Special Collections Department
DIARIES, SCRAPBOOKS, AND OTHER AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL EFFORTS
1 volume (134 pp.)
from Diaries, Journals, Ships' Logs
1814 December 30 Killed a beef and it wayed 443 Pounds the hide wayed 66 Pounds 1815 January 5 Snowed January 12 Snowed January 18 Snowed January 31 Snowed February 5 Snowed a foot deep February 25 Snowed over shoes March 6 A thaw Blackbirds come March 11 ducks Come March 12 Ice broke up
This diary kept by Dudley Swift of Chicopee, in Hamden County, Massachusetts, is almost like a farmer's almanac with its entries concerning seasonal changes and farm chores. The intermittent entries from 1784-1844 record the arrival of blackberries and birds, apple blossoms and ice floes. Swift planted potatoes, corn, and wheat; made cider, carted rice, and milled lumber. He especially recorded the harsh winter snows and ice damage, a few events at the Chickopee Meeting House, and whenever he drew books from the library.
- June 1874 I had a good gash in my head, but was lucky that I did not receive the
sharp part of the Thomyhawk, only recieved the back part which was made for a
pipe, or else I would have gone to the happy hunting ground
The title of Charles Boss' work aptly describes the scope and spirit of his account as an Indian fighter in the U.S. Infantry. A native of Brooklyn, Boss was discharged from the army in 1869 and returned to seek employment in New York. Not successful in his search, he was persuaded to join John Wieler on a venture West where each man would receive "160 akers of Land from the Goverment free of charge." They departed Brooklyn in October; arrived in Omaha in November; quickly experienced a prairie fire, a buffalo stampede, and several Indian attacks; and by December 15th, they were recruited to join the Infantry at Fort Sully where they had sought refuge from their hazardous ventures. Boss was assigned to Company F, 22nd Infantry, stationed at Fort Stevenson in the Dakota Territory. Through daily risk and danger, Boss knew he was having the adventure of his life. This volume, written later than 1884 when Boss was discharged from the Infantry in Colorado, was based on "papers" he had kept during his service. Boss served in several campaigns, including the "Sioux Expedition, or Genr. Custer's Avengers," and the Nez Perce campaign of 1877, so his account refers to everyone from William Cody to Chief Joseph, from Yellowstone Kelly to Sitting Bull. His "life and adventures" includes both day-by-day accounts of soldiering duty with authentically boring details, and crafted tales of hair-raising dramas which are more-than-probably embellished and certainly mindful of penny thrillers and Wild West Shows.
Thornton Oakley, 1881-1953.
Diaries, 1908, 1919-1953.
from Thornton Oakley diaries
James R. (James Riddle) Maxwell, 1836-1912.
Diaries, 1868, 1871, 1872
Incidents in an Engineer's Life in the Far West [n.d.]
- February 3, 1871 In December 1870 when engaged in making surveys along the
Columbia river near Lake Chelan for the N.P.R.R. we found an Indian named
Wapeto John. He was apparently about 40 years of age and belonged to a
remnant of the Wenatchie tribe. He had a good log house and what was still more
wonderful had a store. He had horses & cattle, land fenced and some under
cultivation. To our inquiries as to whether we could get grain, hay and
vegetables, he promptly answered that we could and meat, and sugar and flour.
John's customers were the white & Chinese miners along the river and the pack
trains passing to the mines in the upper country.
James Maxwell's employment as a civil engineer for the Union Pacific and Northern Pacific railroads, beginning in 1866, placed him in a period of great transition for the American West. His pocket diaries listed calculations for supplies, expenses, elevations, and work progress, but they also briefly note landscapes, towns, and Indians encountered. Having never traveled beyond western Pennsylvania, Maxwell had an almost anthropological interest in the people he met in the American West. His papers also include commercially produced photographs of North American Indians, Mormon sites in Salt Lake City, and rail company photographs and lithographs of engineering parties and landscapes. Similar diaries were kept and images collected when Maxwell worked as the chief engineer of the Chimbota Railroad and the Central Railroad of Peru, 1872-1875. Commonly called the Oroya Railway, this railroad reached a summit of 15,666 feet above sea level, higher than any other in the world. Maxwell retired from engineering in 1902 and returned to his home in Newark, Delaware, where he compiled "Incidents in an Engineer's Life in the Far West," and other personal and professional reminiscences of his career in the West and Peru.
|Considering self works||Creating self works||Living & learning||Domestic diaries|
|Business & adventure||War diaries||Keepsakes||Word & deed|
|Inner journeys||Travel diaries||Professional writers||Avocational efforts|
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