University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Clinton Osborne Houghton Diaries

1905, 1923 - 1940

Manuscript Collection Number: 376
Accessioned: Gift of the Frederick C. Houghton Estate, October 1990.
Extent: 34 items.
Content: Diaries and ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 1998 by Arthur Siegel

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Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Clinton Osborne Houghton was born on April 7, 1873 in Helena, New York, to Peter Eastman and Clara Alice [Pike] Houghton. C. O. Houghton attended Helena High School and Potsdam Normal School, and in 1902 he graduated from Cornell University with an A.B. On November 29, 1902, he married Adelaide Asenath Eastman from Potsdam, New York, and on November 11 of the following year they gave birth to their only child, Frederick Courtland Houghton. After graduating from Cornell, C.O. Houghton found positions as an associate professor of biology at the University of Delaware and as an entomologist at the Delaware Agriculture Experimental Station, both of which he held until 1906. Afterwards, he became a professor of zoology from 1906-1909, and then a professor of biology from 1909 until his retirement. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the American Association of Economic Entomology, Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Theta Chi fraternity, and the Gamma Alpha Science Society. He was also an active member of the Newark Country Club, playing golf and entering tournaments quite frequently.

Frederick Houghton, referred to as "C" in the diaries, attended the University of Delaware, graduating with a B.S. in 1925, and continued his studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received an A.M. in 1927. While at Pennsylvania, he was an assistant in botany for the 1925-26 academic year, and during the following academic year he was an instructor of biology at Temple University. When he graduated, he too became a professor of biology at the University of Delaware. He was a member of many of the same professional and social organizations as his father, including the Newark Country Club.

As suggested by the diary entries, and confirmed by the Newark City Directory, both father and son lived in the same residence at 227 W. Main Street in Newark. By 1961, however, they had moved to 111 Cheltenham Road, in Newark. Clinton O. Houghton died sometime in late 1969 or early 1970, and Frederick C. Houghton continued to live on Cheltenham Road until his own death in 1990.


R.L. Polk & Co. Newark City Directory. 22 vols. Richmond: R.L. Polk & Co., 1961-1982.

Who's Who in Delaware: A Biographical Dictionary of Delaware's Leading Men and Women. ed. Seth Harmon. Philadelphia: The National Biographical Society, 1932.

Note: Historical and biographical information obtained from the collection

Scope and Content Note

The C.O. Houghton Diaries consist of nineteen diaries which span the period 1905, and 1923-1940, as well as ephemera which had been laid in the pages of the diaries. This ephemeral material includes membership cards, golf schedules, postage rate schedules, receipts, a business card, and a ticket. Though daily entries are generally only several lines in length, and are often greatly abbreviated, the diaries nonetheless contain a great amount of personal information; from a mundane accounting of Houghton's daily routine, to important family events such as Frederick's first step, taken in March, 1905. Much of this material is fairly repetitive, and there are a great many details which are unclear, such as the lab at which he worked, and his continual reference to individuals by no more than an initial letter. There are no diaries from 1906-1922, and there is very little information regarding the University of Delaware or his activity as a professor.

By the 1920s Houghton must have been semi-retired, or at least curtailed his teaching activity considerably, because there were many weeks when he played golf practically every day. Indeed, the diaries seem to center around his passion for the sport. Several of the diaries contain newspaper clippings inlaid between the pages, all of which concern news of golf tournaments at the Newark Country Club.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

          Diaries, 1905, 1923-40  (19 items)
          The diaries were manufactured by several different companies.  The diary from
          1905 was made by the New England Life Insurance Company, those from 1923-1928
          by the B.G. Pratt Company, and those from 1935-1940 by the National Blank
          Book Company.  Those from 1923-1928 were also all inscribed with "C.O.
          Houghton" on the front cover.  Several of the diaries contain newspaper clippings,
          ephemera, and golf schedules from the Newark Country Club.  The only way to
          date the clippings is by the diary in which they are found, and so they have not
          been removed.  The remaining in-laid material can be dated, and has been placed
          in a separate folder.  Houghton's entries were written in pencil, and consist of
          personal information and notes, daily schedules, and often-detailed information
          about the weather.  

