Jane Hicks (Bournemouth), 1843-1844 Diary (online)

While looking for something TOTALLY different, I came across a diary transcription – complete with annotations, online.

Jane Hicks, born Brown, began this diary soon after the birth of her first child, a son named Dale. Its first entry takes place on March 18, 1843. This archive (see also, Christchurch History Society) has entitled the diary,

The Journal of Mrs. Jane Hicks, of Muccleshell, Holdenhurst, Parish of Christchurch, County of Southamptonshire, March 1843 – October 1844.

Jane Brown married Richard Hicks, 31 May 1842. Jane was born in 1814 and lived until 1896! The accompanying website, the “Jane Hicks’s Journal Gallery,” with information on people and places, has a photograph of Jane and her son Dale. Some rather disconcerting entries, where little Dale is concerned, especially one that states, “Let the baby fall…” (Sept 4)

Check out the double-page image of Jane’s diary in order to see her handwriting!

“Muccleshell” is now part of Throop – in the area of present-day BOURNEMOUTH (Dorsetshire) and called “Bourne” in the diary. The “Gallery” has several maps to help you locate the villages. Nice photos, too.

The information is quite densely packed with text; the journal itself is nicely differentiated, entry and annotation (text in italics). There is a family tree and much information about the Hicks family. Of great interest is the “history” of the diary itself:

“Jane took her diary with her to Australia, and it was her descendants there who preserved it as a family heirloom. Two of these have since written privately-printed family-history books covering Richard and Jane’s life there, one by Val Hicks, and one by Maureen Mannion. It was Maureen who in 1986 sent a photocopy of the diary to Mary Baldwin, a Hampshire genealogist, for further research. This was the basis of an article in the Bournemouth Echo 15 April 1993, and a March 1994 feature by Mary in Dorset Life magazine, “Mrs Dale Hicks Diary.” Mary also sent a copy of the handwritten journal to Michael Stead of Bournemouth Borough Council, who in December 1999 typed it out and began adding annotations to clarify its cryptic entries. Michael’s typed transcript of the handwritten diary text, along with the revised and expanded annotations reproduced above in italics, was published online in the run-up to the town’s 2010 bicentenary, with new and amended info published online on an ongoing basis [the current edition is dated 2016]. Jane Hicks’s journal remains of interest as one of the few local first-hand accounts known for this early period of the town’s history, when it was still known as ‘Bourne.'”

A highly-recommended daily diary of a wife and mother, a marriage, a village, in 1840s Britain.

James Caldwell Diaries & Letters

It was back in November 2022, after listening to the Anne Lister Research Summit presentation of “Mariana, Marriage & (No) Money,” by Shantel Smith, that I learned of Lawton- and Belcombe-related comments among the CALDWELL family diaries (there are letters too). Specifically, the number of “sightings” of Mariana Lawton and visits by the Lawtons or to Lawton Hall.

Two websites have items relating to JAMES CALDWELL (1759-1838) and his daughter ANNE MARSH CALDWELL (1791-1874). The family home, Linley Wood, was in TALKE, Staffordshire.

Another family in Staffordshire quickly sprang to mind: the Tollets of Betley Hall. I love the books edited by Mavis E. Smith (the last edited with her husband Peter Smith):

Sure enough, the Caldwells letters and diaries have LOTS of mentions of the Tollets of Betley Hall! See, for instance, this page of Caldwell diary entries, which covers the 1830s-era of the Tollet journal and letters books. Search [control-f] for Tollet.

James Caldwell’s diary – for 1816 – also mentions “Miss Lister,” who – of course, is Anne Lister of Shibden Hall. The visit took place a month after Mariana’s marriage to Charles Lawton; in company with Mariana (Mrs. C. Lawton) was “Miss Lister” and “Miss Belcombe” (“Nantz” Belcombe, Mariana’s eldest unmarried sister).

Another familiar familial name is Wedgwood – yes, the famous pottery family. Great friends with the Tollets and the Caldwells.

