Addams Signature

Sample Documents: Excerpts From the 1875 Diary of Jane Addams

Excerpts from the 1875 Diary of Jane Addams

A small day-by-day style diary kept by Jane Addams in 1875 provides a six-month window on life in the Addams home in Cedarville. Addams was fourteen years old when she purchased the pocket diary. It measured approximately six inches by three inches, and she bought it for seventy-two cents on New Year's Day 1875.  From 1 January until 28 June 1875, she faithfully recorded her activities and feelings in it--often with misspelled words and incomplete sentences.  Except for sporadic entries in August 1875, the remaining pages of the diary contain drafts of articles and notes she wrote a few years later while she was a student at Rockford Female Seminary.  Here are a few sample entries from the first month Jane kept the diary, in January 1875.

                     [Page image 1 through 14]

Friday, January 1, 1875. [Page image 1]

To day I spent at Lena1 and had a very pleasant time indeed, we went in the bob-sled, we had a load of Weber, Irvie Hostetter, Nell, Kate Miller, Alfred Zaph,2 George and myself coming home we had the addition of Alice Pa and Ma went in the cutter.  After dinner we (that is Irvie, Nell, Alfred, George and I) and had our pictures taken.3

We sung almost all the way home and stopped to wish Lena Myers4 a "Happy New Year," evry sled we met we greeted in the same way.  Mary and the ladies were receiving callers all day, more or less.5  After dinner on our walk we purchased two diaries at Chas. Waite's store.6

Saturday, January 2, 1875. [Page image 2]

. . . In the evening, George, Alice and I went to singing,7 but Oliver and Emma8 came and she did not stay until it was out.  We bought a singing book9 this evening.

. . . Monday, January 4, 1875. [Page image 3]

This morning school began and we had the addition in our room of seven new scholars.10  It was very cold and we all set around the stove.  Mr Moore11 called George and I up to his desk to ask us what we would study this term in place of history finly concluded on Philosophy.12  This evening Pet Stahl13 came over and we played jack-straws and old maid and had lots of fun.  Mrs Stahl is not very well.  After Pet was gone Ma, George and I played snap.

. . . Wednesday, January  6, 1875. [Page image 4]

This morning Pa went to town, Ma intended going but finly concluded she wouldent.14  This afternoon Miss Echart15 came up to visit the school and of course I failed in Latin.16  This afternoon about three o'clock, Emma went home and I had the extreme pleasure of getting supper.17

This evening Pa came home and brought us each a new book.  After supper Ma[,] George and I pladed a game of four handed chess.  And Ma & I were beaten.

Thursday, January 7, 1875. [Page image 5]

This morning I got the breakfast as Emma has not yet arrived.

After I went up to school we (that is the philosophy class) sent up a petion to Mr Moore to have our class recite in the afternoon, he did not exactly scold but he did not like it very well.  This evening Lizzie18 came home with me to spend the night[.]  Pet Stahl came over and we had a very nice time playing snap and old maid.  Lizz won two games of snap and George one.

. . . Saturday, January 9, 1875. [Page image 6]

This morning it is so cold Pa did not go to town.  In the forenoon George and I drew and painted pictures.  In the afternoon Pet and Mrs Stahl came over.  We drew a while and then played charades.  I mended my purple dress which was out at the elbows.  We did not go to singing as it was too cold.  But Ma, George and I played four handed chess and afterwards Natural History.

It is still cold though not as cold as it was this morning.

Sunday, January 10, 1875. [Page image 7]

This morning it is still cold, but not as severe as it was last night.

Mr Barber19 was not at Sunday School and Mr Montelius20 tought our class.  We were very sorry Mr Barber was not there.

Mr Wrights21 were not in too church and Mr Mitchell22 had a big time too get any one too sing, he asked me if I could lead.

Alice Tobias23 sit with me in our pew.

Mr Michell wes here too dinner.  His text was, Golry too God in the highest, and on earth good peace to men.24

Monday, January 11, 1875. [Page image 8]

This morning there was a light snow.  It is not so very cold.  On my [way] to school I met little Susie Midigh25 and walked up the hill with her, and had quite a conversation.  This evening I had to stay after School to spell neighing.26

Pa went to Freeport to day as it was so <stormy> Saturday he could not go, he brought home a pair of forceps and this evening ma pulled one of his back teeth.

