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John Alston autobiography, 1789-1932 (majority within 1789, 1811)

1 volume

This volume contains autobiographical sketches composed by John Alston of Glasgow, Scotland, for his children in 1789 and 1811. A descendant later used the volume to record genealogical information about three additional generations of the Alston family.

This volume contains autobiographical sketches that John Alston of Glasgow, Scotland, composed for his children in 1789 (25 pages) and 1811 (5 pages). A descendant later used the volume to record genealogical information about three additional generations of the Alston family (6 pages).

Alston wrote a brief preface to his autobiography, which he signed "John Alston, Junr." The following 25 pages concern his life until 1789, with a focus on his early life and family. He wrote about his failed trip to North America in early 1759 and his journey through Spain after his ship, the Rebecca, was seized by a French privateer and subsequently stranded on the Spanish coast. Alston made his way back home and successfully sailed to Maryland later that year. When remembering his time in North America, he felt guilty about his perceived self-indulgence, and he vowed to prevent his children from leaving home until the age of 20 or 21. After recording his marriage to Patrick Craigie ("Patie") in 1772, he listed the names and birthdates of their children, including one who died after a smallpox inoculation (pp. 7-9). Alston later commented on the effect that the deaths of his wife and parents had on him, and he also discussed the dispersion of his father's estate. The second part of his autobiography, which he added on January 1, 1811, primarily pertains to his family history and genealogy. Genealogical notes concern John Alston's descendants to the generation of his great-grandchildren.


New England Family Travel Photograph Album, 1905-1909

approximately 600 photographs in 1 album

The New England family travel photograph album contains approximately 600 photographs that document the domestic life and foreign travels of an unidentified husband and wife couple from suburban Boston during the first decade of the 20th-century.

The New England family travel photograph album contains approximately 600 photographs that document the domestic life and foreign travels of an unidentified husband and wife couple from suburban Boston during the first decade of the 20th-century. The album (28.5 x 36 cm) has pebbled black leather covers with “Photographs” stamped in gold on the front. By and large, images are presented chronologically and many have extensive captions which mainly identify the locations pictured as well as certain individuals. It appears that many image captions were cut and pasted from white paper and added on top of pre-existing faded captions that had been written directly on the album pages. Some images that show people of African descent have subtly derogatory captions. Photographs showcasing the family’s domestic life include pictures of annual spring blooms in their backyard; friends and family; various domestic activities including interacting with pet cats; and regional outings such as visits to Mt. Washington, Point of Pines nature park in Revere, Massachusetts, and poet John Greenleaf Whittier's birthplace in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

In the summer of 1905, the couple travelled to Montreal and up the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City and beyond, resulting in the production of nearly ten pages of photographic highlights (pgs. 7-16). Later that summer, they also took photographs while vacationing in the Lake Sebago region of Maine with friends whom they later visited in Providence, Rhode Island (pgs. 16-20, 22). A visit to New Orleans, Louisiana, and Beauvoir, Mississippi, in December of 1906 is also documented (pgs. 30-37). In 1907 the couple undertook a period of extensive international travel beginning with a trip to England, Scotland, Ireland, Belgium, and France (pgs. 38-57). A second visit to Quebec in September 1907 is briefly represented (pgs. 57-58), while a series of pictures from a trip to St. Augustine, Florida, in April 1908 are also included (pgs. 59-62). Photographs related to two separate tours of the Caribbean and Central/South America in July and August of 1908 and March of 1909 make up a substantial portion of the album (pgs. 63-103); images from the first tour mainly include scenes from Caribbean islands such as St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. Kitts, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, and Barbados as well as British Guiana, while images from the second trip include scenes from Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Panama, Venezuela, Trinidad, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. Also present are several commercially-produced photographs, including a number of panoramic views, showing scenes from Mexico (pgs. 104-111). The majority of images taken during the couple’s travels consist of typical sightseeing photographs showing important cultural landmarks and historic buildings as well as street scenes, methods of transportation, and local people and industries. Throughout the album there are also numerous photographs taken aboard various transport vessels mid-voyage.

A few noteworthy historical events are minimally represented by photographs in this album, such as the January 15 1905 Washington Street Baptist Church fire in Lynn, Massachusetts (pgs. 2 & 3); the Quebec Bridge a few weeks after its collapse on August 29 1907 (pg. 57); the Great Chelsea Fire of 1908 (pg. 59); Panama Canal construction in 1909 (pgs. 87-89); long distance views of the site of the village of St. Pierre, Martinique, which was decimated by the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pelée on May 8 1902 (pg. 80); and the wreck of the battleship Maine in Havana Harbor (pg. 179). Individuals identified by captions throughout the album include Dr. Robert L. Bartlett (pgs. 4 & 89); “Miss Morse” (pg. 5); Stanley and Donald Clauss of Providence, Rhode Island (pgs. 17, 19 & 22); Hattie English, Lizzie English, “Mrs. Boynton,” and “Miss Lord” (pg. 19); Samuel Pickard (pg. 20); Jessie Pauline Whitney (pg. 21); "Mr. Little" (pgs. 19 & 22); William Rhodes (pg. 26); Maud Burdett (pgs. 38 & 58); George C. Hardin (pg. 74); Dr. Selah Merrill, American Consul in British Guiana (pg. 80); "Mrs. Parker" (pg. 85); and Hermann Ahrensburg (pg. 91). Other images of interest include a couple of photographs showing United States cavalrymen at camp in Lakeville, Massachusetts (pg. 2); a multiple exposure photograph showing the wife and other women (pg. 22); four photos showing a group of women that appear to be associated with a possible Masonic organization with the acronym “O.E.O.T.” (pg. 23); two photos of local boys diving in St. Lucia (pg. 72); a picture of a school for natives in St. Thomas where students were supposedly fined 10 cents a day for being absent (pg. 82); photos from Kingston, Jamaica, showing women working on a railroad and men operating a hand-made sugar mill (pg. 86); a group portrait of a baseball team in Venezuela (pg. 92); photos of the natural asphalt deposit Pitch Lake in Trinidad (pgs. 94 & 95); and photographs showing people with Brownie box cameras (pgs. 82 & 103).