The main page of LINKS to the voluminous Caldwell material, and very useful to bookmark, is: jjhc.info/caldwellnotes

  • Read the strong biography of James Caldwell, with accompanying photographs of family & items, to understand the man behind the James Caldwell diaries (covering, especially, the 1790s through to his death in 1838)

Only now am I lookimg through the material. It makes for exciting reading, just to see the DAILY goings-on of a “landed” gentry family.

Caldwell material also is posted on Michael Heath-Caldwell’s site. More about the second site, later. And I still need to look at the daughters’ diaries and the family letters. So much material, generously posted online. Volunteer opportunities available, in helping to transcribe!


Lavinia Dickinson’s 1851 Diary

See the 1851 Diary written by Lavinia Norcross Dickinson, in images of the manuscript, at Harvard:

Yesterday, I was searching (yet again) for any diaries written by FANNY (Smith) Seymour (1803-1871) (see my website TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN); what I came up with was a site offering links to Digitized Diaries – on The Diary Index.

There are many names I recognize; many I wish to further explore.

High on the list is this manuscript by Emily Dickinson’s sister. I don’t know about you, but I find the SISTERS of Jane Austen [Cassandra Austen] and Emily Dickinson [Lavinia Dickinson] AS compelling as their more famous siblings.

Three books, on my bookshelves, that peek into the Dickinsons’ household:

  • After Emily, by Julie Dobrow (non-fiction) [2018]
  • Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life, by Marta McDowell (non-fiction) [2019]
  • Emily’s House, by Amy Belding Brown (fiction) [2021]

I picked a page of Labinia’s diary at random, and have no experience of reading her handwriting; however, I am totally intrigued by an entry (for January 15th) which seemed a bit more legible:

“Wrote to Eliza [Elisa?] Coleman.
Went to ride with Mr [Chapin?],
I reverance [sic] him no longer”

I want to KNOW MORE!

But I’m not finding much out there (what am I missing??) that deals with Lavinia’s diary.

There is a 1973 Master’s Thesis by JANICE SPRADLEY McCARTHY, which documents “The Influence of Lavinia Dickinson and Susan Dickinson on Emily Dickinson.”

There is the Dickinson Museum’s biography of Lavinia Dickinson.

There is Desirée Henderson’s chapter in The New Emily Dickinson Studies entitled “Dickinson and the Diary“, which brings up some interesting points.

What I’d really have loved to find is a transcription of Lavinia Dickinson’s 1851 Diary. Alas…

The Diary of Thomas Turner, 1754-1765

I’ve long known about the publication of Thomas Turner‘s diary. I’ve skirted his part of Sussex. though never visited East Hoathly.

Finally, about a month ago, I decided, at the drop of a hat, to order a copy of the book, as edited by David Vaisey. While waiting for the mail to deliver, I had a look around the internet – and turned up a couple of pleasant surprises.

One of the biggest surprises was to find that Thomas Turner’s papers are no longer in the U.K.! They reside in the archives of Yale. I assumed the diaries and other pertinent papers were at The Keep, the Sussex county archive.

For a taste of the diary, check out “The Trials of Thomas Turner” on HISTORIES.

One of the most delightful finds: “The World of Thomas Turner” featured on CAUGHT BY THE RIVER. The retelling is witty, but the cartoons are a true delight. The link will bring you to the full EIGHT columns about Turner and his diary-life.

Found, also, an announcement that two academics were at work on a new scholarly edition of Turner’s diary! Alas, the Thomas Turner website has had little _recent_ updating — for instance, the book is described as coming out in 2020 or 2021; one year is past, and the other is quickly heading for the door. So not quite sure WHERE the project stands.

In the meanwhile, there are quantities of copies of Vaisey’s thick extraction from the existing diaries.


Two Old Books: Thomas Creevey & Sydney Smith

Although I have used the Lord Byron and His Times (LBT) website with some frequency, it was only lately that it dawned on me to include here two books which the site searches and displays “mentions” of people one may be searching:

There are MANY other documents, which may be found on the GENERAL INDEXES page (“Documents by Date“).

