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Alexander B. Weeks Diaries, 1851,1870, and undated

.25 cubic feet (in 1 box)

Diaries of Alexander B. Weeks, photograph of Weeks and wife, Sarah, and biographical materials.

The collection consists of three of Weeks’ diaries, volume 1) January 1, 1851- September 20, 1851, volume 2) September 21, 1851- February 29, 1852, and volume 3) October 2, 1853- December 15, 1857. The collection is organized alphabetically In the first diary, Weeks noted social and family news, visitors, the weather, major newspaper stories, and patrons or “sitters” who sat for “their likenesses.” He also commented several times about his daughters, particularly little Manty who was teething, learning to talk, walk, and was inoculated.

In the end of volume 1 and all of volume 2, Weeks vividly described his voyage to Brazil with Charles Deforest Fredricks, his fellow passengers, weather, other ships seen, seasickness, etc. Once in Brazil, Weeks noted his busy business, social activities, his friends Charles Saturnino Masoni and George Penabert, the natives, landscape, religious and other customs, slavery, and the local political struggles between Rosas, the Provincial Governor of Buenos Aires, and Gen. Urquiza. Similarly, he describes the beginning of his return voyage home and Montevideo, Uruguay, as well as correspondence with his family, and how much he misses them.

The first two diaries have some of Week’s poetry in the rear of the volumes and a few notes and doodles on the inside covers. The name of the printers who created the book in Pernambuco, Brazil, is pasted on the inside front cover of volume 2.

In his third diary Weeks documented his domestic life and business transactions in Toledo, Ohio, and Detroit, covering the same topics as in the first diary, before his voyage. The third diary is missing its front cover. The first page is divided into columns to serve as an account book. The headings of the columns are: Date, Names, Residence, Size, Price, Case, D/P (D/P probably means: Daguerreotype/Photograph).

Biographical Materials include: Week’s business cards from Poughkeepsie, undated (circa 1841?), a bill to an estate for money owed to Sarah Ann Weeks, August 5, 1870, and a photograph (copy) of Sarah and Alexander Weeks.


Hiram B. Crosby journal, 1872

1 volume

This journal reflects the experiences of Hiram B. Crosby, a New York City lawyer, during his trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the fall of 1872. As part of a prospecting party, Crosby analyzed the potential for iron mines near Iron Mountain, Michigan. He recorded his impressions of local scenery, commented on his daily activities, and described the area's Native American settlements and peoples. The volume contains 24 pen and ink drawings.

This 127-page journal reflects the experiences of Hiram B. Crosby, a New York City lawyer, during his trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the fall of 1872. As part of a prospecting party, Crosby analyzed the potential for iron mines near Iron Mountain, Michigan. Crosby began the journal on September 26, 1872, as he left New York City, traveling by railroad to Menominee, Michigan, via Sandusky, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois. While in Ohio, he visited Jay Cooke on Lake Erie's Gibraltar Island (September 30, 1872), and pasted a pressed flower from the island onto the journal's first page.

After his arrival in Menominee, Crosby joined the members of his party and together they started out for Iron Mountain, where they planned to inspect specific areas for iron mining potential. In daily journal entries, Crosby recorded details of the group's travels along the Sturgeon and Menominee Rivers, particularly regarding local scenery and people. A few days into the trip, he fell from his horse while attempting to shoot a partridge, and suffered a fractured wrist (October 4, 1872); despite his injury, the trip proceeded smoothly, aided by the expertise of local Native Americans the group hired to make camp and guide the mining party. Crosby and the others frequently traveled by canoe, and he often described the guides and local Native American settlements, particularly at "Bad Water," near Iron Mountain.

On October 10, 1872, the explorers reached Iron Mountain and proceeded to examine the area. They set out again for Menominee shortly thereafter, and reached the town on October 15. There, Crosby inquired about the prices of shipping iron ore to Cleveland by boat (October 16). From Menominee, Crosby traveled to Escanaba, Marquette, and Houghton, Michigan, before heading to Detroit, which he described in several entries in late October. Crosby wrote the final entry in Detroit on October 26, 1872.

