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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    Tuesday.. Rainy. Occupied the morning in making [mottoes?]. Very busy also in the afternoon and evening. Mr Murphy spent the evening here - Heard that H. was better.

    Wednesday.. Foggy and drizzling. Arose early and before break- fast escorted by Frederic I made my way through the mud and rain to Mrs Lee's (our washerwoman) house with a [tidy?] that I was very anxious to have her do up immediately. I had expected that Sarah would come today but as the weather was so unpleasant and as it was growing late I gave her up. She came at last however and we greeted each other as usual with a kiss and a hearty laugh. Then followed a rapid detail of what had transpired since we parted which whether merry or sad pleasant or disagreable seemed only to make each other laugh and then of course we had to wonder what made us act so foolish and to laugh at that. Finally Sarah's things were taken off and put away and we adjourned to the dining - room to see the rest of the family. The afternoon passed pleasantly and busily. In the evening Father read an impressive sermon from Dwight, made a short address, and prayed in a solemn & appropriate manner. We retired immediately afterward it was about ten o'clock

    "The bells sing out the Dying Year In music full of hopeful cheer. One more is ended; let us [scan?] What this dead year has done for man, And cast the New Year's horoscope In the eternal light of Hope."

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    January 1st 1852.. As if in bright contrast to the gloomy close of 1851, the first day of 1852 dawned smilingly upon us. The sun so long hidden mounted rejoicingly the blue cloudless sky, and showering its warm beams on the grateful earth, soon banished the cold and damp, and presented to us one of the loveliest winter days I have ever enjoyed. We rose early, and also at an early hour dressed to recieve our friends. The calling commenced about eleven o'clock, and was kept up pretty briskly till about five P.M. then after quite a cessation, commenced again We had [???words crossed out] between fifty and sixty calls. Mr Murphy, Mr Dickinson, and [?] passed the greater part of the evening with us. Mr Murphy presented [H?] - with a pair of cuff pins, and Carrie and I each a gold pencil. Stan? and Albert called together in the afternoon. Of course the day passed delightfully; I enjoyed it fully. The young men seemed in high spirits and made themselves generally agreable, and we girls had merriment enough of our own to fill up the pauses whenever they occurred. We made some new acquaintances to-day, and also missed some old friends. The custom of making and receiving calls is not quite so fashionable as it once was, and the gents all said that the ladies complained of the small num- ber of calls. George H. called with E. Daniel & brother.

    [text continues on left center margin:] George says that Henry is better. [?] [?] [this?] morning for Boston & Portland on important business.

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    Friday.. January 2nd Pleasant. Mr Murphy who had staid over night spent the morning with us. Miss [H?] & Mr M. Stearns Misses E & I Waterman, Mrs Cook, Miss H. Wilde & Miss Emma Horing? called also several of Harriet's Sunday School scholars. Mother called on the Hudsons and found H - much worse. - Hannah Wilde gave us an account of Mr Dias' insolent proceedings at the singing school one evening in the abscence of Mr Warner, at which I was so indignant that it was quite a while before I recovered my composure. - Sarah and I made quite a long call on Mary R. Joseph has presented his little intended with a beautiful gold watch. A New Year's present. Mr Murphy spent the evening with us.

    Saturday. Cloudy. Sarah and I called at the Hudson's in the morning. George opened the door. He spoke to us cheerfully, but he was pale, and his eyes were red, as if by watching and weeping. He said that he had been up all night with Henry, who had suffered very much. Mrs Hudson took me aside into another room, and told me that they had but little hopes of his life. The thought of the dying youth affected me much, but after asking a few questions I left them quite composed I could not however restrain my feelings when I reached home though I would rather have done so. Poor Henry It seemed too bad to die under such circumstances, though I felt that he could lose nothing in dying.

    [text continued in left margin:] Sent word to Father about H. as he had requested me to do in case he was worse Miss Dillingham called, also Mr ?. Corning

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    Sunday, January 4th It had snowed all night, and a rainy afternoon followed a damp cloudy morning. Sarah, Nathaniel and I attended Mr McLane's church in the morning. In the afternoon we went down to "our little santuary" (as [I?] - would express himself) and heard a very good sermon from Brother Douglas We all staid at home together in the evening, and passed it very pleasantly.

    Monday.. Pleasant. The birthday of the city of Williamsburg. Cannons were fired, and other demonstrations of [salisful- tions?] were given by the inhabitants, who all agreed that it was high time for the over-grown village to emerge from its obscurity and take its stand among the cities of the Empire State. The number of inhabitants is at present about [30,000?]. and is rapidly increasing. It will certainly be a city worth mentioning before long. Sarah and I spent most of the evening with Mrs Stearns. Heard that H. was better and out of danger.

    Tuesday.. Rained hard all day. We spent it pleasantly at home. Wrote to Dr Kent.

    Wednesday.. Pleasant. George Hudson called in the afternoon. Henry is better. We attended singing school in the evening ? Warner, H. Wilde & E Horing? came home with us and stopped in. Sarah, Cornelius, and I commenced studying French with Caroline. Father returned.

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