New York Woman's travel journal, 1888-1889

1 volume

The New York Woman's travel journal chronicles two trips undertaken by a woman and her father. In March and April 1888, the pair traveled across the country to New Orleans, and in June 1889 to Scotland and England.

The New York Woman's travel journal chronicles two trips undertaken by a woman and her father. In March and April 1888, the pair traveled across the country to New Orleans (pp. 1-52), and in June 1889 to Scotland and England (pp. 54-93). The cover of the volume bears a silver inlaid illustration entitled "Composition," and opens with the father and daughter embarking on a Pullman car on March 19, 1888, bound for "the West" from Jersey City. During their railroad journey, they traveled through Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, where they remained for a short stopover before heading south. Between St. Louis and Little Rock, their train collided with another vehicle, killing an engineer and delaying their arrival in the Arkansas capital, where they stayed for an additional week. The 12-page narrative of this leg of the trip is colored by anecdotes and descriptions of fellow passengers, and is followed by a lengthy account of the pair's time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and in New Orleans. In Vicksburg, the tourists made note of Civil War-era caves used during the city's siege, and visited a Civil War cemetery, which the author found profoundly moving. Once in "thoroughly Southern" New Orleans, the writer described in detail the sights and sounds of the city, and frequently mentioned popular tourist destinations; she also noted the "swarms of little darkies" and other African Americans she encountered throughout her time in the city. She and her father left New Orleans on the steamboat Knickerbocker on April 19, and returned to New York via the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast; upon her return, she reflected briefly on the positive impact the trip had on her worldview.

The second portion of the volume is titled "Letters written during our stay in England and Scotland in the summer of 1889," and is about the author's transatlantic voyage from New York to Glasgow on the State of Georgia, and the opening stages of her European adventures. After writing about the pleasant 12-day voyage, the diarist described several sights throughout Scotland, including a detailed depiction of Edinburgh Castle, complete with a brief history of the structure. York was their next destination, and they moved thence by rail to London, where sightseeing resumed in full force. The pair, along with a traveling companion named Leslie, proceeded to take in a thorough tourist's view of London, including several bus trips around the city and the requisite visits to St. Margaret's Church and Westminster Abbey. While in Europe, the author often reflected on how easily she was identified as an American, and on local social customs. The volume also recalls a visit to the British Museum to see the Magna Carta (pp. 92-93), but its final entry, dated July 4, 1889, is cut off just as the author catches a glimpse of Queen Victoria at a garden party.


Randal Crouse papers, 1908-1919 (majority within 1917-1919)

0.25 linear feet

This collection consists of letters that Lieutenant Randal H. Crouse wrote to his mother, Lillie M. Crouse, while serving with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. Crouse described his experiences at Camp Hancock, Georgia, and in France, where he often commented on life near the front. The collection also has postcards, documents, photographs, and newspaper clippings.

This collection contains 85 letters that Lieutenant Randal H. Crouse wrote to his mother, Lillie M. Crouse, while serving with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. The collection also has 4 letters by other writers, 9 postcards, 4 documents, 15 photographs, and 29 newspaper clippings (including 7 duplicates) related to Crouse's time in the military.

The Correspondence series (89 items) comprises the bulk of the collection and consists mostly of the letters that Randal Crouse sent to his divorced mother, Lillie M. Crouse, from Camp Hancock, Georgia, and France between September 1917 and April 1919. At Camp Hancock, he discussed the reorganization of his Pennsylvania National Guard unit into the 112th Infantry Regiment and mentioned several specific training exercises, including some involving gas masks (January 27, 1918). He described other aspects of camp and military life and, upon his arrival in France around May 1918, provided his impressions of the scenery and people, as well as descriptions of his experiences at the front. Soon after his arrival, he reported hearing nearby artillery fire and shared his awe at the multicultural makeup of the allied forces, which included soldiers from a number of foreign countries (May 27, 1918). Though he remained optimistic about the war's imminent end, Crouse mentioned his participation in some difficult fighting, credited the Germans with putting up a strong resistance, and described airplane crashes he had witnessed (August 17, 1918). By October 30, 1918, he expressed his relief at being transferred to a safer area following weeks of hard fighting, and on November 3, 1918, he described a one-day visit to Paris.

