These two bound volumes (marked "volume 3" and "volume 4") chronicle the sailing voyages and agricultural exploits of Albert Henry Kingman of Keene, New Hampshire. Sailing from Boston to New Orleans and back in 1856, Kingman described shipboard life and provided observations of antebellum New Orleans. Following his return to New Hampshire, the diaries follow his life as a farmer.
The first volume begins mid-November 1856 and concludes mid-November 1857. He described his efforts to secure work on a sea-going vessel. While in Boston, he attended services at Trinity Church and Tremont Temple. He eventually secured passage, with the assistance of his uncle, as a cook's mate onboard the Milton from Boston, Massachusetts, to New Orleans, Louisiana, by way of Cuba. While at sea, Kingman detailed life aboard ship including the weather, especially the chronic lack of wind, which affected the Milton a sailing vessel. He also commented on marine life, ocean geography, and sightings of other vessels. Notable events included the addition of a hammock ("dream bag") to his cabin, hunting of dolphins, and sighting St. Elmo's fire. He also recorded the date of the inauguration of James Buchanan as President of the United States.
Arriving in March 1856, Kingman discussed homes and sugar plantations along the Mississippi River, and the tugboats towing the Milton to New Orleans. During his sojourn ashore, Kingman noted the architecture of Jackson Square and focused several entries on slavery in the city, including comments on fugitive slave advertisements and witnessing a slave auction. Kingman also discussed local news, such as fires, crime, and prices of goods. After a month in New Orleans, Kingman returned with the Milton to Boston. Kingman returned home to Keene, New Hampshire, to work on the family farm.
The second volume reveals Kingman's life as a farmer from late November 1857 to early June 1859. Most entries include details regarding livestock and tending to crops; however, he also included family news and mentions of social gatherings. He sang in the Congregational Church choir and attended Sunday School. He participated in a debate society for a time, was smitten with several different young women, and discovered a talent for marksmanship. Other topics include local politics, a hot air balloon ascension, and the completion of the transatlantic telegraph cable. Throughout both diaries, Kingman provided notes on various books he read.