Advanced Search

Medical - Diaries]

Young woman's travel diary Boston to NJ, VT, NY, and NYC, including visits to Dartmouth College and insane asylums.

Book

[Medical] (Diary) Young woman's travel diary of a trip from Boston to New Hampshire,
Vermont, and down the Hudson River to New York City, including visits to Dartmouth College
and insane asylums.
8vo.; self-wrappers; stitched.
A lively and compelling - not to mention legible - account of about five thousand words. About
12 of the heavily written pages are dedicated to the account of their unidentified young female
author and a trip that began on May 21, 1839.
The detailed account begins with her announcement of a train trip: "Father, Mother, Jason and I
took the cars for Boston" later arriving at the Worcester Railroad Depot. The next morning "After
breakfast we all took a walk over to the 'Hospital for the Insane'... We saw a Miss Briggs and a
Miss Landers from Salem; they seemed to be great enemies to each other - Miss Landers came
and took hold of my sleeve and told me that Miss Briggs talked against her relatives and she
never knew them!"
After this pleasant sojourn the family takes the stagecoach to Brattleboro, with a kind and most
excellent driver, Mr. Twitchell, where she gives a nice description of the town, and where they
again visit the local insane asylum. She tells a compelling story related to her by Dr. Rockwell,
about one of the inmates, a "Mrs. Allen was very beautiful... she had been watching with a sick
sister, and had retired about twelve o'clock when a servant rushed into her room and informed her
that the house was on fire. She heard her children scream, and supposed they were in flames, one
of them died of the consequences of being burnt, and from that time she has lost her reason..."
They take the stage on to Walpole and Hanover where Professor Chase of Dartmouth gives them
a tour of the College Library, they dine with him, other professors and students, and the diarist
spends much of the evening playing the piano for the assembled group. They continue on to
Montpelier where they tour the state house and town, then on to Binghamton where they visit the
Bishop's daughter, and take a steamboat across Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga where they tour
the Fort, and proceed by steamship across Lake George. They take the cars to Troy, then on to
Albany and West Point, and then sail down the Hudson to New York where they stay at the Astor
House, have the unexpected pleasure of running into relatives, and visit other relatives in Harlem,
where the account ends.
The rest of the journal is devoted to verse and religious ruminations, but picks up again briefly in
1845 for a period of about a month. The diarist, now apparently the wife of a reverend and with
an infant seems to be struggling with depression, possibly postpartum. The first entry reads:
"Woke this morning feeling much depressed in spirits. Performed my devotions... My dear
husband has been called to a funereal in Litchfield... miss him more than can be expressed."
An interesting, lively, and detailed American woman's travel diary, exhibiting in part the
unidentified diarist's own evolution.

© 2011-2017 Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. All Rights Reserved.