There is another Creevey book beyond Maxwell’s 2-volume edition. LONG ago I had purchased a paperback copy of John Gore’s The Creevey Papers. This later book does not, for the most part, duplicate information and letters from Maxwell’s edition. It also induced me to search for the earlier book, Maxwell’s, for more Creevey.

Of the two book on LBT:

Like Croker, Thomas Creevey was an inveterate writer about the machinations of the times in which he lived. David Hill Radcliffe has included a length “introduction” to the publication.

Radcliffe has also written a most useful introduction – and warning! – about Lady Holland’s work. Some letters went astray (or were destroyed), meaning that the two-volume edition of Sydney Smith letters, edited by Newell C. Smith (OUP, 1953), sometimes had to resort to using what they found in the Holland/Austin edition – despite known “errors” and conflations. Still, it is good to have access to this early biography and letters edition.

Mention must be made of Alan Bell‘s “continuation” of the Sydney Smith letters project. Bell had worked towards a new, more complete, edition of the Smith Letters; unfortunately, publication fell through. The vast amount of work Bell undertook in transcribing what he had located exists, and the typescripts are available (PDFs) on the Sydney Smith Association website.

A BONUS: Click on UNPUBLISHED LETTERS, and “1805” (or, click the above image) to see a letter from my own archive of 19th century manuscript material. Posted from Ledbury (in Herefordshire) to John Murray, Wimpole Street, London, the letter mentions others who, with Smith, founded The Edinburgh Review (in 1802). This affecting letter speaks of the recent death of Jeffrey’s wife, and briefly mentions Brougham. Email me should you wish a transcription.


Added some Online Books

I have a hefty number of FILES – saved PDFs that are old books, scanned from the likes of google.books or Archive.org. Must admit that there are so many, they reside in a couple of places (must do a bit of housekeeping…); so, at times, I’m never sure if I’ve merely looked through a book online OR if I have downloaded it. I have learned to DOWNLOAD, because once a “publish on demand” kind of book appears, the original scans seem more difficult to locate (and sometimes disappear).

(Do you think these “publishers” don’t just download the images – print it into a book – and sell it for a cost that often well exceeds the cost of an original printing found in the used-book market?)


I’ve begun to add a few books – online LINKS – to the page “A Little List“. This page has a links to used bookstores – online shops – book titles from MY LIBRARY – and now links to Online Books. These books will tend to be:

  1. Old Books (often 19th century; sometimes early 20th century)
  2. Letters – Diaries – Biography, or a combination of the three

I will keep sites that offer ONLINE primary material under the pages Diaries online and Letters online. Sites like these that offer, (especially), digital images of their holdings are pretty special! Some offer, in addition, transcriptions of their images; a few will offer the transcriptions only, but in “fully transcribed” editions – often with notes and images. Many are labors of love by an interested independent scholar; most represent the work of larger repositories.

There will be those sites that offer transcriptions of old publications, which, due to the volume of material, is “as good as it gets” at the moment. I can think of the Letters of Sir Walter Scott, or the diaries of John Waldie.

Online books listed, on the other hand, are often the publications of later relatives and are often the closest we (the general audience) will ever get to the original materials – most of which probably remain in family (private) hands.

The books I’ve so far “attached” to this “A Little List” page are:

  • Letters of Harriet, Countess Granville (2 volumes)
  • Some Records of the Later Life of Harriet, Countess Granville
  • Thackeray and His Daughter: the Letters and Journals of Anne Thackeray Ritchie
  • The Journal of the Hon. Henry Edward Fox


War-Time Journal of a Georgia Girl

“To edit oneself after the lapse of nearly half a century is like taking an appeal from Philip drunk to Philip sober. The changes of thought and feeling between the middle of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century are so great that the impulsive young person who penned the following record and the white-haired woman who edits it, are no more the same…”

Quite unusual that in 1908 Eliza Frances Andrews (known as “Fanny”) published her own journal of Civil War experiences. There cannot have been many women whose youthful journals were handled by themselves as editor. Although, the early 20th century does seem to have been a rare period with frequent publication of diaries, letters, lives of average, everyday people.

