Zenanah Gilbert diaries

Diary, 1805-1809 (Box 1, folder 1)
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The collection consists of the diaries of Zenanah Gilbert and Dora Gilbert Tompkins; very little else is known about either woman. Gilbert was born in Rome, New York on January 31, 1784; her family ran a guest house in town. Tompkins was born in Knoxville, Illinois, and was a schoolteacher. Gilbert's diary is dated 1805-1809 and describes the typical life of a young woman in the early part of the nineteenth century: household chores, social events, the simple joys of friendship, the depression of being alone. The diary has been written in a code created by Gilbert but has been deciphered and transcribed.

The diary of Tompkins contrasts that of Gilbert, describing her studies as well as her lessons prepared for her students; however, she too enjoyed the simple joys derived from friendship and bike riding. Tompkins mentions the explosion aboard the U.S.S. Maine on February 25, 1898 and is fearful that war is imminent. Miscellaneous items in the collection include a sample of Henry S. Chaffer's handwriting and fragments of the Gilbert family pedigree.

Time Period: 
MC 1998.9