Following the signing of the Armistice, Crouse revealed more details about military actions he had participated in, including movements near Metz, and expressed his surprise upon hearing of the large scale of the influenza epidemic, from which the war had distracted him. In his letter of December 4, 1918, he copied several pages from a captured German diary that described the advance on Paris in September 1914; the letter also encloses a printed map of a portion of the Western Front near the end of the war. Throughout the spring of 1919, Crouse continued to discuss his travels through France and his anticipation of a return to the United States.

The series has 4 letters by other correspondents, including 3 by Lillie M. Crouse, who wrote a letter to her son while he attended a summer camp (July 13, 1908), prematurely reported Germany's surrender (November 7, 1918), and expressed her wish for military volunteers to displace active service veterans (March 31, 1919). Jordy L. Stafer, a soldier, also wrote a letter to Lillie M. Crouse, whom he knew from York (October 9, 1918).

The Postcards and Greeting Card series (7 items) contains mail that Randal Crouse sent to his mother during the war. The postcards show scenery in Germany and in Glasgow, Scotland, and one is a photographic postcard of Crouse in uniform. The Christmas card has a drawing of an American soldier reading with a young girl.

Documents (4 items) include a memorandum by W. H. Hay commending the service of the 28th Division of the United States Army, as well as 2 items related to the allotment of Randal Crouse's pay to his mother. Also present is a photographic card identifying Crouse as a member of the American Expeditionary Forces.

The Photographs series (15 items) has 6 snapshots of soldiers, including 2 taken in front of a cannon; 2 larger formal portraits of Randal H. Crouse; and 7 small snapshots of a soldier smoking a cigar and an old European building.

Newspaper clippings (29 items) primarily concern the actions of the 28th Division of the United States Army, including several reprinted letters that Randal Crouse sent to his mother while serving overseas, taken from the Gazette and Daily (York, Pa.) and other papers. Seven of the items are duplicates.


Robert Dayton Williams journal, 1870

1 volume

The Robert Dayton Williams journal recounts the author's voyage to Europe on the steamer Australia in September 1870. Williams described stormy weather, seasickness, daily activities, and navigation errors during the ship's passage from New York to Glasgow. The journal entries are accompanied by ink drawings.

The R. Dayton Williams journal (21 pages), entitled "Yankee Vandals Abroad, or Our Trip to Europe," is an account of the author's voyage from Albany, New York, to Glasgow, Scotland, from September 15, 1870-October 1, 1870.

The journal begins with a 2-page preface in which Williams pays tribute to the advances in nautical travel between the 1770s and 1870s and explains his reasons for visiting the British Isles. The account opens with the Williams' trip from Albany to New York, accompanied by family members, and their search for Anna's trunk on the day they were to set sail; a humorous poem recounts the latter episode. The preface and opening remarks are followed by daily entries dated September 17, 1870-October 1, 1870, during the Australia's time at sea. The opening lines of many entries, including the preface, are colored or otherwise illustrated. Illustrations (see list below) accompany most of the entries.

During the transatlantic journey, Williams commented on the food, the scenery, and his pastimes, which included games of quoits and backgammon with the captain and other passengers. Early in the voyage, the ship encountered stormy seas, which resulted in flooded passenger cabins, injuries to members of the ship's crew, and prolonged seasickness. Williams described cod fishermen along the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and compared the Anchor Line's ships with the faster vessels of the Cunard Line. Entries often report the distance the Australia had traveled and the remaining distance to Derry, Ireland, the ship's first destination. On September 29, Williams mentioned the captain's recent navigational error, which led to confusion about the ship's current position and course; the mishap resulted in a slight delay, though the course was later corrected. In his entry of September 30, Williams recalled the Hibernia, an Anchor Line steamer that had remained missing for four weeks after being blown to sea in a gale off the coasts of Ireland and Scotland. The same day, the Australia reached Derry and soon left for Glasgow, where Williams and his wife disembarked on October 1. A printed drawing of the Australia and a newspaper clipping about the Williams' journey are pasted into the first page of regular entries, and the entry of September 30 contains a table of observed latitude and longitude for September 19, [1870]-September 28, [1870].

List of pen and ink drawings (excluding embellished text)
  • Two men searching for Anna Williams's trunk at the Wescott's Express freight office (page 7)
  • A man and a woman on the deck of the Australia (page 7)
  • Log floating at sea (page 8)
  • Australia and other ships engulfed by stormy seas (page 9)
  • The Williams' stateroom on the Australia (page 10)
  • A man "Before and After Sea Sickness" (page 11)
  • Codfish (page 11)
  • Rings and target from game of quoits (page 12)
  • "Cod Fishing on the New Foundland Banks" [sic] (page 13)
  • Driftwood board (page 13)
  • "Mr Brown's Circus Blanket," a colorful coat (page 14)
  • "Forecastle Passengers" (page 17)
  • Sounding line (page 19)
  • Map of British Isles and coast of Holland, Belgium, and France, showing the Australia's erroneous and corrected courses (page 20)