Eliza Frances Andrews writes of the years 1864 and 1865. Her first entry marks her arrival in Macon, Georgia:

“Dec. 24. 1864, Saturday. — Here we are in Macon at last, and this is the first chance I have had at my journal since we left home last Monday. Father went with us to Barnett, and then turned us over to Fred, who had come up from Augusta to meet us and travel with us as far as Mayfield. At Camack, where we changed cars, we found the train literally crammed with people going on the same journey as ourselves. …. 65 miles of bad roads and worse conveyances, through a country devastated by the most cruel and wicked invasion of modern times.”

I include the Books.google – digitized from a copy at Harvard – as the main source of the book; it seems a “well-done” scan. [I have not read the book.] If you’ve ever seen a BAD google scan – one with “slurred” pages, or missing pages, you will know what I mean! An alternative site is the Internet Archive edition.

There is a retyped “electronic edition” – with very good photographs – at the University of North Carolina’s site, Documenting the American South. The List of Illustrations (at the front of the book) even allows for clicking on the page number to bring up the photo in question! (However, you cannot enlarge the photos, other than increasing the “zoom” on your browser.) Read the UNC Summary here.

I became MORE interested in the book’s photographs when I spotted that the book had an illustrated spread from her original diary. But such a curiously “grey” image that it’s difficult to muster enthusiasm for it. Still, I do wonder: What has become of the original diary kept by Eliza Frances Andrews?

(She also hints in that December opening that she regularly kept a diary – “[T]his is the first chance I have had at my journal since we left home.”)

I will also mention, the photograph on the “cover” of at least one digitized copy is not Fanny Andrews; it is her sister Metta Andrews.

I must admit to a partiality for Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary (a “modern” edition, which is due out in paperback in October 2021; obtain a hardcover copy – you won’t be disappointed, if you are a lover of diaries.) See the University of Kentucky Press. I’m still waiting for a northern girl – and may have to wait for my own reproduction of the Diaries of Isadore Albee of Springfield Vermont.

Harris Henderson, ends the UNC Summary with the following words of encouragement to readers:

“One of the important aspects of the Journal is the record of daily interactions among upper-class southern men and women struggling as refugees in southern Georgia. What makes the diary unique, however, is the commentary that Andrews adds some forty years after her original experience. She confesses to the difficulty she has remembering such a trying time and highlights the challenge the South faced in moving beyond its painful past.”

A Botanist, Educator, and Writer – Fanny Andrews was a 2006 Inductee to Georgia Women of Achievement. It is there that one learns the later life achievements of this woman:

“Writing was Fanny’s passion. Over the course of her lifetime she produced novels, poems and botany texts, as well as serials, articles, essays and editorials for more than 70 magazines and newspapers. Her first article for national publication was a political piece appearing in an 1865 edition of the New York World. In it she assumed the guise of a male writer because women writers were uncommon at the time and often not taken seriously. In other writings she adopted the pseudonym ‘Elzey Hay’.”

There is also a link to a 2-minute YouTube video. The brief moments highlighting the botanical drawings so remind me of my research into Mary Gosling and Emma Smith (the latter, Jane Austen’s niece by marriage), which I present on my main blog, Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

Letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle

It has been a while since I’ve written about Thomas and Jane Carlyle – August 19, 2015 – and that dealt specifically with an old book that had been republished, The Carlyles at Home by Thea Holme. The original had induced me to purchase an old copy of Froude‘s Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle, a two-in-one volume that makes for a massively-thick tome.

Back in 2017 Kathy Chamberlain published her *new* biography, Jane Welsh Carlyle and Her Victorian World: A Story of Love, Work, Marriage, and Friendship.

