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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    Thursday. Pleasant but cold. Mrs Otis and Miss Stanley called in the evening Sarah and I attended Lyceum with Mrs? Miss? Carrie went as usual with Hugh. Friday. Cloudy. The ground was covered with snow. In the afternoon Sarah, Caroline, and I attended Dr Benton's lecture on Psychology. We became very much interested. Mary Reeve called in our absence, and came around to [the?] lecture to see us. After the lecture Sarah, Mary, and I called on Hannah W. Mrs Hallock, and Kate Hudson. In the evening, Hatty?, Sarah and I attended Dr Benton's lecture. It was very amusing and exciting. We did [not?] reach home till about eleven. Found Mr Murphy sick. Saturday. Snowy. In the afternoon, Harriet, Carrie, Sarah and I attended Dr Benton's lecture. Annie Culbert called, but not finding us at home came round to Central Hall and staid a short with us. Sarah and I went into Grand st after lecture and did a little shopping. Sunday. Snowed a little in the morning. Sarah and I attended the Babtist [sic] church, and heard a very good sermon from Mr Rhees? the minister. Attended our church in the afternoon. Evening at home. Monday. Pleasant. Was not very well. In the evening Sarah, Caroline, Hatty? and I went round to Mary R's. Joseph, Hannah, and her friend Emma Horing? were there and this evening [passed?] very pleasantly indeed. We returned about eleven.

    [continued in left side margin:] The Cuthberts, Ellen Dickinson and Mary Willet called. P.M.

    Last edit 10 months ago by NEWeather
    p. 27
    Needs Review

    p. 27

    Tuesday. Pleasant but bitter cold. Mrs Warner and Mary Reeve called in the afternoon. Sarah, Caroline and Natty spent the evening with the Dickinsons. I was not well enough to accompany them. Before they left Sarah and I spent some time together in singing. Wednesday. Jan. 14th, Excessively cold. We seem surrounded with ice, and cannot keep any water in our rooms. We spend much time in trying to get warm and to keep warm. In the afternoon Mrs Hallum a cousin of Mother's from the city made a long call, and set us to wondering how she could come so far on such a cold day, yet in the evening we all wrapped up warmly and marched off to singing school. We had a pleasant time and returned bringing quite a little company with us who staid [sic] some time. Mr Murphy was also here. Thursday. Weather the same. Mary Reeve and Mrs Wells called in the afternoon. I wrote in Sarah's album. Before tea I suddenly became very ill and was obliged to give up the idea of attending Lyceum. The Dickinsons called as usual, and all went but Harriet and I. H- was obliged to retire from the effects of a severe headache. I soon followed her example, but lay awake. [til?] the girls came laughing up to my room to relate their adventures of which they always seem to meet with an abundance, wherever they go. They also gave me a glowing account of the lectures which they thought very fine.

    Last edit 8 months ago by AprilDuclos
    p. 28
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    Friday Jan. 16th. Snowed some. Mr Wilde, Mr Stearns, George and Kate Hudson called in this afternoon. George carried off a ring of mine. [Hatty?Natty?] brought some letters to me from Joseph W_ written by Samuel. They were very good, but announced that by the advice of his friends he had concluded to give up study and return to his business. I was rather surprised, but concluded that Sam had a right to do as he pleased, and it will make no difference to me. He wrote rather despondingly, said he did not wish to give up studying, but that he did so by the advice of his uncle whom he has great confidence. Joseph W_ spent the evening with us. Saturday. Cloudy but not so cold. Soon after dinner Sarah and I called at Annie Culbert's. She was not home but we were pleasantly entertained by Elizabeth. After leaving there we went into Fourth st where we met Culbert and all stopped awhile at the Equestrian Institute. After that Sarah and I called on Mary [illegible?] and made an engagement to go with her to the Baptist Church tomorrow. We then set out for Kate's. Met George Hudson on the way and he went with us. Kate Hudson persuaded us much against any inclination to go up into Henry's room. Mr Murphy disapproved so much of our doing so before that I though it must be really improper. I found Henry sitting up in a chair, though still very feeble.

    [written in the left margin parallel to main text:] Sarah received a letter from her mother requesting her to come home immediately as they have decided to move out west in April and there is much to do before.

    Last edit 10 months ago by NEWeather
    p. 29
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    He said something that made me feel almost sorry that I had objected to seeing him, and I concluded that as "circumstances alter cases", it is better to rely afar our own judgement sometimes, than to be entirely guided by the opinion of others, even of those older and more experienced than ourselves: for the wisest and the best often make mistakes, and as no one can feel exactly like another person, not be placed in exactly the same circumstances, we must learn to form our own judgement unassisted. This I feel more and more every day of my life, and the more so as it is natural for me to distrust myself, and look up to others for advice and support in any emergency. But I feel that I can never be all that I wish to be till I have conquered this failing, and can walk right and walk alone without leaning in those, who at best are, like me, struggling upward to the light, but too often stumbling in the darkness. Oh how often I wish that I was perfect! Then I could not err! When will the scales be taken from our eyes that we may see clearly, the right and true in every case. But I am wondering this brief dissertation was [scabby?scally?] called forth by a trifle, but it is what I am daily reminded of and while it was before me I thought that I would write it and perhaps in later years, when I hope to be very different from what I am now, it will be interesting and pleasant to look back to the thoughts and feelings of the present.

    [written vertically in the left margin the following:] He said something to-night that I did not like, but I hope he spoke carelessly and [unmeaningly?] I wish he would not talk so for it a careless observer it makes him appear as though he cared nothing for the right when I know he does and that he is putting the worst [?] out. He made an engagement to accompany us to church to-morrow afternoon.

    Last edit 10 months ago by NEWeather
    p. 30
    Needs Review

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    Sunday Jan 18th Snowed hard all day. Sarah and I felt disappointed very much as we of course were unable to keep either of our engagements. The day passed pleasantly at home, however, mostly in reading. Mr Murphy came over in the afternoon, and added much to the cheerful enjoyment of the evening. We sang and talked till near tea _ then retired. Monday. Bright. Fine sleighing. Sarah, Carrie and I practised vocal music. G. Hudson spent the afternoon very pleasantly with us. On account of the cold we all spent the evening at home. Tuesday. "The coldest day we have had for thirteen years", said the papers. It is the coldest day, that I can recollect. Sarah spent the day with her relatives in New York, [?]. She thinks of returning home to-morrow. _ I made a light silk apron. _ Sarah came back about dusk. About seven A?] Daniel & George Hudson called and accompanied [with?] us to the Culbert's. It was a freezing walk, but pleasant company, and the delightful evening we spent on arriving there, made ample amends. Annie took a great fancy to Sarah, and E.D. was [quite?] attentive to the same lady. Besides Elizabeth, [Marjorie?] and Annie, were their three brother Alexander, [Nat?] and Isaiah, who with ourselves and Dr and Mrs [Ach?] comprised the company. Mr Murphy and Nat were [ex?] but the difficulty in crossing the ferries prevented them

    [written vertically in left margin, the following:] We came home about twelve. The river frozen so completely to-day that many walked from [?] to New York on the ice and back. Many of the ferry boats ever obliged to stop running. Mary R. spent most of the P.M. with me.

    Last edit 8 months ago by AprilDuclos
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