Diaries in Special Collections
Charles E. Aiken. Nine diaries. 1894-1932. Ms 0001, Box 2.
Charles E. Aiken (1850-1936) moved to Colorado in 1871. His interests included ornithology, paleontology, the history of the earth, evolution, heredity, and the breeding and training of dogs. His diaries cover the years 1894, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1930, 1931, and 1932.
William J. Baird traveled from Genesco, Illinois to Pikes Peak in 1859. His subjects include Fort Garland, a Mexican fandango, the cost of repairing a watch and powder flask, Pike's Peakers going back home, a train robbery, the price of a belt that holds a knife and revolver, the Irish, and a river boat cooking fire near the Mississippi River.
Ann Scholfield Fiske Banfield was the sister of Helen Hunt Jackson, the wife of Everett Colby Banfield, and the mother of Helen Banfield Jackson (Helen Hunt Jackson's niece who later married her widower, William S. Jackson). She was born in 1834.
Edith Colby Banfield was the sister of Helen Banfield Jackson, Helen Hunt Jackson's niece. She was an author in her own right, publishing several articles in late-19th century periodicals. She moved to Colorado Springs and took care of Helen Banfield Jackson's six children after their mother died in 1899. This diary covers a short period early in her guardianship.
Everett Colby Banfield was the husband of Ann Scholfield Fiske Banfield, Helen Hunt Jackson's sister. This diary covers his first year at Harvard University.
Cara Georgina Whitmore Scovell Bell was the wife of Dr. William A. Bell, a founder of Colorado Springs. Her journal mentions famous people and places in Colorado Springs, the state of Colorado, the United States, and England.
These two short diaries are part of the Archer Butler Hulbert Papers. They may be hand-copies of an original held elsewhere.
Samuel Caldwell's diary is entitled "Ranching in Colorado Sixty Years Ago" and covers April-July, 1878. Caldwell has added a section called "My Diary Continued from Memory," dated 1938. With the typescript are several 1878 letters from Caldwell to his parents, mainly written from MacMillan's Ranch, River Bend, Colorado.
Mormon George Q. Cannon was a Counselor to Brigham Young. He wrote this diary in 1888 while imprisoned in a Utah penitentiary for polygamy.
Mary Chenoweth taught art at Colorado College from 1953 to 1983. A prolific artist, she was proficient in many art media, including sculpture; woodcarving and woodcut; silkscreen; watercolor and oil painting; pen and ink drawings; etchings; collage; and her unique hand-made postcards.
Isaac Clarke took part in the Pikes Peak Gold Rush and witnessed the Sand Creek Massacre. His memoir covers his life from birth in 1839 until 1892. He died in 1909. His son, Ray Allen Clarke, created a typed reconstruction of the memoir (not a word-for-word transcription) and added an explanatory postscript.
W.W. Cornell. Diary. 1897. Ms 0374.
W.W. Cornell notes daily events: the weather, visitors, activities, meetings, letters sent and received. He refers to jobs as a sign painter, a money collector, an undertaker's assistant, volunteer firefighter, and a drug-store employee, all in Aspen, Colorado.
Margaret C. Dickson kept this diary during her time at a school in Morgantown, Maryland run by a Mr. Moore.
Emily French was born around 1843. In 1890, she was a middle-aged, divorced, working woman in Colorado. At the beginning of the year, she lived in Elbert; by the end, she had moved to Denver. She supported two children, traveling the eastern plains looking for housework or nursing jobs.
Subjects of the diary include chores, lice-ridden clothes and bedding, businesses, churches, parks, streets, meals, special events, illnesses of friends, funerals, childbirth, and books. French describes people she meets and works for, some of them opportunists, dishonest, selfish, kind, lazy, miserly, religious, gossipy, hardworking, alcoholic, abusive, delinquent, or poor.
