Diary of a New York Girl: Knowledge Keepers Home Library Series
Announcing Book 5 in my series of history reprints! This book was originally published as Village Life in America in 1913 by Caroline Richards Clarke. It is the diary of a girl who grew up in Canadaigua, New York. Her first entry was at the age of 10.
The diary is such a perfect snapshot of time in a small New York town in the 19th century. The diary begins in 1852. The author shares about school days, fashion, church life, and childhood, and as the years go by, she shares more of American life. As she grows older, Clarke gives us glimpses of politics, culture, and more as Lincoln is elected and the nation goes to war.
There is no history like the kind written by those who lived it, saw it, and made it. I publish just this kind of book because of its simplicity and charm. It’s so important to understand the thoughts and actions of generations before us, whether we agree with them or not.
Diary of a New York Girl is perfect for all ages. I recommend it for anyone interested in diaries and journals, but also for those studying America in the 19th century. Her story takes place before, during, and after the Civil War, and would make a great accompaniment to a reading of Harriet Tubman’s life, Abraham Lincoln’s biography, and stories of westward migration.
Related Post: 19th Century homeschool history
Just for fun, here are a couple of snippets
1852: We asked Grandmother if we could have some hoop skirts like the seminary girls and she said no, we were not old enough. When we were downtown Anna bought a reed for 10 cents and ran it into the hem of her underskirt and says she is going to wear it to school to-morrow. I think Grandmother will laugh out loud for once, when she sees it, but I don’t think Anna will wear it to school or anywhere else. She wouldn’t want to if she knew how terrible it looked.
Monday, April 3: 1854 I got up this morning at quarter before six o’clock. I then read my three chapters in the Bible, and soon after ate my breakfast, which consisted of ham and eggs and buckwheat cakes. I then took a morning walk in the garden and rolled my hoop. I went to school at quarter before 9 o’clock. Miss Clark has us recite a verse of scripture in response to roll call and my text for the morning was the 8th verse of the 6th chapter of Matthew, “Be ye not therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him.” We then had prayers. I then began to write my composition and we had recess soon after. In the afternoon I recited grammar, wrote my dictation lesson and Dictionary lesson. I was up third in my Dictionary class but missed two words, and instead of being third in the class, I was fifth. After supper I read my Sunday School book, “A Shepherd’s Call to the Lambs of his Flock.” I went to bed as usual at ten minutes to 8 o’clock.
March 4, 1861: President Lincoln was inaugurated to-day.
March 5: I read the inaugural address aloud to Grandfather this evening. He dwelt with such pathos upon the duty that all, both North and South, owe to the Union, it does not seem as though there could be war!
April: We seem to have come to a sad, sad time. The Bible says, “A man’s worst foes are those of his own household.” The whole United States has been like one great household for many years. “United we stand, divided we fall!” has been our watchword, but some who should have been its best friends have proven false and broken the bond. Men are taking sides, some for the North, some for the South. Hot words and fierce looks have followed, and there has been a storm in the air for a long time.
This edition includes the photos published with the original. I have not changed the text in any way. My additions include footnotes for some words and phrases, and both of President Lincoln’s inaugural addresses, as they are part of the story Caroline tells.
Knowledge Keepers Bookstore
You can get this book on Amazon or at my online bookstore. Be sure to get all of my republished titles. I am passionate about keeping the old history alive in the face of revisionist history and cancellations all around. While our modern education system, our culture, and the media try to tell us who in the past was good or bad, I want to encourage everyone to read the writings and observations of past generations. We don’t have to like or agree with what they said or did, but we should definitely learn from it instead of erasing it.
Join me in preserving history in printed form. Make room in your home for a library, one shelf at a time. Keep history alive. Pass it on to your children and grandchildren. Buy up old books. Read them.
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