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Manuscripts of Modern America
Diaries and Journals

What follows is a descriptive list of collections of manuscript diaries and journals of the post-Civil War era, located among the North American manuscript holdings in the Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame. Diaries and diary groups included here date wholly or primarily from 1865 to the present day. Users searching for diaries of this period should also browse the manuscript collections listed under Personal Papers, on this Web site.

Some of the descriptions that follow may be linked to finding aids, which will provide readers with fuller information on that particular collection.

  • JOSEPH C. AUDENRIED JOURNAL. 1871-1872. 1 vol., 22 x 27 cm., 183 leaves, with 248 pages of manuscript in Audenried's hand. The original journal of some 60,000 words kept by Col. Joseph Crain Audenried of the U. S. Army during Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's ten-month tour of Europe and the Levant in 1871-72. Sherman was then General of the Army; Audenried (1839-1880), a colonel in the Staff Corps, was the general's longtime, trusted aide. The trip was undertaken for personal reasons, but it did function as a kind of military fact-finding mission—an opportunity for Sherman to inform himself of the capabilities of the armies of the European states. Accompanied only by Audenried and the President's son, Fred Grant, Sherman visited Spain, France, Italy, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, Prussia, Austria, Switzerland, France again, and Great Britain. Audenried's journal covers the entire trip, with periodic entries running from 31 October 1871 to 17 September 1872. Events are often described in considerable detail. The narrative includes interviews with heads of state and senior military personnel; visits to battlefields, arsenals, encampments, and other places of military interest; and more various accounts of places seen and people encountered. MSN/MN 8004-1-B. [Finding Aid]

  • MAX H. RODER JOURNALS. 1931-1959. 30 volumes, partly printed, with manuscript entries in Roder's hand. Twenty-eight of the volumes in this collection are journals of the daily calendar type, recording the professional activities of agent Max H. Roder of the U. S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Roder (1892-1988) was a German native who immigrated to the United States in 1905. He worked as a Federal narcotics agent for 34 years, and was with the FBN from its formation in 1930 to 1959. While best known for fighting American and international drug traffickers and harassing addicts, the FBN—an agency of the Treasury Department—was broadly charged with enforcing all laws regulating habit-forming drugs, legal and illegal, in the United States. Through 1937 Roder worked out of the Bureau's office in Philadelphia; thereafter he was stationed in New York, where he came to function as liaison to the NYPD's precinct captains. Roder's journals contain regular daily entries for nearly three decades, from April 1931 to April 1959. Each volume contains entries for one calendar year; the volume for 1939 is lacking. The nature of the journals' content is quite consistent over time. Roder records the events, hour-by-hour, of each working day, from office routine to work in the field: meetings with informants, surveillances, wiretaps, arrests. Some fieldwork is described as undercover. The entries convey the facts with a minimum of narrative flourish. Names, addresses and phone numbers are specified, as are agents worked with, autos used, and expenses incurred during the day. The journals doubtless facilitated report writing, reimbursements, and perhaps testifying in court (as Roder was subpoenaed with some frequency). The collection also includes two partially filled volumes independent of the journals, containing addresses and other work-related information. MSN/MN 8000-1 to MSN/MN 8000-30. [Finding Aid]

  • JOHN AND SARAH MCMAHON JOURNALS. 1865-1897. 7 vols., with numerous items tipped and laid in. Four of the personal journals in this group chronicle the education and subsequent missionary experiences of the Methodist Episcopal clergyman John Todd McMahon (1843-1896), of Lima, Livingston County, New York. Two additional journals were written by McMahon's wife and partner in the missionary vocation, Sarah Douglas McMahon (ca. 1850-1917). The McMahons spent most of a period of 26 years (1871-1897) at various stations of the M. E. Church's North India Mission, most notably Roy Bareilly (Raebareli) and Pauri. MSN/MN 8006-1 to MSN/MN 8006-3; MSN/MN 8006-4-B; MSN/MN 8006-5 to MSN/MN 8006-12. [Finding Aid]

  • FLORA ELSIE HILL JOURNAL. 1914. 1 vol., 22 cm., 45 leaves, with 90 pages of manuscript entries. 1 enclosure. The European travel journal of Flora Elsie Hill (b. 1862), a teacher at the State Normal School at Marquette, Michigan. The journal includes entries ranging from 12 April to 18 August 1914, and runs to more than 16,000 words. Though the first entry finds Hill in Rome, much of the subsequent content relates to her travels in Northern Europe: Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. Of particular interest are the entries after 4 August, which describe Hill's difficulties in getting out of Russia and her anxious trip back to England in the uncertain opening days of World War I. MSN/MN 8005-1.