A collection of more than 30 poems, many of them by Sarah Gibbes, most of these about death. Also included is genealogical information on the Gibbes family, in various hands. Most of the dated entries are from the early 1780s. Some family listings (marriages, births, etc.) are dated as early as 1760, but may have been written down later. The latest recorded date is 1828. With the diary are a few loose pages and clippings, and a 1794 list of the taxable property of Robert Gibbes.
Sarah Gibbes was born Sarah Reeve in 1746. Her parents were Dr. John Ambrose Reeve and Ann Barnwell. In 1764, she married Robert Gibbes, a wealthy South Carolina plantation owner. (He was also her step-brother: Ann Barnwell was married four times, and Robert was the son of her fourth husband, John Gibbes.) Robert Gibbes had previously been married to Ann Stanyarne, who died in 1763; Robert and Ann had a daughter, Mary Gibbes, who was born in 1758. Robert and Sarah lived in South Carolina and had ten children.
Mary Gibbes, step-daughter of Sarah Gibbes, died in 1775, age 17. It seems likely that this death motivated Sarah to start writing poetry, since the date of Mary's death is the earliest recorded date in the diary, and many of Sarah's poems are about that death.
Josephine Richards Gile was born in Newport, New Hampshire in 1855. She taught at Abbot Academy, New Hampshire, and in 1886 married Moses Clement Gile. They moved to Colorado Springs in 1892, where Moses Gile was a Professor of Greek and Latin at Colorado College and the Assistant Principal of Cutler Academy. They had five children together. Josephine Gile was active in the Women's Educational Society and the Colorado Woman's Missionary Society. She died in 1938.
Gillette, mother of CC Geology professor Frank Cragin, wrote the 1892 novel Billow Prairie (under the pseudonym Joy Allison) and was a contributor to The Congregationalist, the Christian Endeavor, and St. Nicholas Magazine.
This diary is part of the Archer Butler Hulbert Papers. It is labeled "Charles Greene, Brighton, Ohio, 1868." With it are some related account books, clippings, and correspondence.
Thomas Haskell, clergyman, educator, and author, was born in New York State in 1826. In 1842, at the age of 16, he taught school in Warren, Ohio. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio; Oberlin College; Union Theological Seminary; and Andover Theological Seminary. In 1873 he traveled to Colorado for the health of his daughter. There he helped found Colorado College, the first college in the Rocky Mountains. He died in 1906.
Edward G. Hayes was a student at Colorado College from 1880 to 1881. In 1886, with Charles W. Codwise, he established the ZA Ranch in Granger, Colorado. These diaries - four of them personal, one of them financial - cover his cattle ranching years. Hayes left ranching in 1900 and became a banker in Canandaigua, New York.
Typescript of a diary describing Killingworth Hedges's trip from Kansas to Colorado Springs in 1872. Includes descriptions of cattle trails, forts, houses, saloons, trains, windmills, prairie dogs, dead buffalo with their hides missing, and trains stopped by cattle stampedes. Also includes descriptions of Denver population, altitude, air, streets, hotels, hotel prices, Buckskin Jim, price of animal hides, Chinese laundry, foods, music halls, and gambling.
The Colorado Springs area subjects include General Cameron, Garden of the Gods, Glen Eyrie, Manitou Soda Springs, Ute Pass, Indian encampments, trading with Indians, Indians getting vaccinated, rifles, Cheyenne Canon, Fountain Creek, bears, price of land, Monument Creek, Templeton Gap, coal fields, brickfield, church meeting, lime kilns, Mr. and Mrs. Lilley, the Mellen family, Palmer's land, climbing Pikes Peak, ranches where he stayed in Canon City, the bridge across the Arkansas, the penitentiary, the Meaves family, Hardscrabble, Pueblo, hotels, Dr. Bell, stage stations, ranches, railroad crews, Salt Works, South Park mines, Twin Lakes, California Gulch, Fairplay, petrified stumps, halfway house, Jimmy camp, Oro City, Greeley, Hartsell Ranch, Littleton Ballard Rifle, and a seance in Denver where the editor of the Rocky Mountain News hid under a cabinet.
Hedges's Colorado Springs frame house was struck by lightning and burned in 1872.
