Alexandria Library -- Special Collections

Document of the Month

May 2006

Diary of a Student in Alexandria, Virginia, May 1849-April 1850

entry for May, 1, 1849

This diary, the property of Mrs. Mary Jane Haas of Alexandria, was filmed at Alexandria Library's Lloyd House in 1986.

The transcription begins here:

May 1849

This day i (sic) commence a new month in a new book ere the Sun sets on the birth day of the Flowery month of May i wish in accordance whith (sic) custom to make my Speculations the C of T will no doubt continue to increase as will the Ark of _______ ______ Franklin _____ will probably ajourn (sic) over during this month until the Fall (.) As the last month saw the rise this will no doubt see the fall of the Knight Templars (.) My Fever about SA will i think settle down this month especially (sic) if i meet whith (sic) any encouragement in the S&S case & nothing occurs to bring me in contact whith (sic) S & A but us (?) this month is warm it is probably that something of this kind may take place whith (sic) regard to EA we may be as we now are or open forever (.) Walking about the green fields to the creek Baptiseing (sic) canal & c whith (sic) probably a trip to Washington & possibly a may party will be my amusements this month (.) Other events altogether unexpected i __________ engage in (.) i may met (meet?) & parts (sic) whith Old Friends but for Good or Evil whith a joyful heat (heart) i welcome Flowery May
Transcribed by Barbara Winters, May 2006

Some diaries in Local History/Special Collections are the original volumes. Others have been photocopied or microfilmed. For a complete list of microfilmed volumes, see Special Collections Microfilm Index. For a complete list of original and photocopied volumes see Archives and Manuscript Collection Index

Some of the diaries in the collection are described below:

Launcelot Minor Blackford served as a captain in the Confederate Army. During the years 1870 to 1913, he was Headmaster of Alexandria's Episcopal High School. (Founded as a boys' prepatory school, it is now co-ed). The Blackford Family Papers are in the University of North Carolina's Southern Historical Collection.

William F. Carne was born in Alexandria in August 1832. He worked as a typesetter, writer, and editor for various newspapers and journals in Washington, DC, Baltimore, and New York. Carne's historical works include articles about the life and career of George Washington.

Chalkley Gillingham and fellow Quaker Paul Troth purchased the rundown Woodlawn Plantation in the 1840s for the purpose of operating a southern plantation without slave labor. (Timber farmed from the surrounding hardwood forests would supply northern shipbuilders of clipper ships). The Alexandria Friends Meeting at Woodlawn worships in a 19th century structure on the perimeter of Fort Belvoir. Wounded Union soldiers were brought to the church for treatment following nearby skirmishes.

Henry B. Whittington worked as a clerk for an Alexandria mercantile establishment during the Civil War. A portion of his diary is available in an online exhibit "the frown of the citizens..." Notes and Images from the Civil War Occupation of Alexandria, Virginia on the Library's web site.

Julia Wilbur was a Quaker from Rochester who came to Alexandria during the Civil War to work with formerly enslaved men and women. An agent for the Rochester Ladies' Anti Anti-Slavery Society, Wilbur recorded meeting Maria Lewis, an African-American woman in uniform, at the end of the war. Haverford College holds the original diaries.

Related Resources
  • Diary of a Student in Alexandria, Virginia, May 1849-April 1850 (Microfilm #00435)
  • Blackford Diaries, 1847-1913 (Microfilm #000576)
  • Henry B. Whittington, 1861-1865 (Microfilm #00056)
  • Julia Wilbur Diaries, 1861-1865 (Microfilm #00562)
  • Manuscript Collection Box #308, William F. Carne, 1853-1854
  • Manuscript Collection Box #299, Chalkley Gillingham, 1830-1873

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