTION; OLD IRONSIDEDS; PRESIDENT WILLIAM MCKINLEY; BOSTON, BOSTON HARBOR, WILMINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS, MIDDLESEX COUNTY, MEDFORD, YOUNG WOMEN IN 1890S AMERICA, YOUTH LIFESTYLE AT THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY, TREMONT STREET SUBWAY EXPLOSION, PARTIES IN 1890S, SOCIAL LIFE IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY BOSTON, ENTERTAINMENT IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY, WOOD'S MINSTRELS, AMERICAN MINSTRELS SHOW, LIBBY PRISON PHOTO, MIDDLESEX COUNTY GENEALOGY, RECREATION ACTIVITIES IN THE LATE 19TH CENTURY, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, DIARY, DIARIES, JOURNALS, PERSONAL HISTORY, SOCIAL HISTORY, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D'ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL



Illustrator: Illustrated by /

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


Book Condition: Good

Seller ID: 0008090

Keywords: Keywords: History Of 19th Century 1890S Cornell Sisters; Josephine Cornell; Shirley Cornell; Josephine Hodgson Lawrence Light Guard; Uss Constitution; Old Ironsideds; President William Mckinley; Boston Boston Harbor WILMINGTON MASSACHUSETTS Middlesex County