Chamberlain focuses her attention on the 1840s, although it dips into Jane Welsh Carlyle’s early life so that readers get to know her “back story”. But, wishing to experience Jane Welsh Carlyle’s own words, I not only brought out my copy of Letters and Memorials, I also searched online for other early publications of her letters. I wanted just her letters, without those of Thomas Carlyle. Readers of the original blog post (click picture) will be able to access the Carlyle Letters Online, and many will know of the print volumes available.

This post mainly serves to point out the online copies of the following books of correspondence:


New Reprints of Old Books

I will preface this by calling the post a bit of a RANT; and mention also,
the intended blog post – on letters of Jane Welsh Carlyle – will appear separately.

It has been a while since I’ve written about Thomas and Jane Carlyle – August 19, 2015 – and that dealt specifically with an old book that had been republished, The Carlyles at Home by Thea Holme.

I must say, during the ensuing five-plus years, reprints have taken on a new “new life”. There once was a time when a reprint was a genuine reason to exult! A hard-to-find title *finally* available again, perhaps in paperback, but hopefully reproducing itself in a true manner – complete (if lucky) with images, maps, pedigrees, or whatever accompanied the original. SOMETIMES with the addition of such material. SOMETIMES, if really lucky, in a more authoritative issue.

I think, for instance, of Andrew Tod’s Memoirs of a Highland Lady in the 1980s, which included the full original text, instead of a reprint of the 19th century book. Tod continued to issue Elizabeth Grant Smith’s later diaries, such as (pictured below) The Highland Lady in Dublin, 1851-1856.

Ten years ago (and I’m grabbing a “date” out of thin air), I would be happy whenever I located a hard-to-find book on Google Books. Too many times, in the beginning of my research (see my blog Two Teens in the Time of Austen), I did shake my head when coming across a volume, now fully digitized, reliving the difficulty I had had in trying to procure a scarce copy through inter-library loan. For example, Special Collections’ copies do not circulate.

Digital meant the book could now be downloaded, and that was always a plus.

BUT: there was the presumption that the digital copy could remain forever and always…

The more recent past, however, has seen too many books that were ONCE accessible on books.google. They either become wholly removed or so buried that only an original link digs them up.

WHY the change?

Books.google obviously helped to provide easy “print on demand” templates – and these *new* reprints have become current, with their “no preview” or “limited preview” versions taking precedence at the top of the lists. These do not always seem to be produced by legitimate publishers, but both sorts of reprints can cause the old digitized volume to “evaporate.” It isn’t the long-dead AUTHOR who’s making money from new reprints. Rising cover prices and free content mean a tidy profit with little investment. “Print on Demand” requires no physical book stock. The resultant decimation of former availability has become a rather distasteful side to the digitization of old books.

Long ago, when I used to haunt the Used Books Annex at our local Barnes & Noble, I found a copy of E.M. Delafield’s The Provincial Lady in London. Its cover price was low, being a paperback reprint, (I think it was $7.95), so its used price was very insignificant. I was quite taken with the book. I wanted MORE “Provincial Lady.”

I bought another volume, new.

BUT: my paperback version had a production defect: a missing page. Luckily, UVM’s library had an ORIGINAL hardcover. I’ve just checked their holdings – and find that they no longer HAVE the book and even their “annex” (where old and new books sometimes go to die) copy is a later reprint. (Maybe the original became “lost.”)

I either copied down or xeroxed the missing page. (I should locate my Delafield stash to confirm, but don’t feel like rifling through the closet shelves.)

I mention this scenario because it brought home to me that the new reprint was not newly recreated. The same layout, page breaks, and the poor quality of the printing bore the evidence of the lack-of-expense expended in reproducing the reprints. Into the bargain, of course, “quality control” had missed that a page had not been reproduced. (I think it was a chapter header page, even.)