With the diary typescript are a photograph of Hedges and a few letters, one concerning the diary's publication in a Colorado Springs newspaper. We don't know if the diary was ever actually published.
William Howbert was a Methodist-Episcopal minister. In 1860, he traveled with his 14-year-old son Irving (later a CC trustee) from Adams County, Iowa to Denver, Colorado. The diary covers April 10 - December 20, 1860.
Archer Butler Hulbert was born in 1873 in Bennington, Vermont. During most of the time of the diaries, he was teaching in Marietta, Ohio. The diaries contain brief notes on events of the day, travel plans, golf dates, visitors, and so on. According to the 1920 diary, Hulbert received a phone call from President Duniway on May 5 offering him $2,700 to teach at CC. Four days later, Hulbert accepted. He taught in the History Department until 1933, and was also Director of the Stewart Commission of Western History from 1926 on.
Helen Hunt Jackson, American author and Indian rights activist, was born Helen Maria Fiske in 1830. She married Edward B. Hunt in 1852. They had two sons. The first, Murray, died as an infant in 1854. Edward B. Hunt died in 1863, and their second son, Warren ("Rennie"), died in 1865.
HHJ began publishing poems and travel essays in the late 1860s. Her first collection of poems, Verses, appeared in 1870. She came to Colorado in 1873 for health reasons, and married William S. Jackson of Colorado Springs in 1875. In the 1880s, she became an Indian Rights activist, and published an incendiary book on the topic, A Century of Dishonor. Her famous novel, Ramona, was published in 1884, the year before she died. It is still in print more than one hundred years later.
Colorado College owns the single-largest collection of Helen Hunt Jacksons's letters, diaries, photographs, and other materials. See our Helen Hunt Jackson page for more information.
Helen Banfield Jackson was the niece of Helen Hunt Jackson, American author and Indian rights activist. She graduated from Vassar College in 1879 and inherited HHJ's estate in 1885. In 1888, she married William S. Jackson, HHJ's widower. They lived in Colorado Springs and had seven children. In 1899, about a year after the death of her infant daughter Margaret, she committed suicide.
Roland Jackson, born 1893, was the son of William S. Jackson and Helen Banfield Jackson. He wrote these diaries in Spanish during his 1917 World War I tour in Spain. He was killed in action in France on June 6, 1918 while serving as 2nd Lieutenant, Company G, 30th U.S. Infantry.
Photocopy of a diary kept by the Jesuit priests at the oldest parish in Colorado. In Spanish.
Susie LeBosquet was the sister of Mary Ann LeBosquet Cragin Gillette, mother of Frank Cragin.
John Lennox wrote this diary about the Lennox Family and their work on Glenwood Ranch in Pine Valley, Colorado (now the grounds of the Air Force Academy).
This is not a personal diary, but a collection of three short essays (Thoughts on Absent Friends, On Virtue, and On the Death of a Young Lady) and two poems (My Mother and To Him Who Will Apply Them). The diary's cover has a printed date of 1837, but Martin may have written the essays and poems in 1852.
This diary was a gift of Elizabeth McFadden, who also gave the library the diary of Sophronia Helen Stone (Ms 0042), which describes an overland journey across the United States in 1852. Martin is believed to have taken part in that same journey.
Charles Mierow was a Professor of Classical Languages and Literature at Colorado College. He served as the fifth president of the College from 1925 to 1934. His 1919-1923 diary consists mainly of brief descriptions of each day's activities.
Typescript of a diary about a trip from Wisconsin to Colorado by ox team in 1861. The actual diary is in the possession of Mrs. Irene L Benedict, Illinois Ave., Fountain.