Nothing of very much importance happened to day.  I tried an experimet with sealing wax.27

Tuesday, January 12, 1875. [Page image 9]

This forenoon Pa came up and visited our school.

This evening at five o'clock we had quite a dinner-party.

They were here, Ida and Mrs Bucher,28 Mr and Mrs Templeton, and small daughter,29 and Mr and Mrs Moore,30 and last but not least Rob Bucher.  We had a turkey roast and other good things.

In the evening we played snap and old maid.  George and I played a duet, and George played the German Rhine.31  Pet and Mrs Stahl are sick.

. . . Thursday, January 14, 1885. [Page image 10]

This morning it is eighteen degrees below zero.

We went to school as usual working examples goes very slowly.  In the evening after supper George and I shelled corn for a while and then George, Ma, and I played history natural.  Ma beat one game and so did George and I came very near it.  This morning Pa showed me how to work a couple of examples, it seems as if we never could get the whole ninte seven of them.32

. . . Sunday, January 17, 1875. [Page image 11]

This morning we got up pretty late, and had to be in a great hurry with my work, and then got to Sunday S. long before any body else.  We had rather an interesting lesson, and I learned that we should try and remember the goodness of God.  Went to the M. Church33 but there were very few people there, as old Mr Plowman34 was buried to day.  And so Mr Conley35 dismissed the rest of us.  This afternoon finished the "gates Ajar.["]36  And begun "Pickwick Papers"37 which I think will be interesting.

Monday, January 18, 1875. [Page image 12]

To day went to school and every thing went off as uasal.

This evening there was a spiritual or magic preformance up in the hall.38  George, Pet and I went first and there was not any one there but a few of the band.39  After awhile Mr and Mrs Stahl, Ma and Emma and that was about all who came, but a few boys[.]  The most wonderful feat was the transfrormation of a man from a basket to a locked and sealed box, tied up with a hudred feet of rope by <two of> the audience.  Came home sleepy . . .

. . . Saturday, January 23, 1875. [Page image 13]

This morning Pa and Ma went to town and left George and I to keep house.  I got through my work about ten o'clock and we took our sleds and went sliding on the creek we would start on the ice under the bridge and slide clear down to Mr Hixson's.40  This afternoon I gave my drawers a thorough reading41 up.  Just as we were eating supper Mr Mitchell came to spend the night.  This evening George and I played or rather went to singing but it did not last long.

. . . Friday, January 29, 1875. [Page image 14]

To day we had our monthy examnation and every thing went off nicely.  Ma came up in the afternoon to visit us and hear our latin recite.42  I am begining to be interested in "Pickwick Papers" I did not like them very much at first.  I have worked sixty six examples, it begins to go a little faster now.  To day we had a written examnation in philosophy and it seems to me he picked out the hardest things he could find.  George has a sore throat now.

AD (Jane Addams, "Pocket Diary, 1875[-81]," Cedarville Area Historical Society; JAPM, 28:1499-1514; JAP, 1:103-14).

1.  Lena, Ill., was a shipping point for agriculture supplies and produce located approximately ten miles west of Cedarville, Ill. Between 1872 and 1875, Jane Addams’s sister Mary lived in Lena, where her husband worked as a Presbyterian minister.  Laura Shoemaker, who married Jane’s brother Weber in 1876, also lived there.

2.  Alfred Zapf, a young friend of Jane’s from Freeport, Ill., was the son of Edward Zapf (1831-74), a baker and merchant in Freeport who had recently died in the state mental hospital in Elgin, Ill., and his wife Elisabeth (1836-89).

3.  For photograph, see Swarthmore College Peace Collection.

4.  Probably Lena Meyer, daughter of carpenter Henry Meyer and his wife Caroline, who lived in Erin Township southeast of Lena, Ill.

5.  In an article entitled "Did You Call?" the Freeport Journal of 6 Jan. 1875, observed, "The weather (about calling hours) was of an undefinable character, and what your coffee-fed Londoners would call 'nasty'."  It was the custom to spend New Year's Day calling on neighbors and friends to wish them well in the coming year.