1    F1   1905
          A black, leather-bound diary manufactured by the New England Mutual Life
          Insurance Company of Boston, Mass.

          A green, leather-bound diary that is inscribed "C.O. Houghton" on the front cover. 
          On the back cover is the manufacturer's inscription: "Scalecide / The Tree Saver /
          B.G. Pratt Company / 50 Church St. / New York City, U.S.A."  Entries from July
          17 to August 29 only, during which time he was on a vacation to Potsdam, New
          York.  He provides a detailed record of his movements, and the distances he

     F2   1924
          A green, leather-bound diary, with entries for the month of August only.  At the
          end of the diary is a one-page list of fish that he caught during that month.

          A green, leather-bound diary.  Entries from June to September, with one page of
          notes at the back of the book.

     F3   1926-1927
          A 1926 diary used for August to December 1926, and January to July 1927.  On
          the inside front cover is what may be a teaching schedule of Frederick C.
          Houghton at Temple University.  Bound in green leather.

          A 1920 diary used to record events in 1927.  Entries from the end of July to the
          end of December.  Bound in green leather.

     F4   1928
          A 1922 diary used for January to August 1928, with a list of expenses at the back. 
          Also included is a newspaper clipping relating a low golf score achieved by F.C.
          Houghton.  Bound in green leather.

          A red, leather-bound diary, which is inscribed "National Diary 1929" on the front
          cover.  On the title page is written in ink, "Merry Christmas to Clinton from
          Adelaide."  Includes three newspaper clippings.

     F5   1930
          A black, leather-bound diary with "The National Diary" on the title page.

          "National Diary 1931" inscribed on the front cover, and includes two newspaper
          clippings.  Bound in red leather.

     F6   1932
          "National Diary 1932" inscribed on the front cover, and includes three clippings. 
          Bound in red leather.

          "National Diary 1933" inscribed on the front cover, with a financial account on
          the back pages.  Bound in red leather.

2    F7   1934
          "National Diary 1934" inscribed on the front cover, and includes three clippings. 
          Bound in red leather.

          On the title page is printed "Excelsior Diary for 1935," manufactured by the
          National Blank Book Company of Holyoke, Massachusetts.  Includes a financial
          account at the end of the diary, as well as one newspaper clipping.  Bound in red

     F8   1936
          "Excelsior Diary for 1936," includes a receipt from the post office.  Bound in red

          "Excelsior Diary for 1937," includes a newspaper clipping and an advertisement
          for Christmas Seals.  Bound in red leather.

     F9   1938
          "Excelsior Diary for 1938," includes a newspaper clipping.  Bound in red leather.

          "Excelsior Diary for 1939," includes an Easter Seals stamp which is pasted on the
          title page.  Bound in red leather.

     F10  1940
          "Excelsior Diary for 1940," includes a newspaper clipping, and an advertisement
          card from the Arm & Hammer "Useful Birds of America" series, #3.  Bound in
          red leather.

     F11  Ephemera, 1928-1940  (15 items)
          - U.S. postage rate schedules for 1928 and 1932
          - Golf schedules from the Newark Country Club (1929-1931, 1933, 1935 & 1937)
          - Newark Country Club membership card for C.O. Houghton (12 Feb to 31 Jul
          - Post office receipt (20 Apr 1936)
          - Receipt for a bowling ball, ordered from the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. (23
          Dec 1936)
          - Ticket for a bowling match between the Rosatto-Barry All Stars and the City
          Alleys (13 Feb 1937)
          - Preferential guest card from the Woodstock (a hotel in New York City), for
          Clinton O. Houghton (1939)
          - Receipt from the Del-Mar-Va Council of the Boy Scouts of America for a
          subscription (31 Jan 1940)
          - Business card of J.K. Tyson, employee of First State Motors

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