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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    any reasons, but he said he knew what they were. Mary Reeve called in the afternoon, and accompanied us to the Hudson's, as Sarah wished to see Kate once more Mary returned with us. Hannah Wilde called. About four o'clock Sarah started for New York. Mary & I accompanied her to the ferry. Sarah wished us to cross with her but we did like to as it was so late. She seemed to think me very unkind, and would have left me without a kiss, had I not asked for one. She was either hurt or offended -- I had not time to consider which, as the boat was starting and she was obliged to leave us in haste. How unpleasant to part so. but I could not help it as a moment's reflection must have convinced her. Mary and I called on Mrs Mailler. -- Harriet Thorp?- -orn? and Mr Murphy spent the evening with us. Wednesday.. Very warm, the walking of course was nothing but mud and [spool?]. This day, chosen for the celebration of the birth of the City of Williamsburgh, was ushered by the ringing of bells and the firing of cannon. [Hope?] was closed and business suspended. Ellen Diskinson? called in the morning to invite us to come to their house in the afternoon, that we might have a better view of the procession, which was to pass through their street Accordingly after dinner Mother, Carrie, and I went. The procession was very good. The Mayor honored us with a special bow. He looked very complacent, and was

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    no doubt very well plased with all this parade. Many of the young men of the place joined the [firemen?] for the sport. I was much amused to recognize among them several of my acquaintances. The [music?] was very fine, and on the whole the procession did honor to the young city. After it had passed Carrie and I staid some time of the Dickinson's.

    Ellen and I called on Mrs Leackwood?. As we left the procession stopped at an open lot near 5th street and thirty cannons were fired. At the same time the bells pealed merrily. But the noise was deafening and we were glad to get home.

    An ox had been purchased to feast the procession, and on Monday it was paraded through the streets, decked with flowers and ribbons, but last night while those appointed for the office were peacably roasting it whole, it was forcibly taken by a Band of five hundred rowdies, dragged through the streets, and otherwise maltreated, so of course to-day there was no roast ox to grace the occasion. Those who expected to get a mouthful were very much dis-appointed.

    In the evening there was a grand supper of the Equestrian Institute. Five dollars a [ticket?]. Father and Mother attended by invitation. The Supper was followed by a ball. Carrie and I attended singing school for the last time I suppose.

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    Thursday, February 5th Pleasant. In the afternoon made a long call on Mary Reeve who leaves ________for Farmingdale to-morrow. Distributed about eighty traets.

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    Wednesday, Feb. 10th Rained all day. We, girls, had intended spending the afternoon and evening with Miss Harriet Thompson in the city but the rain of course prevented. Mr. Murphy spent the evening with Hattie. Thursday, Chilly. Spent the day at home as usual. [illegible] Dickinson called for Carrie to attend Lyceum. I did not go Joseph Wilde called on me. The Holbrooks called in the P.M. Friday. Snowed. Carrie and I spent the afternoon and took tea with the Henderson's. We had a very pleasant time Mr. Henry, who is still very weak, was troubled with the blues, and did not make his appearance, which was quite a disappointment to us. Our church prayer meeting was held at their house in the evening. Quite a number were present. Mr. George very adroitly slipped out our parlor door as Father came in the other and absented himself [illegible] the services were over, when he again made his appearance. Carrie, Nat, and I remained till near eleven o'clock. George accompanied us home. Saturday. Valentine Day. Pleasant. St. Valentine, being taken very little notice of by the grown young people to-day seems to have made himself very friendly with the little boys. They entered into the sport heart and hand, but abused the poor saint most shamefully. their numerous billet-doux being anything but loving, and even much more frequently addressed to each other rather than to the girls. Hattie, Carrie and I, however, were humoured with a few of them. Our door bell was mercilessly assailed much to the amusement of Cornelius & Fred. Received good long letter from Mary Reeve also a note from [illegible] Hearns

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    Sunday Feb. 15th. Bright overhead, but the snow which lay a foot thick on the ground, chilled the air and made it unpleasant out of doors. I attended church all day and Sunday School in the afternoon. Father preached evening at home, reading. Monday, very pleasant. Kate Hudson made a long morning call. Soon after dinner I was surprised to receive a call from Henry. He was quite feeble, seemed scarcely able to walk, and looked almost corpslike, he was so pale and thin. This appearance did not seem at all natural, but his manner was the same as ever, though perhaps more manly and easy than formerly. He is that rare, but most pleasant and interesting character a perfect gentleman! He staid about an hour. Caroline and Harriet spent this afternoon and evening in New York. After Henry had left. I employed the remaineder of the afternoon in writing to Mary Reeve. About half past seven int he evening Phineas Hudson bounded in scarcely able to contain himself for joy, with the anouncement that his father had arrived about half an hour before safely from California. We could not get this delighted boy to sit down, he was off in a moment. Father went to their house immediately to see his old friend and rejoice with them. - Well! they are all back again at last, safe and well! Three years ago many feared and some prophecied that this would never be. Three years of doubt and fear mingled with hope have [illegible], but through a thousand dangers they have returned.

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