6.  Gen. Charles Waite, born in 1837 in Orange County, Vt., was a veteran of the Civil War.  A druggist who later became a banker in Lena, he opened his store in 1869.

7.  A community sing was held most Saturday evenings in the Methodist Church in Cedarville with George W. Barber presiding.  The Addams family attended regularly.  Jane Addams and her stepbrother George Haldeman had participated in group signing in Cedarville since at least the fall of 1869.

8.  Jane was referring to Oliver Zipsie (b. 1865), and Emma Zipsie (b. 1862), classmates of hers and George’s.  They were the children of farmer and shoemaker Jacob (1814?-75) and Catherine (1818?-87) Zipsie.  The family lived in Buckeye Township.

9.  It was likely that the Addams family purchased a collection of hymns gathered and issued by George W. Barber; however, the only singing book identified from the records of the books once owned by the Addams family was a Presbyterian hymnal with the date 1876 inscribed with the signature of John Huy Addams.

10.  No complete list of children attending the Cedarville public school with Jane Addams exists.  In 1875, she and George were students in the High Department.  There were 109 students enrolled during the May-June 1875 period with an average daily attendance of 82 (Illinois Monitor, 16 June 1875).

11.  Jane’s teacher, C. W. Moore.

12.  Later in the diary referred to as "natural philosophy." On 2 Feb., Jane reported, "We had a big time in our philosophy class about the pendulem."  On 8 Feb., her class studied sound and on 11 Feb., the velocity of light.  In a diary entry for 10 Feb., JA wrote: "[I]n our philosophy class about umber and pemumbra Mr Moore put a diagrahm on the boa[r]d of the sun and earth to illustrate and got me so I did'ent understand it at all, and got real provoked" ("Pocket Diary, 1875[-81]"; JAPM, 28:1515-19).

13.  One of Jane's classmates at school in 1875 was Fairy Mabel Stahl (1864-1932) who was also called "Pet."  She was the daughter of Sarah E. Winklebeck Stahl (1838-1918) and Aaron Stahl (1834-1904), who in 1871 joined his brother John operating the Addams flour mill in Cedarville.

14.  Jane's stepcousin Sarah Hostetter recalled that "Promptly at nine o'clock on Wednesday & Saturday mornings the carriage was at the door, and year after year . . . [John Huy Addams] would be met driving the well kept gray team, so well trained they knew where to avoid the bumps in the road and how to straddle the ditches" (S. Hostetter, "Few Reminiscences," 2).  In another written reminiscence, she indicated that he would have dinner at the Pennsylvania House hotel.

15.  No one by the family name of Echart appears in the U.S. census returns for 1870 or 1880 in the three townships in which Cedarville was located.  Jane’s Miss Echart may have been a distant relative who was visiting.  Two uncles of brothers John Huy Addams and James Huy Addams were married to women from an Eckert family in Pennsylvania.  Peter Addams (1784-1852) married Susan Eckert (d. 1842), and Isaac Addams (1779-1884) married Catherine Eckert.

16.  Jane Addams and George Haldeman had studied Latin for most of the 1874-75 school year.  Jane recorded in a diary entry for 19 Jan. 1875: "This morning Mr Moore gave me eight latin papers to correct and it kept me very busy indeed all day."  In her 3 May 1875 diary entry, she commented, "We have translations in latin every day now and it is quite interesting" ("Pocket Diary, 1875[-81]"; JAPM, 28:1508, 1561). Jane’s  manuscript translations of "Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic War," Books 1-4, Chap. 36, are extant.  She wrote them carefully into copy books that are in the Rockford College Archives and may be seen on JAPM, 27:20-116.

17.  Emma, whose last name is unknown, was the cook in the Addams household in 1875.  Unlike the other domestic servant who was a laundress and cleaning maid, she did not live with the Addams family.

18.  Jane’s cousin Elizabeth Belle "Lizzie" Addams (1861-1900), daughter of Lavina Hinnersheetz Addams and James Huy Addams.

19.  George W. Barber (1835-1913) was active in planning musical programs for the Cedarville Methodist Church.  With Jane Addams’s father he also helped initiate the Buckeye Mutual Fire Ins. Co., created 13 Apr. 1867, and the Cedarville Farmers Union Club in 1871.

