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.

    Pages

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    He is considerably browner than he was when I last saw him. and looks much healthier; he is now quite well and strong. and finds that the life of a farmer suits him at last as far as health is concerned. He staid some time and after he left I called on Mary Reeve and she accompanied me to Mr Reginol's flower garden whither I went to see about some orange blossoms that Harriet wished to purchase ^ on wednesday Leaving there we passed through Fourth st and called at Kate Skinner's on another errand. We were therefore obliged to pass Mr Coffin's drug store and at the time in the doorway happened to be standing Mr [Dr?]. Coffin & Mr H. Hudson. We passed of course with a bow. Mary accompanied us home. Tuesday.. pleasant. Early in the morning Mrs [Dr?], a colored woman from N. [New] Haven and an old friend of the family, arrived to assist at the wedding bringing with her the wedding cake which was all made in N. [New] H. [Haven] by our old cook Ellen Thompson. Hannah Hudson called in the afternoon. I went out of an errand and Henry called very soon after my return. I felt badly when he informed me that he does not now enjoy religion. He says he has given it up entirely but I will still pray that the Lord will lead him back in the right way. _ Mr Murphy took tea and spent the evening here. What a glorious moonlight evening it was __ one could do nothing but enjoy it. Harriet employed most of the P.M. in packing her trunk Harriet answered Kate's letter in the evening. Mr & Mrs Hudson called.

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    June 30th. Sweetly dawned Harriet's wedding day and save that it was rather warm a more pleasant one could hardly have been desired. We were all up and [Dr?] at an early hour. I wswept the halls before breakfast and Harriet busied herself in making boquets [bouquets] for the parlors and dressing room. At the table she chatted away as usual perhaps a little faster than common and neve seemed in beter spirits. Mr Murphy came over with his trunk in the course of the morning and brought for Hattie a beautiful large pincushion from Matilda Corning and a sweet hood from Sarah Brinckerhoff. Douglas was in good spirits and looked uncommonly well. Starr and Annie arrived before dinner. Starr brought with him a basket of rare and beautiful flowers, and Annie a beautiful bag, and the wedding nightcap [O-oh!] all wrought by her own skilful fingers. It was a pleasant little party that sat down to the dinner table, though it was not at all surprising that neither Hattie nor Douglas seemed to have a very good appetite. The rest of us, however, did ample justice to the good cheer set before us. Immediately after dinner we all scattered to our several rooms to dress as there was

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    no time to lose. Annie dressed the bride and while we were all hurrying as fast as possible Cousin [Dr?] arrived from New Haven. There was a hasty though affectionate greeting. a wondering why she did not come before then she too hastened to make what needed alterations there were in her toilet. Carrie and I were soon ready and went down to meet the company who had already begun to arrive. Aunt Graves presented the bride with a silver fruit knife, and Mary Emma gave her a handsome bag with some verses of her own composition written for the occasion. It was almost tthree o'clock the hour appointed for the ceremony when suddenly in almost as little time as it takes to write it the hitherto bright sky was darkened and a violent thunder-storm swept over passing almost as quickly as it came. Every thing seemed so bright and clear, no one entertained the remotest idea of rain, but in five minutes it was pouring down as if preparatory to a second flood and in ten more was gone. The suddenness and the rapidity with which it came and went were remarkable, just at the hour too -- leaving us in doubt whether to consider it as a good or a bad omen but not being at all superstitious we did not take this into very serious consideration. I t had the good affect however of settling the dust, and slightly cooled the atmosphere, but several who were on their way hither

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    were caught in the shower and as many more were prevented from coming at all supposing that they would be too late, butHarriet unwilling to disappoint any one deferred the ceremony till half an hour later. Many came after the storm, our little parlors were ^ soon filled mostly with our relatives, and Harriet's and Mr Murphy's most intimate friends. About a dozenof Mr Murphy's classmates from the Seminary were here also. At exactly half past three the two came down stairs and entered the front parlor alone and took their places. How lovely they looked! always fine looking I never saw either of them look so handsome before Harriet was pale but calm, Annie said that Mr Murphy looked saucy, but I could detect no other expression on his fine [Dr?] [Dr?] that of exulting but thankful happiness. The bride was dressed in a plain, drab colored travelling ^ dress fitting closely, and setting off finely her beautiful figure, with white undersleeves, white kid gloves, and orange blossoms in her hair. Neither of them seemed in the least embarrassed, probally all other thought were forgotten in the solemnity of the occasion. Father performed the ceremony. I had hard work to preserve my composure for the tears would start to my eyes in spite of all my efforts as I kept my earnest gaze fixed upon them, and during the prayer I covered my face in my handkercheif [handkerchief]and wept.

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    I fear but natural ones. Dear Hattie, her mission to us is ended and nobly has she performed her part, now she goes to gladden the heart and home of another. There she cannot fail to be a blessing and indeed that she will be wherever she goes and hand in hand with a husband whose whole heart is bent on doing good, may they have many years to carry on their blessed labors God bless you, dearest brother and sister ___ my heart is full, I can say no more but once again -- God bless you!

    After the ceremony Alexander Culbert led [Dr?] forward to salute the bride -- many were pressing toward them with affectionate kisses and congratulations, and amid the general gaiety I soon recovered my serenity and enjoyed the afternoon extremely. The bride and groom took their departure at half-pass four in order to reach the Albany boat by six o'clock the hour for leaving. Elisabeth left with them as she returned to New Haven to-night much against our wishes. After they had gone the company gradually dispersed, Starr and Annie alone remaining to tea but returned to N. Y. [New York] in the course of the evening. A more lovely evening could not have been desired for a bridal journey; the moon never seemed to have shone more brightly or more sweetly and [Dr?] perhaps thought two sailing up the majestic Hudson, and by the aid of Luna's kind beams enjoying to the full the rich beauty and granduer of the surrounding scenery

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