Real-Life Diaries: Life in the 1800s Revealed

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Diary of a Civil War Nurse

Amanda
Image Source: The Smithsonian

The Lady Nurse of Ward E, published in 1909, is the personal account of Amanda Akin, a nurse in the American Civil War. The book includes personal material, such as her journal entries and letters from the war, as well her later reflections on those experiences. The Smithsonian offers a in-depth and interactive look at her writings, as a part of their Albert H. Small documents gallery: The Diary of a Civil War Nurse.

Police Blotter of Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

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blotter
Images Source: National Archives and Records Administration

This centuries-old blotter entry shows the moment the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police noted the assassination of the American president, on April 14th, 1865:

“At this hour the melancholy intelligence of the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, President of the U.S., at Fords Theater was brought to this office, and information obtained from the following persons goes to show that the assassin is a man named J. Wilks [sic] Booth…”

Mary Ann and Septimus Palairet’s Niagara Honeymoon

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Image Source: Art Tattler

One part of the Morgan Library’s online exhibition “The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives” displays the journals of newlyweds Mary Ann and Septimus Palairet, who travelled from England to America for their honeymoon. This entry gives their impressions of American transportation (“a very strange looking affair”) along with a sketch of the locomotive they took on their way to New York.

We wonder which of our journal entries people will find fascinating to read in the coming years!

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