20.  Marcus Montelius.

21.  Jane Addams received an undated award of merit from Sunday School teacher J. Lawson Wright sometime during her youth.  She could have been referring to him and to his wife Rose Clarridge Wright.

22.  Lewis Henry Mitchell (1846-1904) followed John Manning Linn as minister of the Cedarville Presbyterian Church.

23.  Alice Tobias (b. 1861?) was the daughter of Simon and Leah Tobias, and the sister of Jane Addams’s piano teacher, Mary Tobias.  Alice attended public school with Jane and George.

24.  The phrase "good peace to men" is written perpendicular to the text and in the right margin of the page.

25.  Jane seems still to have been confusing capital "M" and "N".  This is likely Susan Neidigh (b. 1870), who was the daughter of David Neidigh (b. 1815?), a farmer, born in Pennsylvania, and prominent member of the Evangelical Association. of Cedarville, and his wife Mary (b. 1845?), and also born in Pennsylvania.  By 1880, the Neidighs had at least nine children.

26.  Jane’s spelling scores during the five years between 1870 and 1875 fluctuated each month, from a low of 3 to a high of 8.6, out of a possible perfect 10.  Eighteen 1875 diary entries contain descriptions of various spelling bees and contests.

27.  The phrase "sealing wax" is written on the right side of the text near the bottom of the diary page and perpendicular to the text.

28.  Catherine Bucher (b. 1831?-1918) was the widow of Dr. Samuel R. Bucher (1827?-74), the first physician in Cedarville.

29.  Likely Alexander and Elizabeth Templeton, and a new baby.  By the early 1880s, the family had moved to Cleveland, Tenn.

30.  C. W. Moore and Emma Moore.

31.  Jane had been taking piano lessons for at least five years.

32.  Jane is referring to a set of ninety-seven arithmetic problems labeled "Promiscuous Examples," appearing on pages 334 through 341 of Robinson's Progressive Practical Arithmetic by Daniel W. Fish, published by Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor & Co., Chicago in 1872.  Her copy of this text with her name on the front endpaper is part of a small collection of Addams family books in the Rare Book Room of the Coleman Library of Rockford College. During the 1874-75 school year, Jane studied arithmetic and algebra.

33.  Sunday School and Methodist Church.

34.  Listed in the U.S. census return of 1870, Thomas Plowman, age seventy-five, born in Maryland, lived and worked as a day laborer and carpenter in Buckeye Township.  His tombstone in the Freeport City Cemetery indicates that he died 16 Jan. 1875 in his 82d year.

35.  Rev. James M. Conlee (1833-95), appointed in the fall of 1874 to serve the Methodist Episcopal churches in Dakota and Davis, Ill., by 1875, was an ordained elder and also preaching in Cedarville.

36.  According to her 1875 diary, Jane Addams began reading Gates Ajar on 13 Jan.  Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911), born Mary Gray Phelps, began writing Gates Ajar when she was twenty years old.  Published in 1868, the novel sold eighty thousand copies in America and one hundred thousand in England.

37.  Charles Dickens's (1812-70) Pickwick Papers: The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club was serialized in monthly sections between Apr. 1836 and Nov.1837 and published in novel form at the end of 1837.

38.  In 1875, the Cedarville Town Hall was located on the northeast corner of Cherry and Mill Streets.

39.  Jane is referring to the Independent Band of Cedarville, also called the Cedar Cliff Band, composed of approximately fifteen members.  It was organized by George W. Barber and his brother Samuel on 8 July 1873 to play at a variety of public functions in and around Cedarville.  The band continued as a town institution until the World War II era.

40.  Solomon Hixon (1824-84), a member of the Evangelical Church of Cedarville, born in Union County, Pa., made barrels for the Addams mills between 1855 and 1867, after which he became a farmer.

41.  Jane may have meant "read[y]ing."

42.  Public oral recitations and examinations were the norm in public schools throughout Stephenson County.  In addition to those held once a month for parents, school officials, and school board members, as well as the general public, there were term-end examinations and also Friday recitations in the Cedarville public school.