  • JULIA STEVENS BUFFINGTON DIARY. 1894. 1 vol., 21 cm., 96 leaves, with 194 pages of manuscript in Buffington's hand; clippings and botanical specimens tipped in; several drawings; enclosures. Volume 2 of a multi-volume travel diary kept by Julia Stevens Buffington (1872-1900) during a world tour in 1894. Buffington was a native of Swansea, Bristol County, Massachusetts, and a recent (1894) graduate of Wellesley College. She travelled with a family party headed by a wealthy uncle, the Worcester drug manufacturer Elisha D. Buffington (1836-1900). The diary begins partway through an entry for 15 October 1894, when Buffington was in Kyoto, Japan; it continues with daily entries through 20 November, as the party travelled by rail to Kobe, Nara, and Osaka, and by steamer to Nagasaki, Shanghai, Canton, Hong Kong, and Singapore (en route to Ceylon and India). The text runs to some 30,000 words, and contains quite detailed descriptions of temples and shrines, gardens and flower shows, festivals, plays, and other Japanese and Chinese tourist destinations of the day, as well as accounts and impressions of cities, landscapes, and people. There is also a good deal on shipboard socializing. Buffington occasionally alludes to the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, most notably in a 7-page account of a theatrical performance witnessed in Osaka. MSN/MN 8009-1-B to MSN/MN 8009-2.

  • LOUIS PERROT DIARIES. 1860-1890. 18 volumes, partly printed, with manuscript entries in Perrot's hand. Louis Perrot (1829-1893) was a native of Jefferson County, New York, the son of Swiss immigrants. In 1855 he moved with his family to Greenville, Outagamie County, Wisconsin, where he became a successful dairy farmer and cheese maker, and a notable figure in the community. The Perrot diaries include 18 yearly volumes of the daily calendar type, ranging in date from 1860 to 1890. Most are filled with daily entries of roughly 20 to 50 words, touching on personal and family events, the weather, farm tasks and business transactions, and regional travels. MSN/MN 8001-1 to MSN/MN 8001-18.

  • ROBERT J. McCOWAN DIARY. 1906-1909. 1 volume, 15 cm., 92 leaves, with 161 pages of manuscript. Numerous photographic prints, clippings, and ephemera tipped in and enclosed. The service diary of Pvt. (later Corporal) Robert J. McCowan of Le Roy, Genessee County, New York, as a member of Co. D, 1st Provisional Regiment, United States Marine Corps. McCowan's service included duty in the Mediterranean aboard U.S.S. Tacoma (1905-06), and duty at Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, with the Army of Cuban Pacification (1906-09). Diary entries are sporadic and typically brief, running from 27 August 1905 to 2 August 1909. Accompanying the diary are more than 40 original photographic prints, tipped in or enclosed; many of these depict life in camp at Sancti Spiritus. MSN/MN 8002-1 to MSN/MN 8002-6.

  • THOMAS KEMP CARTMELL DIARY. 1864-1872 (bulk 1864-1866). 1 vol., 32 cm., 127 leaves, with 252 pages of manuscript entries. 1 manuscript enclosure (1 page). Thomas Kemp Cartmell (1838-1920) was the seventh child of Mordecai and Eliza Campbell Cartmell of Frederick County, Virginia. He was raised on his father's 600-acre estate near Winchester, called Retirement. During the war Cartmell served the Confederacy in a number of administrative, military, and intelligence capacities. The diary postdates Cartmell's active service; kept at Retirement, it includes entries running from November 1864 to October 1866, with several earlier and later memoranda. An initial section (14 November 1864 to 10 February 1865) contains diary entries that, by subsequent standards, are short and sporadic. A second section (2 April to 9 July 1865) contains prose meditations on war, home, and youth. The third and most important section contains regular and often extended entries running from 1 March 1865 to 11 October 1866. These contain much on the Cartmells' efforts to keep Retirement financially viable—it was sold by Mordecai Cartmell in 1868—as well as a good deal of domestic and social content, including the author's courtship of Annie Glass Baker (m. 22 November 1866). There is also commentary of a political nature, especially as the narrative proceeds and Cartmell makes his antipathy to "Radical" elements plain. Notable, too, are several long entries from early June 1866, describing the reburial of a "patriot cousin" in the family graveyard, and a ceremonial procession in Winchester honoring the Confederate dead. MSN/CW 8018-1-B to MSN/CW 8018-2.

