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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    Thursday July 1st July weather in eanest. Was not very well from the effects of eating but a very small piece of wedding cake. It was too rich for me. Lay down nearly all the morning. Harriet's Sabbath School class spent most of the afternoon with me as H. [Harriet] had requested them last Sunday to do so, She wishes me to take her place to them now that she has gone and I shall endeavor to do so. I treated the children to as much lemonade and wedding-cake as they wanted, talked with them and let them play in the yard where they enjoyed some fine runs. They seemed much pleased with their new teacher and I was pleased with them but little Alice Wilde is my favorite. She is a sweet child, and a perfect little lady, and considering some peculiar disadvantages she has had to contend with her sweetness of disposition and manner seems indeed remarkable. Among the wildest rocks the sweetest flowers may grow, thought I as sitting in the back piazza I watch her gracefully sporting with the other children in the yard below with an air of [Dr?] superiority in every movement; yet I looked upon them all with an eye of affection, and an earnest prayer rose from my heart that to them I might come as a blessing. The children left just before tea.

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    Friday July 2nd Very pleasant [Dr?] Fathe accompanied me to the ferry about ten o'clock. I crossed at Division avenue ferry, made a long call on Mrs Kent in Christic st and spent the day with Mary Emma who is now boarding in Houston st near Broadway. Left before six, reached home in time for tea, and attended prayer meeting with Father in the evening [Dr?] [Dr?]. W. walked home by my side notwithstanding I had Father's arm and was perfectly silent. Father invited in, he hesitated, ascended the steps but as I did not second the invitation he did not come in. Saturday. Warm. Wrote to Sarah Gonsalves in the morning and evening. Called on Mary Reeve in the afternoon. Mary Willet called. --- Called on Mrs Sylvester in South 6th street with a message from father. Was very much pleased with her indeed Sunday July 4th A lovely day --- the heat of the preceding week cooled down by the gentlest breeze to the exact point of comfort. Attended our church all day and in the afternoonwas duly installed in my new post as teacher to Harriet's former class. Joseph W. walked home with me in the morning. In the evening attended monthly concert. Sarah and Hannah Wilde sat- with me and accompanied me home.

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    Monday July 5th 1852. The glorious Fourth happening on sabbath, this day was celebrated instead. At midnight commenced the firing of crackers, pistols and torpedos, of which the latter article seemed to take a great fancy to our chamber windows, and kept poor Carrie awake half of the night, but I having attended church three times the day before and s. [sunday] school besides, retired so much fatiqued that I slept soundly in spite of the racket. It had rained a little just before morning, settled the dust and cooled the atmosphere so as far as the weather was concerned the day fully equalled the hopes of all the good people who delight to show their patriotic zeal by making the most of this great national holiday. But as for me, though it was from no want of patriotism, I spent the day quietly at home, adding four more pages to the already closely filled ^ sheet of saturday to Sarah, spent an hour or two in selecting pieces for a scrap book, and read considerably in the afternoon. Carrie spent it mostly in the same way. Natty went on an excursion to Staten Island and was absent till tea-time Father spent the day in going about his Master's work .--- was with no to dinner.___ a great thing to us as it very seldom occurs except on sunday. Joseph and Mary called in the evening and accompanied us to see the fire works in [Dr?] [Dr?].___ they proved nothing very extraordinary

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    "What is a gift but a symbol, giving subtance to praise and esteem?" "His claim be strongest to thy help who is thrown most helplessly upon thee: Reason shall dig deepest in the night, and fancy fly most free.

    "No soul had he for Nature --- no genial sympathies; No books he loved __ a vancant [vacant] mind that looked through filmy eyes. Wisdom and beauty and high worth to him were shadows vain, And shimmered but in spectral dreams about his cobwebbed x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x brain. A shadow falls upon your halls - a ghost shall haunt your rooms, Where solitude and emptiness pile up their dreary glooms. I see you crouching o'er your hearth -- a prey to nameless fears, And withering like a leafless tree, while fall your freezing years; The past shall [Dr?] no comfort, the future breathe no hope-- And in the heaven that thickens o'er your heart, no door shall ope." C.P. Crunch. " In vain, in vain! The lyrw is mute, Its chords are snapt in twain; You cannot string that silent lute, Nor clasp those chords again. "

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