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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    May Emma Jocelyn

    November 27th' 1851

    "Now, is the constant syllable ticking from the clock of time, Now, is the watchword of the wise. Now is on the banner of the prudent. Our cares are all today; our joys are all today; And in one little word, our life, what is it, but - today?"

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    Journal Continued

    Thanksgiving

    Thursday, November 27th 1851

    Mild & Pleasant

    We all rose early. Father, Carrie, Cornelius, Fred & I attended our church in the morning. Father preached On our return home we found that Mr Murphy, Stan and Annie, Albert and Mary Emma had already arrived we having resolved to follow the old New England fashion of collecting all the family together for a good Thanksgiving dinner. This was soon served, and we all did abundant justice to Mother's good cooking. Turkies puddings pies &c dissappearing in short order. Then we remained quite a long time at the table chatting in quite a merry humour We toasted Father as the best looking man at the table which I thought true. After dinner Annie presented Mother with a very pretty cap, and the children insisted on giving some of us a sleigh ride on the ice in the back yard. The remainder of the afternoon passed very pleasantly indeed. We had some very good singing, and Albert entertained us by speaking some of the pieces that he was accustomed to repeat on like occasions in boyhood About seven o'clock we commenced singing some of the sweet old hymns that we had been accustomed to sing from the time we could remember. How sadly yet sweetly those [plaintive?] notes recalled the past, and brought back the Thanksgiving days when Grandmother and [Uncle's?] family united with ours in celebrating it.

    [text written on left margin] Father read the [ninetieth?] Psalm in a very solemn and impressive manner and after making some very appropriate remarks was followed by Mr Murphy in prayer Supper at [eight?]. Our pleasant little family party broke up about ten; Stan and Annie Albert and Mary Emma returning to the city

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    Friday, November 28th Rainy. Was not very well. Caroline, with Kate Hudson, and Mary [Best?] spent the day at an Anti-Slavery fair in Brooklyn. George Hudson spent the evening with them and brought Carrie home about twelve o'clock and the young lady woke me from sound slumbers to give me an account of her adventures which I was to sleepy to think as interesting as she evidently considered them. In the meantime Harriet and I had had a very pleasant day together in chatting and sewing. Hannah [Wilde?] called early in the morning. Evening in reading.

    Saturday. Warm and Pleasant. Soon after breakfast I called on Hannah [Wilde?] and Mary Reeve. Hannah wanted me to go to the Fair with her very much so finally I consented. It was nearly noon when we started. We took the stage on Fourth at which set us down at the door of Montague Hall, Brooklyn where the Fair is held. It was mostly [superintended] by colored ladies. Our design in coming was to assist by taking tables. We did so and sold about eight or ten dollars worth in the course of the evening. The ladies were very polite to us. The boys came over in the evening. Doctor Remmington made a speech. We left about half past eight. After I reached home I read the National Era and retired.

    Sunday. Pleasant. Attended our church in the morning and evening Mr. Whiting preached in the morning.

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