Phyllis Johnson kept this pocket diary while attending grammar school and high school in Hartford, Connecticut, from January 1, 1925-February 4, 1929. She composed entries almost daily between January and September 1925, and commented on her experiences at school, her activities and travels during summer vacation, and her friends.
Collection processed and finding aid created by Cheney J. Schopieray, October 2006, and Meg Hixon, July 2012
Scope and Content:
Phyllis Johnson kept this pocket diary while attending grammar school and high school in Hartford, Connecticut. She composed most of her brief entries from January 1, 1925-September 22, 1925, and wrote further entries sporadically between June 15, 1926, and February 4, 1929. She commented on her experiences at school, her activities and travels during summer vacation, and her friends.
Johnson had just turned 12 when she received her pocket diary, and wrote regularly about her experiences at school, church, and home throughout much of 1925. Though she succeeded academically and at one point achieved the highest marks in her grade, Johnson's teachers frequently reprimanded her for excessive talking. She often mentioned her male friends and acquaintances, and occasionally commented on her romantic feelings for them. Her social activities included attending baseball games, traveling to the beach, and dressing up with female friends. During the summer of 1925, she discussed her family's trips to the Mohawk Trail and the state of New York. She mentioned the Scopes trial in her entry of July 15, 1925 (pp. 196-197), suggesting a brief satirical prayer for atheists. After February 1926, Johnson wrote less frequently, but continued to list the names of her friends and significant changes in her life. The final pages of Johnson's diary contain notes, addresses, and sketches.
List of Pencil Sketches:
Arm patch (May 22, 1925, p. 271)
Pair of eyes (July 6, 1925, p. 187)
Phyllis Johnson dressed in fancy clothing and accompanying hat (July 9, 1925, p. 190)
Two girls dressed in circus uniforms (July 29, 1925, p. 210)
Floor plan of the Johnson family's new house (June 15, 1926, p. 271)
Three women's heads, shown in profile, and a woman's leg (undated, end of volume)
Johnson enclosed four items in her diary's back pocket:
A paper with her initials written in blood (see entry of January 12, 1925)
Diagrams of two classrooms, showing students' seats
A torn portion of an advertisement for Merriam cash boxes
Several blank sheets of paper from a small notepad
Biographical / Historical:
Phyllis E. Johnson was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on January 3, 1913, the daughter of Swedish immigrants Justus Johnson and Walborg Falk. She had two siblings: Estelle and Justus. The family later moved to Hartford, Connecticut. Johnson attended Connecticut College, and later earned a degree from Barnard College. She married Dr. Howard D. Doolittle (1910-1995), a nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, around 1933, and they lived in Stamford, Connecticut. Phyllis Johnson Doolittle died on November 29, 1998.
2001. M-4151.5 .
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Rules or Conventions:
Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
Additional Descriptive Data:
"Doolittle. Dr. Howard D. Doolittle." Hartford Courant 5 April 1995. Online edition.
"Doolittle, Phyllis (Johnson)." Hartford Courant 6 December 1998. Online edition.
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