The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Beehive series: From the Reference Librarian 

Barbara Hillard Smith’s Diary, July 1918

Today we return to the 1918 diary of Newton teenager Barbara Hillard Smith. You may read our introduction to the diary, and Barbara’s previous entries, here:

January | February | March | April

May | June | July | August

September | October | November | December

 

As regular readers of the Beehive know, we are following Barbara throughout 1918 with monthly blog posts that present Barbara’s daily life -- going to school, seeing friends, playing basketball, and caring for family members -- in the words she wrote a century ago. Here is Barbara’s June, day by day.

 

* * *

MON. 1                       JULY

Came to Camp.

TUES. 2

Got word that Peg was operated on. Unpacked. Swimming

WED. 3

Hung around. Swimming. Went to Hillcrest

Image from Tileston’s off-hand sketches in Boston Harbor: Pen and Ink Drawings, Centennial 1876.


THUR. 4                      INDEPENDENCE DAY

Governor’s Island picnic. Drunk! Raspberries! Swimming

FRI. 5

Went to [Wiers]. Swimming. Run Sheep Run.

SAT. 6

Played Basketball. Swimming

SUN. 7

Hung around. Swimming.

MON. 8

Went to Merideth. Swimming

TUES. 9

Basketball. Swimming

WED. 10

Pete + Babe [start] for Reg’s wedding. Swimming

THUR. 11

Went to Haunted House. Libby + Rosamond came. Swimming.

FRI. 12

Bear Island

SAT. 13

Basket Ball. Canoeing. Thunder Storm

SUN. 14

Rehearsed for play. Swimming. Powder fight.

MON. 15

Went Blueberrying. Swimming

TUES. 16

Peg got after the skunk. Uncle Sam. Swimming. Cake. Play.

WED. 17

Hot as the dickens. Mother went home.

THUR. 18

Col. Cummings Sick?

FRI. 19

Walked down Boulevard. Swimming

SAT. 20

Hung around

SUN. 21

Went to church. Song service.

MON. 22

P The Hiems took us to the movies. Swimming

TUES. 23

The Streeter’s came. Went Raspberrying on Governor’s Island

WED. 24

Basketball. Swimming

THUR. 25

Sprained my finger. Went by ice houses. Supper on the [stove].

FRI. 26

Basketball. Couldn’t play. [Streiter’s] went home. Pinnicle over night

SAT. 27

Hung around and […]

SUN. 28

Hung around. Swimming

MON. 29

Canoeing. Swimming. Uncle Freddie, Miss A- + Mr R-S [show]

TUES. 30

Basketball. Swimming

WED. 31

[no entry]

* * *

If you are interested in viewing the diary in person in our library or have other questions about the collection, please visit the library or contact a member of the library staff for further assistance.

 

 *Please note that the diary transcription is a rough-and-ready version, not an authoritative transcript. Researchers wishing to use the diary in the course of their own work should verify the version found here with the manuscript original. The catalog record for the Barbara Hillard Smith collection may be found here.

 

 

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 11:00 AM

Barbara Hillard Smith’s Diary, June 1918

Today we return to the 1918 diary of Newton teenager Barbara Hillard Smith. You may read our introduction to the diary, and Barbara’s previous entries, here:

 

January | February | March | April

May | June | July | August

September | October | November | December

 

As regular readers of the Beehive know, we are following Barbara throughout 1918 with monthly blog posts that present Barbara’s daily life -- going to school, seeing friends, playing basketball, and caring for family members -- in the words she wrote a century ago. Here is Barbara’s June, day by day.

 

* * *

SAT. 1                         JUNE

Swimming. May [Fête]. Hot as the deuce

SUN. 2

Went to Winthrop

MON. 3

School. Babies

TUES. 4

School. Babies

WED. 5

School. Babies

THUR. 6

School. Swimming Exhibition

FRI. 7

School. Went up River and to Park.

SAT. 8

Babies. In town with Peg.

