1893. Original manuscript. 123 pages of legible entries, written in pencil, three entries per page. Preceded by 38pp of printed matter, including weight, shirt and shoe sizes. Diary entries are followed by 36pp labeled "accounts," although 15 of those pages contain additions to the diary, a list of books read, etc. Bound in black cloth, wallet-stype flap and closure. 4" x 2.5" Very Good. Item #040347
Grace Kincaid, who resides outside of Proctorsville, Vermont, is 15 when this diary opens. At the front are her name, address, a drawn heart with an arrow through it, and the notation “done well for the first year”. Grace lives with her “Mamma” and sister Flossie (who turns 12 in 1893), although other people including “Pearley” (a local boy who turns 18) and Frank (her older brother?) also play major roles in her daily life. There is no mention of a father, but other relatives, friends and neighbors are frequent diary subjects. Most days’ entries open with a weather summary, and Grace apparently lives on a farm, which is put up for sale during the course of the year. Her diary reflects her position as both a schoolgirl/child and a young adult/worker. A teenager, Grace divides her time between attending school and long spells when she lives at her employers’ home and does housework. Starting in January, local women begin asking her to work for them during the summer, or even immediately, and from March 6-April 30 she works and lives at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Whitney. She is “lonesome here with no one to talk to...Mr. and Mrs. Whitney are in the other room” (March 22) and “O! It is lonesome today. Thought I should see some of my folks but did not” (April 16). The only tasks she mentions specifically are braiding a rug, a job she “doesn’t dislike,” and “washed and cleaned house a little” (April 25), but she notes that “my hands have been chap[p]ing and are very sore” (March 20). Grace notes in the diary the passing of each week she is away from home. After a brief stint at home and school, Grace is off to work again in May, going off to work/live at Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker’s on May 26. Her tasks there include quilting, and after 4 weeks there, she notes that “Pearly carried me home-$8.00 [for] 4 weeks [of work]” (June 24). ~~ Grace’s school life is also described in some detail, with mentions of new teachers, test scores, and such teen-style entries as “got mad at little boys for trying to get a note away from me” (Jan 13) and “some of the scholars bothering Van Slack about me and he said he didn’t know as he had any claim on me he could stand it if there wa[s]nt another one in the case. (Poor boy)” (final entry in diary). Dances play an important part in Grace's life, too, mostly attended during her stints at school, although by and large they seem to be held at people’s houses. She carefully notes who is giving the dance, who invited her, who she danced with, how many “figures” she danced during the evening, and even the names of dances she learned (e.g. “Danish Polka”, “Heal [sic] and Toe Polka”). Her other entertainments include playing backgammon and checkers, and one day in August playing tennis, which she “likes pretty well.” She reads a lot, especially when living at employers’ homes, and often gives the author and title of what she’s just finished. Grace attends church a few times during the year, goes to a few lectures, attends the Springfield Fair, goes to the dentist (who fills 10 cavities), and visits with girlfriends, sometimes overnight. She and other family members or friends regularly go visiting or on errands to other Windsor County towns, including Felchville, Springfield, Ludlow, Woodstock, S. Reading , Middleton, and Cavendish. Farm life is also infrequently mentioned, as when “our old pig had 13 young ones today” (Aug 14), and “sold the old mare” on Aug. 17. On Sept. 13, she reports that “we “sold our farm tonight to Ed Murray for [$]750.” After that, they stay with various relatives and Frank and Mamma go “looking for a farm” in Wethersfield and Windsor, but don’t buy one. ~~ Grace's diary is a good source of local news of the day, including funerals, town meetings, and even a suicide attempt when she “heard Fred Whitaker shot himself yesterday in his barn. Did not kill him” (Aug. 2). Five days later, she notes that “Fred was alive yet.” The pages at the rear of the diary include recipes for “Cocoanut Pudding” and “Poor Man’s Pudding,” addenda to earlier entries, a list of “Novels I have read before Nov. 18, 1893,” and a page of local names and addresses.