Mary Emma Jocelyn diary, 1851-1852.

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  • UPenn Ms. Codex 1770
  • Born in New Haven, Connecticut to antebellum abolistionist, clergyman, and engraver Simeon Smith Jocelyn (1799-1879) and Harriet Starr (d. 1877). The Jocelyn family moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1844 where Simeon Smith Jocelyn was installed as the pastor of the First Congregational Church. Mary Emma was the fifth of eight children born to the Jocelyns. Her siblings are Harriette Luceannah (1823-), Simeon Starr (1825-), Albert Higley (1827-), Caroline Eliza (1830-1868), Nathaniel (1835-1852), Cornelius Buell (1838-1864), and Frederick Henry (1841-).
  • This volume contains the diary of Mary Emma Jocelyn spanning ten months from November 1851 to September 1852. The first entry in the diary was recorded on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 1851. At the top of the page is written "Journal continued." Jocelyn made daily entries in her diary and recorded her life with her family and friends while living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. A brief note on the weather begins each entry. Jocelyn described her daily activities including sewing, reading, seeing family and friends, and distributing tracts. She attended church on Sundays chiefly at her father's church, the First Congregational Church, and singing class with her sisters Carrie (Caroline) and Harriet. She was often visiting or receiving friends including Mary Reeve and Hannah Hudson among others. Jocelyn attended lectures and events at the Lyceum in Brooklyn. She also visited her sister in Brooklyn and mentions ferrying over. The Jocelyn family and the Hudson family appeared to be close friends and the Jocelyn siblings spent much time with brothers George and Henry and their sister Hannah. Jocelyn wrote often of Henry Hudson and worried about his crisis of faith. Major events in the family are described throughout the ten-month period, including the joyous wedding of her sister Harriet to Douglas Murphy on June 30, 1852 and the death of her brother Nathaniel (Natty) in August 1852. Thirty pages in the diary were dedicated to Natty's illness and death. This lengthy entry is dated September 27, 1852 and describes the family's anguish and grief over Natty's passing. Other notable entries include her father Simeon's travels, her lengthy description of a dream, helping a young Irish immigrant, her interest in an essay by Edgar Allen Poe, and the celebration of the founding of Williamsburg in January 1852. The diary is in chronological order from November 27, 1851 through April 1, 1852. After April 1 the diary is arranged as follows: July 8 to August 8, 1852; 23 pages dated September 27, 1852; April 29 to June 8, 1852; April 3 to April 28, 1852; June 9 to July 5, 1852. Bound in at the end are seven pages continuing the September 27th entry. Laid in the volume is a printed flier for an exhibition and sale at Montague Hall, Brooklyn for "articles offered for sale at the Anti Slavery Fair" November 30, 1851 with notes on the verso by Mary Emma Jocelyn.

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    not decide which I thought best. The colored man of course was not so well educated as the other two, but his remarks were witty, touching and original and his misfortune increased the interest he excited. The place was crowded at least half- an-hour before the meeting commenced. It continued about three hours. On leaving we met a number of friends Starr and Annie and all the Scheuet? family were present Even Maggie was there two. She was rather pale but was as pretty and smiling as ever. Mr Branch dares not disturb her and we hope ere long she will be entirely free from him. Mr Marshall accompanied Mary Jane.

    Mr Joseph and Samuel Wilde were on the boat in which we returned. Joseph walked up with Natty and I while Mr J -- walked directly in a line with us on the other side of the way, as regardless of appearances and of other folks' opinion as you please.

    Reached home much fatigued. Spent the evening in reading, and finished "The Wide, Wide World".

    It is a beautiful story, but I need not stop to commened it, its praises being duly sung by the papers all over the land. It did me good -- I closed it with a humbling sense of my own short-comings in the way of duty, and a heart-felt prayer that the impression might be abiding. Harriet attended Mrs Holbrook's funeral. The brides of [courn?] were present, dressed in deep mourning. Poor girls! But a few weeks ago when a large company were there assembled on a far different

    [Sideways along gutter edge] occasion, in their hour of happiness, how little did they dream that in that hour would so soon take place the funeral [solemnities?] of her whose guidance and affectionate sympathy they now so greatly need!

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    Wednesday.. Rainy. Spent the day quietly and pleasantly at home. Had made an engagement with Mary and Josy? to attend the National Temperance Anniversary but none of us were able to go. Evening in writing and reading.

    Thursday.. Damp. At home occupied with my usual duties. Mary Reeve made a long call in the afternoon, she will leave W-- on Saturday morning for a week's visit to Jamaica Evening in knitting a tidy and writing.