H.D.L. Morse writes of killing blue racers, soldiers preparing for the Civil War, playing poker, Pawnee Indians, Indian camps, Fremont's Slough, O'Fallon's Bluffs, California Crossing, hogs bound for Denver, a child's death, Fremont's Orchard, Fort St. Vrain, patching his pants with antelope skin, the birth of Irene Benedict in a covered wagon, his neighbor Melvina and her death, winter activities, playing ball, picking corn, threshing buckwheat, oats, wheat and barley, hunting, butchering a hog, putting in a ditch, and taking a "nice gal" to a Christmas ball. Morse uses idiomatic expressions - "it rained liked 60" or "wind blew like 2 hells." He does not generally give details about places or incidents.
Captain Levi Ross was a Union soldier during the Civil War. He was born in New York State in 1835, and was living in Illinois when he enlisted in the Army in August of 1862. Several pages of the diary are devoted to his life before the war. He almost died from typhoid fever as a teenager, but says his will to live saved his life, giving him the strong views on health issues that he records in his diary. Before the war, he worked as a farmhand, sales clerk, postmaster, factory worker, farm manager, freighter of goods by boat, and school teacher (with only two winters of schooling himself). Between teaching jobs, he attended Princeville Academy. He goes into some detail describing his different occupations, including names of co-workers, employees, and wages.
Ross fought in several battles, including the Battles of Chickamauga and Perryville. He was never seriously wounded, and served until the war's end. After the war Levi married a "lottery girl" and went back to teaching. The diary gives a very detailed picture of the every day life of a Union soldier. Ross wrote about every person, place, and event he saw. Some of the topics he covers are: Abe Lincoln, body lice, battles, cowards, deaths of comrades, entertainment ("lottery girls," debates, more), the fall of Atlanta, foraging, hunger, jaundice, Dr. Mary Walker, marches, "Negroes," photographs, politics ("Ever Readys" and "Wide Awakes"), rebels, religion, Sherman, soldiers (pay, clothes, food, bathing, camps, smoking), war enthusiasm, and war apathy.
The literary rights to this diary belong to the Illinois State Historical Society.
Diary of a Canon City resident, including details of her life and times and laid-in ephemera. Mentions Charles Lindbergh's flight and the Colorado State Penitentiary riot of 1929.
Most pages contain entries for multiple years on a given date.
Charles Sargent. Diary: Overland Journey from Belleville, Illinois to Dear Creek, California. May 5, 1849 to September 20, 1849. Typed copy, 25 pages. Mf 0148.
Charles Sargent was born in New York, where he was a jeweler's apprentice. When he finished his apprenticeship, he and his wife traveled from New York to Belleville, Illinois by wagon train. He established a small jewelry shop in Belleville shortly after his arrival.
The diary covers a trip from Illinois to California. In it, Sargent mentions noteworthy landmarks along the trail, cattle stampedes, buffalo, and measurements of the Platte and Indian villages. On his return trip, Sargent went by way of Panama. The diary describes a boat trip with sights including a humpback whale, a volcano, quantities of kelp, and fishing. Sargent describes San Francisco in passing and San Diego in detail (buildings, land, people, mining).
The diary includes charts showing supply costs, money earned, and weather. It also includes recipes.
Seymour's diary begins March 18, 1861. It describes his trip from Ashtabula, Ohio to California Gulch (later known as Leadville, Colorado), where he stayed for the summer of 1861. He returned to Ohio the following November. In May of 1863, he visited Colorado again, this time with his wife and two children. Their transport was a wagon made of light lumber with a door at the end and a small window on each side, pulled by two yoke of oxen and a cow. The children slept crosswise in the wagon, their parents lengthwise. It took the family about eight weeks to reach Denver and another week to get to California Gulch.
Seymour writes of sleeping on bar room floors, in hay stacks, and under pine trees. He traveled through Cottonwood Springs, Julesburg, Little Blue River, and Fort Kearny, staying at ranches, going through express stations and toll gates, and trading with Indians. Seymour mentions the great suffering in Kansas caused by loss of cattle, but in general, he does not go into great detail about the trip.
After Seymour's death in 1865, his wife and children made the trip across the plains - known as the "Great American Desert" - several times.