Still in search of more “Provincial Lady” books, (E.M. Delafield was a prolific writer, in general as well as in this “series”), I went to a bookstore “downtown”. There came the REAL surprise. Not only were these books reprinted by “xeroxing” (for lack of a better word) the original 1930s, 1940s books, but a NEW new-reprint series had gotten underway. The smaller paperbacks had grown in size and were now a good $10 more (ie, closing in on $20, each). New Cover Art. But SAME interior.

I think, but I couldn’t swear to it, that the *missing* page still remained missing!

Thank goodness many books already uploaded to Internet Archive have remained there. Occasionally, I even use Hathi Trust. (Beware download links that offer books for “free”. What else comes with the download, I do not know…)

I know “all good things come to an end,” and I do still head over to books.google whenever I’m thinking about buying a book (a good preview is priceless), but to have books removed from the site so a few companies can “make a buck” was not the aim of the project. The early goal had been rather remarkable: To make books available to everyone. Let’s not forget the PUBLIC when discussing PUBLIC DOMAIN books.

Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary

publisher/date: University Press of Kentucky, 2009
pages:  xviii + 262
hardcover; paperback scheduled for Oct 2021 release
genre: diary

My longest trip to Kentucky was in 2015 for the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). The meeting was held in Louisville; I gave a paper. But it wasn’t until my recent (Dec 2020) encounter with the diaries of Isadore Albee of Springfield, Vermont, that I sought out more about the (U.S.) Civil War era. Of course I have books – of letters; of diaries (including the ‘famous’ Mary Chesnut); a Howard Coffin book on Vermonters in the Civil War – but when I came upon the excerpt of Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary (edited by Nancy Disher Baird), I knew I had found something out-of-the ordinary.

Was it the “mystery” surrounding Josie Underwood’s diary?


typescript appeared out of the blue, forwarded by the United States Postal Service. Where had it come from? Where was the original diary? Was it (gasp!) a fake?

The latter query was dispatched QUITE quickly. Too much information that could be correctly corroborated – known Civil War facts AND intimate knowledge of Underwood family details.

The other questions never seem to have gained answers, despite an intense search – including among Underwood descendants.

That it survived, in some way, gives an indication of how good this diary is. Somehow, young Josie Underwood speaks – and her words, thoughts, feelings are fresh and exciting.

Bowling Green, Kentucky is the scene in which the Underwoods lived; Pa – Warner Underwood – was a stout Unionist; Ma – Lucy Craig Henry Underwood – celebrated her roots as a “Daughter of the South”, but she so keenly felt her brother’s “betrayal” of their father’s fight for a United States that she wished her own dear brother dead instead of fighting on the Confederate side. Kentucky, at the moment, was doing its damnedest to stay neutral. The family members, though, had picked sides – some “Union,” some “Secesh” – and backed up their beliefs in words and deeds.

One of the most touching instances – Josie’s sister Jupe’s aiding of a young clergyman and his pregnant wife, who were literally run out of town in Mississippi for being “Northerners”. The couple, “compelled to leave, without preparation and little money,” were not finding anyone to aid them in this flight — until Jupe took them under her roof, giving them respite and funds to continue on to Boston. This humanitarian aid, despite rather frightening threats to her from locals!

The book, too, makes me think less of “brother fighting brother” and turned my thoughts to those of Mrs. Underwood: men just a generation (or two) before had fought wars creating and uniting the United States. Now their sons and grandsons were engaging in divisions. It’s an important thought to keep in mind for wars so distant in time to us in the 21st century.

On a personal note, Josie Underwood (1840-1923) is a true delight! Her quick mind, staunch beliefs, familial devotion, and those many marriage proposals (so many that I have lost count!) gave wings to her thoughts, actions, and recorded words.

In looking up information, it is with great pleasure that I see, after more than ten years< the book will be reprinted (in paperback) later this year. Snap up used copies, in hardcover, before they disappear (new copies are available through the University Press of Kentucky). Josie Underwood’s Civil War Diary is a “keeper”, and it is well-served by Baird’s editing, useful appendix of “Who’s Who”, notes, and index.