  • JOY HAW JOURNAL. 1899. 1 vol., 21 cm., 104 leaves, with 194 pages of manuscript entries; 15 halftones and numerous botanical specimens tipped in; 9 calling cards laid in. A journal kept by Joy Haw (b. 1880) of Ottumwa, Iowa, during a recreational tour of New England in 1899. Haw is a self-described "Westernly girl" from a middle or upper-middle class family, making her first journey east. Her narrative runs to around 20,000 words, with entries chronicling the full trip (15 May to 15 August 1899). For the first month or so she and her party board at Concord, Massachusetts, while making excursions to Boston and its environs. Subsequently she visits Plymouth and Marshfield, Massachusetts; Hampton Beach, New Hampshire; Newburyport and Haverhill, Massachusetts, and the White Mountains. On 31 July she leaves for home via New York, the Hudson and the Great Lakes. Haw writes with general enthusiasm of historical, literary, and scenic New England. Among the more expected attractions (the sights of literary Concord, the museums and libraries of Boston and Cambridge, Lexington, Bunker Hill, Plymouth, the seaside at Hampton, Mt. Washington) are good accounts of less familiar destinations: the state prison at Charlestown, the tomb of George Whitefield at Newburyport, the birthplace of John Greenleaf Whittier. MSN/MN 8003-1-B to MSN/MN 8003-2.

  • FRANK W. COBB DIARY. 1899. 1 vol., 15 cm., 170 leaves, with 112 pages of manuscript entries. The 1899 military diary of U. S. Army sergeant Francis Winfield Cobb (1873-1954), written as a member of Co. K, 1st Washington Infantry. Cobb was a resident of Huntsville, Columbia County, Washington when he enlisted in the Army in May 1898; his 18-month tour of duty included nine months of service in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War. The diary includes daily entries of around 30-50 words for 1 January to 10 August and 20 August to 7 October 1899. For most of this time Cobb was stationed in the lines around Manila. Cobb's entries report on U. S. casualties, changes in command, troop movements, ship arrivals and departures, and activities of the Philippine opposition. Entries from 5 September describe the regiment's voyage home. MSN/MN 8007-1-B.

  • LOUIS A. SCHLOSSSTEIN DIARY. 1897. 1 vol., 15 cm., 142 leaves; 186 pages of manuscript. The personal diary for 1897 of Louis A. Schlossstein (1875-1959), initially an engineering student at Washington University, St. Louis. After failing to advance in his studies Schlossstein serves as a research assistant to the physicist Francis E. Nipher (June-July), and begins work as an apprentice at Boyer Machine Co., St. Louis (September). The diary contains regular daily entries into the summer, generally of 60 words or more; in the fall the entries become sporadic, though many are still substantial. Schlossstein writes of his studies, his avocations (especially singing and photography), his family, and socializing within the St. Louis German-American community. He also comments on newsworthy events of the day, local, national, and international. MSN/MN 8010-1-B.

  • AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL DIARY. 1916-1923 (bulk 1920). 1 vol., 10 x 16 cm., 33 leaves, with 63 pages of manuscript. A small volume with diary entries, accounts, and memoranda kept wholly or primarily by an unidentified young woman from Long Beach, California. The most notable feature of the volume is a diary of over 3000 words chronicling an automobile trip from Long Beach to Chagrin Falls, Ohio, taken by the author with her parents, 11 October to 27 November 1920. The journey took the family across the southwestern desert to El Paso, and thence to Cleveland by way of New Orleans, Memphis, and Louisville. The author writes extensively of the difficulties faced by early long-distance auto travellers, especially in the remoter regions of the West. MSN/MN 8011-1.