At the age of 21, Lt. W. Edgar Simonds was a Union soldier in the Civil War. He traveled on an ocean steamer from Staten Island down the east coast to the Gulf of Mexico. He also went up the Mississippi. For most of the War, he was camped near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before the War, he had been a school teacher.
Diary subjects include Simonds's sweetheart, packages from home, grave inscriptions, experiences on board ship, the ship's military weapons, lighthouses, and ports. Simonds describes the towns along the long marches, bathing in a mud puddle, sleeping on the graves of a former battlefield, a military funeral, men killed, wounded, or taken ill. At one point, he notes that a man died from the effects of masturbation. He also gives a detailed account of the Battle of St. Mary's. He was fascinated with the plantations he saw, and describes the furnishings inside, the grounds, and the slaves. Simonds lists name and rank of promoted men. He also writes of being wounded in action, of the hospitals he stayed in, and the care he received. At the back of the diary is an account book with prices for everything from candles to dancing school. In July of 1863, Simonds was sent home on account of his wound. That September he enrolled in law school.
Mary Snow Sinton was 23 in 1880 when she married George Sinton, co-founder of the Sinton Dairy in Colorado Springs. In her diaries, she describes everyday chores, family life, shopping in Colorado Springs, schools, churches (including the South Congregational Church of which Manly D. Ormes was pastor), excursions (including a trip on the Pikes Peak cog railway and a picnic at Green Mountain Falls), and cross-country trips (including the World's Fair in New York in 1873 and a trip to California in 1894). She speaks of an Indian Mission established in 1769, with stories about some of the Indians who settled the area.
Three of Mary Snow Sinton's children died. The diary contains a description of the death and funeral of her 13 year-old daughter, Jessie, whose medical treatments had included soda water from Manitou Springs and electrical shocks.
Lulu Bell was 19 years old when she married Dr. William Sinton, a dentist and widower with two children, on September 5, 1885. They lived in Colorado Springs and had two children of their own. LBS was a founder of the All Souls Unitarian Church in Colorado Springs and was president of the El Paso Woman Suffrage League in 1893.
LBS began this diary in 1924, one month after Dr. William Sinton's death, on what would have been their 39th wedding anniversary. Later entries celebrate other anniversaries. LBS describes their courtship in the Garden of the Gods and gives a detailed account of their wedding in 1885. She also writes about friends, family, and World War II.
This diary covers Sophronia Helen Stone's journey from New Lebanon, Illinois, to Yreka, California in 1852. It was a gift to the library from E.L. McFadden, part-time professor of psychology at Colorado College, 1948-49. A woman named Caroline Daggett may have owned the diary at one time. It is signed S.H. Stone on the third from the last page. The diary mentions Willard, perhaps Stone's husband.
Stone describes the foods she ate on her journey, cooking practices (using buffalo chips for fuel), illnesses such as cholera, measles, and mountain fever, medicines, food prices, sleeping on floors, crossing rivers by ferry and getting stuck in sloughs, campfires, camp meetings, a grocery store along the trail, Mormons, bad road conditions, a child's funeral, quicksand, saleratus ponds, beaver dams, tombstone inscriptions, bible meetings, a family's murder, prairie justice, drownings, encounters with Indians, Indian burial mounds and Ranger escorts through dangerous Indian country.
Edward Royal Warren was a naturalist and Curator of the Colorado College Museum. Thirteen of these diaries (Ms 0051) are Colorado area field notebooks. The fourteenth diary (Ms 0289) covers a trip to California in 1904.
Rev. Philip Washburn was an Episcopal minister. He served as a trustee of Colorado College from 1894 until his death in 1898. During the time these diaries cover, the Washburns lived in Northampton, Saranac Lake, Colorado Springs, and Denver. The diaries give brief daily entries on the weather, the family's activities, books read, visitors, and the like. In 1892 Miriam Washburn gave birth to a daughter Eleanor, and Philip contracted tuberculosis. In 1895 another daughter, Margaret, was born; she died the following year. Philip died in 1898.
maintained by Special Collections; last revised, 7/2017, jr.