SUN. 9

Hung around. Commencement Vespers

MON. 10

School. Babies. Class Night at Lasell

TUES. 11

School. Sick? Mother with Cousin Bert

WED. 12

School. Babies

THUR. 13

School. Babies

FRI. 14

School. Babies

SAT. 15

In Town. Wellesley with Peg. Dance at Spuds

SUN. 16

Church. S. School. Mrs. Moody to dinner

MON. 17

School. Babies

TUES. 18

School. Babies. Got a boil.

WED. 19

School. Riding with Cousin Bert. Peg over Night.

THUR. 20

French Exam. Mother’s Birthday. Headache. Pegs. Almost Sick

FRI. 21

Latin Exam. Tennis at Pegs

SAT. 22

Cooked. Pegs. Party at Posies. Dancing at Garden

SUN. 23

Sunday School. Peg’s over night.

MON. 24

Geometry Exam. Cleaned Closet. Peg’s for eighth grade party.

TUES. 25

In town with Mrs. Dow. Cousin Alice’s for supper. Met Babe

WED. 26

In town to the Dr. Dill. K’s for supper. Study club affair

THUR. 27

DIn town. Worked with Platt.

FRI. 28

Cleaned. Dentist. Dinner with Platt. Saw him off.

SAT. 29

Shampoo. Aunt Mable’s. Said goodbye to Stewarts

SUN. 30

Church. Sunday School. Riding with [Gathaman’s]. Packed.

* * *

If you are interested in viewing the diary in person in our library or have other questions about the collection, please visit the library or contact a member of the library staff for further assistance.

 

 *Please note that the diary transcription is a rough-and-ready version, not an authoritative transcript. Researchers wishing to use the diary in the course of their own work should verify the version found here with the manuscript original. The catalog record for the Barbara Hillard Smith collection may be found here.

 

 

 

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Friday, 15 June, 2018, 12:52 PM

A Little Free Library @ MHS!

The next time you are in the neighborhood, we invite you to stop to check out the Little Free Library we have installed to the left of our front steps. One of many such book exchanges in Boston, the Little Free Library maintained by Massachusetts Historical Society staff will be filled with books that are free for the taking! If you take a book, also consider leaving a book in its stead so that another reader may have a chance to enjoy it. 

While you’re pausing to browse the current selection of free books, be sure to check out our upcoming events on the calendar to your left -- many of our events are free and open to the public.


Of course, the Massachusetts Historical Society is, itself, a big free library -- we welcome researchers into our reading room Monday through Saturday to work with our non-circulating collections of manuscripts, rare print materials, art, artifacts, and photograph collections. More information about planning a visit to work with our collections may be found on our website.

 

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Monday, 11 June, 2018, 12:00 AM

Spring Flowers

The month of May brought a sudden profusion of new growth to Boston’s green spaces this year: front yards, city parks, community gardens, and wild untamed lots all burst forth into a riot of green foliage and bright flowers.

To celebrate the season on this final day of May, I bring you the botanical watercolors of Louise Wheelwright Damon (1889-1973), who painted these vibrant pictures in 1956. I love the examples of amateur art in our collections; that the trained eye and hand of artists such as Susan Anne Livingston Ridley Sedgwick or John Singleton Copley exist in our collections alongside these lesser known -- sometimes even unknown, unremarked upon -- works that brought their creator pleasure, were saved by a family member, and ultimately donated to our institution where researchers of the future could discover and enjoy them.

“Spruce”

Westwood Lodge, 45 Clapboardtree Street, Westwood, Mass., 14 May 1956.

Graphics. Damon 004.

 

 

“Wild Crab Apple”

Westwood Lodge, 45 Clapboardtree Street, Westwood, Mass., 23 May 1956.

Graphics. Damon 009.

 

Untitled irises

Westwood Lodge, 45 Clapboardtree Street, Westwood, Mass., 8 June 1956.

Graphics. Damon 017.

 

Untitled queen anne’s lace

Westwood Lodge, 45 Clapboardtree Street, Westwood, Mass., 23 May 1956.