Three items are inserted into a flap in the front cover of the journal: 2 assurance tickets for Hiram B. Crosby from the Railway Passengers Assurance Company (November 14, 1872) and an advertising card for the Douglass House in Houghton, Michigan. A printed view of Marquette, Michigan, is pasted onto page 108 of the journal.

The journal also includes 24 pencil and ink drawings depicting scenes from Crosby's travels in the Upper Peninsula. See the Additional Descriptive Data section of this finding aid for an index of the illustrations.


Solis-Van Wie family papers, 1839-1875

67 items (0.25 linear feet)

The Solis-Van Wie papers contain the correspondence of several related families who were settlers of Michigan, Ohio, and California. Subjects include courtship, family news, the Gold Rush, and the growth of several Midwestern towns.

The Solis-Van Wie papers consist of 63 letters, 3 printed items, and a diary, spanning 1839-1875. The correspondence is mostly incoming to Eliza (née Van Wie) and Daniel Elliott Solis, who married in March 1847. The most frequent writers are Daniel Solis; his brother, Detroit newspaperman D. Henry Solis; his sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth and James Armstrong, who had settled in Mount Pleasant, Michigan; and Eliza's brother, Alexander Van Wie, a California miner during the 1849 Gold Rush. The family was scattered across Michigan, Ohio, New York, and California, and their letters document health, economic struggles, impressions of growing cities and towns in the Midwest, and occasionally their political thoughts.

Daniel Solis wrote eight letters in the collection to Eliza Van Wie, both before and after their wedding. His correspondence is frank and personal, and documents a prolonged and rocky courtship, including secret meetings and several apologies. After their marriage, he wrote letters recording his travel and work; on April 4, 1847, he described starting a store in Vernon, New York, and the possibility of having to work 14 to 15 hours per day. He later gave an account of his impressions during his first visit to Detroit (August 28, 1850).

Daniel and Eliza's siblings wrote the majority of the letters in the collection. Daniel's brother, David Henry ("D. Henry") Solis, founder of the Detroit Daily News and a staunch Democrat, wrote a detailed and glowing description of Sandusky, Ohio (November 13, 1848); copied a poem entitled "Visions of wealth are mine at night," written by a female friend and contributor to The Clarion (February 6, 1849); and commented repeatedly on political topics. Like Daniel, he was a freemason, and sometimes signed his letters "The Deacon." Several other siblings provided family news, for the most part. Eliza's brother, forty-niner Alexander Van Wie, wrote two letters in the collection. On March 6, 1849, he wrote from onboard a ship sailing to California, and noted that some men already regretted leaving home. On September 19, 1849, he wrote from Mormon Island describing hard labor, widespread fever and dysentery, and the disappointment of most of the miners.

A few miscellaneous letters are also of interest. In the only letter referring to Eliza's work in a textile mill, "P. Byrne" of Empire Mill wrote to her on March 1, 1847, enclosing payment her for her work and providing an affectionate send-off ("May Guardian Angels shield and defend you from the snakes of your enemies, whether human or infernal…"). On March 25, 1855, H.A. Chamberlain wrote a letter describing the rapid growth of Saginaw, Michigan, after the founding of a saw-mill there. The collection also includes one letter by Daniel and Eliza's son, Charles Solis, a soldier in the 15th Michigan Infantry, who anticipated a visit from President Lincoln and reported that he would return home soon (March 28, 1865).

The document entitled "Extracts from a Black Hiller's Diary," written by Charles E. Solis, covers his travels through South Dakota, from May 6, 1875, after his arrest by the government for trespassing on Indian lands to his eventual release on May 26. In 15 pages he described his movements, the people he met, and instructions he received.

The Miscellaneous series contains a printed satiric poem with a watercolor illustration, two clippings, and a phrenological evaluation of Eliza Van Wie, dated 1842.