  • JOEL A. ADCOCK DIARY. 1944. 1 vol., 19 cm., 191 leaves, with 373 pages of manuscript. A World War II diary of US Army Air Force Technical Sergeant Joel A. Adcock (1916-2003) of Midland, Texas. The diary contains entries for each day of 1944, when Adcock was serving with the 339th Fighter Squadron in the Pacific. Most of his time was spent at airfields on Stirling Island in the Solomons and on Middelberg Island in Dutch New Guinea. MSN/MN 8012-1-B.

  • HUMPHREY M. BARBOUR WORLD WAR I SCRAPBOOKS. 1917-1919. 4 volumes, 29 cm., 678 leaves, with typescript, photographs, postcards, maps and other published illustrations, typed and handwritten documents, and drawings tipped and bound in; 3 additional folders; 1 linear foot. From August 1917 to May 1919 Humphrey Mahan Barbour (1894-1983) of Bloomington, Indiana served as an officer in the U.S. Army's 150th Field Artillery Regiment, attached to the 42nd (Rainbow) Division. From February to November 1918 he saw periodic action on the Western Front, fighting at the 2nd Battle of the Marne, at Saint-Mihiel, and in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. On 1 July 1918 he was promoted from 1st lieutenant to captain, and command of the 150th Field Artillery's Battery B. At some point after the war Barbour compiled an extensive four-volume illustrated narrative of his military experiences, entitled "With the 42nd Division, 1917-19." Around 220 typed pages of memoir, drawn by Barbour from wartime letters and perhaps a journal, are interspersed with more than 400 photographic prints, photo postcards, and published halftones relevant to the text. Also present are more than 500 printed, typed, and manuscript documents and bits of ephemera preserved by Barbour: division and regimental orders, memoranda, reports, and plans; handwritten notes from the battery commanding officer; fire orders and reports of fire; and drawings of sections of the front. MSN/MN 0506-1-B to MSN/MN 0506-4-B; MSN/MN 0506-5 to MSN/MN 0506-7. [Finding Aid]

  • MARY HUNTINGTON MORGAN DIARY. 1896. 1 vol., 22 cm., 160 leaves, with 299 pages of manuscript in Morgan's hand. A diary of some 80,000 words for the year 1896, kept by Mary Huntington Morgan of Washington DC and Bridgeport, Connecticut. The author was the 23-year-old unmarried daughter of Daniel Nash Morgan, then serving as Treasurer of the United States under President Grover Cleveland. The diary provides an extended account of Mary Morgan's personal and social life in Washington, including her attendance at official government events. MSN/MN 8008-1-B to MSN/MN 8008-2. [Finding Aid]

  • PITTSBURGH OUTSIDER JOURNALS. 1922-1932. 3 vols.; 22, 20, and 20 cm.; 161, 94, and 94 leaves; with 322, 190, and 190 pages of content. Three idiosyncratic journals of deeply cynical leftist political and social commentary, written by an unidentified Irish-American resident of Pittsburgh, ca. 1922-1932. The journals treat local, national, and international affairs, contemporaneous and historical: there is much on World War I, Ireland, and American politics generally. A good deal of the commentary is in the form of verse, mock dialogue, or jokes and riddles, some in Irish dialect. The volumes are illustrated with around 750 drawings, many of them portraits. MSN/MN 8013-1-B to MSN/MN 8013-3-B. [Finding Aid]

  • ABRAHAM ROSEN DIARY. 1917-1919. 3 vols; 10 x 15, 9 x 14, and 15 cm.; 36, 46, and 220 leaves; with 70, 37, and 211 pages of manuscript. A World War I soldier's diary written by Abraham Rosen (1898-1960), whose family had emigrated from Bessarabia (Russia) to Philadelphia in 1908. Rosen served in the 110th Infantry Regiment (28th Division) of the U. S. Army from March 1917 to May 1919, first in Co. M and subsequently in the Signal Platoon of Headquarters Co. The 110th Infantry arrived in France in May 1918 and served in many of the major campaigns of that year, including the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Two initial volumes, covering December 1917 to March 1918, were written during training at Camp Hancock, Georgia. A third, much longer volume (perhaps 25,000 words) covers Rosen's last months of training, his wartime service in France, and the occupation. Rosen was a Jew, and his persecution by other military personnel is a feature of the narrative. MSN/MN 8014-1 to MSN/MN 8014-4.

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