Graphics. Damon 030.

 

The Louse Wheelwright Damon botanical drawings are available to access in the MHS reading room or at a distance through the purchase of PDF or TIFF reproductions. Please check out Visiting the Library and Reproduction Services page for more detail.

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Thursday, 31 May, 2018, 12:51 PM

Odd Accounts : Ship Sketches and More in the Smith Family Papers

As many of my colleagues have pointed out in the past here on the Beehive, one of the joys of working with the manuscript collections at the MHS is finding something unexcpected when going through a box of material.

Recently, I tried to answer a reference question from a remote researcher that deal with a ship captain from the early 19th century. As it turned out, I made a bit of a mistake and provided information on the wrong person. However, it turned out to be a happy accident because of what I ended up finding, and which may have otherwise escaped my notice.

The Smith family papers are a single-box collection of manuscripts that contains several volumes of Capt. William Smith of Boston. Each of these volumes is tucked inside its own folder with a brief title that indicates what the volume contains: "Account book," "Letterbook," "Log of Mary." However, within these volumes there are some surprises. For example, in a letterbook dated 1812, not only are there manuscript copies of several pieces of correspondence, but also several pages of accounts and ship inventories, and even a couple of poems.

Still, it is not so unusual to find something like poetry in a letterbook maintained by a man who would have been at sea for weeks or months at a time.

A standard account book page detailing a ship's inventory.


To me, the real treasure is inside a thin volume simply labeled "Accounts, 1812-17." While there are many pages of ship inventories, accounts, and invoices, as the title so faithfully indicates, much less expected are the myriad hand-drawn images of various ships done with wonderful detail.

"The Spanish Letter of Marque la Catalina, of 10 guns, Lorenze Joze Gonzales. Formerly the Brig Erin of Norfolk Virg. William Smith Master."

 

Elsewhere in the account book is another picture of the above ship where it is simply identified as the Brig Erin of Norfolk, mastered by William Smith.

Another drawing shows the Brig Mary, the log of which is also housed in the Smith family papers.

"Mary of Boston."

 

"Independence, 74 Guns [Commodore] William Bainbridge."


In addition to these standalone images there is a series of three drawings that detail the encounter between the United States Frigate Constitution and H. M. S. Guerriere on 19 August 1812.

"The United States Frigate Constitution, Isaac Hull, Esq, Commander, bearing down upon and preparing to engage the British Frigate Le Gurriere, Capt. Dacres, August 19, 1812."


The story of this naval battle early in the War of 1812 is well-known and well-documented with many tributes in text and in image available, so I will not attempt to rehash that here, except to say that this battle is where the U. S. ship received its nickname, "Old Ironsides." [See below for some websites that recount the battle.]

But the drawings themselves are worth a look.

"In 15 minutes the Constitution cuts away the Gurriere's mizen mast."


"In 43 minutes the Gurriere totally dismasted, when she fires her Lee gun and surrenders."

 

Finally, the account-keeper even included a couple of rebuses in this volume. Longtime visitors to the Beehive may remember a post here a few years ago about rebuses, written by MHS alum Kittle Evenson. ["Cryptic Communique..."] After you re-read Kittle's entry, you can come back here and see if you can figure out one of the word puzzles. As of publication, I have yet to crack it!

 

As always, if you see something here of interest and want to view it in person, consider Visiting the Library!


Further Reading

- "USS Constitution in the War of 1812." Naval History and Heritage Command. Accessed 22 May 2018 at https://www.history.navy.mil/browse-by-topic/ships/uss-constitution-americas-ship-of-state/history.html.

- USS Constitution Museum, "Sea Dog: Guerriere the Terrier," USS Constitution Museum website. Accessed 23 May 2018 at https://ussconstitutionmuseum.org/2012/08/01/sea-dog-guerriere-terrier/

comments: 0 | permalink | Published: Wednesday, 23 May, 2018, 4:36 PM

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