    The coffee which we sent for nearly a week ago, and of which we are greatly in want, was to-day brought to us by one of teh men in the employ of Wilde & Co, Mr I-- who heretofore took the charge of delivering it with his own hands, having refused to brint it, and probably would have neglected it entirely, had not Nathaniel called on him this morning and pretty forcibly called it to his recollection What particular reason he has for his silly conduct I am quite ignorant, but our one or two coffeeless breakfasts were laughingly laid to my door. Even Father could not forbear to smile. I-- is evidently provoked at someting -- he [put?] me with a most ungracious frown last Sunday morning.

    Friday.. Cool and cloudy. Delivered an errand in [First of?] in the afternoon and called on the Culberts, and on Mrs Tucker.

    The latter has recently received some good news from Mrs Leager and her daughter, and says that I may daily expect a letter Dr Finlay, who by the way, accompanied me across the verry on Tuesday, spent the evening here much to Carrie's annoyance Joseph Dickinson also made a long call on her ladyship in the afternoon.

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    In the morning received a long, good letter from Kate H. She is much pleased with her new abode and is very anxious to have Carrie and I come and see it as soon as they get settled and make her a good long visit -- six weeks she says -- not quite so long as I guess Miss Katie, if we come at all. For certain reasons neither Carrie, nor I are particularly desirous of accepting the invitation and have hardly made up our minds what to do about it. However she must excuse us for the present as it is quite certain that we cannot leave home now. -- Old Mr Hudson, Katie's grandfather from the east end of this island, who has been in N.Y. attending the anniversaries this last week made a long call soon after breakfast, and assisted at family prayers. He is a very pious old gentleman, and spoke of Henry's conversion with much feelings. In his estimation it is a greater gain than if he had returned enriched with all the gold in the mines of California. His conversation was very interesting and during his stay I sat, tidy in hand, listening attentively. Carrie and I employed the morning in putting down a carpet in our room.

    Where were my wits when I commenced to write to-day's account? Of the afternoon and evening I wrote first bringing in the morning afterwards, but it is natural I suppose to mention the most important things first.

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    Saturday. Very Rainy. Occupied with my usual duties. Mr Murphy took tea with us. Read and wrote in the evening.

    Sunday. Pleasant. In the morning Natty and I attended divine service at Central Hall. Rev Henry Ward Beecher preached from His principal topic was selfishness, and the impossibility of a selfish person obtaining true happiness. It is the first time I have ever heard him preach and was highly pleased, the house was crowded with eager and attentive listeners In the afternoon attended S. [Singing] School and preaching of our church. Father preached from Galatians 1:15-16. Mr Joseph I-- walked home with me. Evening in reading

    Monday. Pleasant. Thunder storms in the afternoon. Wrote to Kate Hudson in the evening. Retired early.

    Tuesday. Pleasant. Mother and Harriet went to N.Y. to buy new parlor carpets and to make calls -- were gone nearly all day. In the morning Carrie made an unusual effort and called on the Culberts. They persuaded her to stay to dinner and kept her till the middle of the afternoon I felt quite anxious about her before [she?] returned. Millie and I were left alone together most all day. Poor little Millie! time hangs heavy on his hands! Went out of an errand before tea. Mr Murphy spent the evening here.

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    Wednesday May 19th Rather windy and chilly. Fires were again in demand. [Lewrd?] most of teh day. Our new carpet was brought home in the afternoon. It is very pretty.

    Thursday.. Very pleasant. Cleaning was commenced againt to-day with fresh zeal. Was not very well, but assisted some. Was busy ironing muslins when Annie and her sister Margaret came to spend the day with us. I have not seen Maggie before since her marraige. She is thinner and paler than she used to be, but this seems only to heighten her beauty, and adds a touching sweetness to the ever gentle and winning expression on her countenance. She is indeed a lovely and beautiful girl, but how sad to think that to these qualities, generally considered so desirable, are owing the sorrows that so cruelly embitter her youthful days! -- Soon after their arrival sister Annie changed her dress and assisted us in making our new carpet. The day passed very pleasantly. Tass? came over with Father and Mr Murphy to tea. A short time before tea Harriet was seized with a violent headache and was obliged to retire. Mr Murphy made a short visit to her room before he left. Mary Jane Schunck?, Sarah Redfe?'s Mr Peter Mescroth?, and Mr Marshall called in the evening. -- Father conversed alone with Maggie sometimes It was quite late when we retired.

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