The EXCELSIOR DIARY. 1898. Vassar College.

1898. Commercial diary, beginning with 16 printed pages, including an almanac calendar for the year, followed by pages of 'factoids', e.g., "States and Territories", "Value of Foreign Coins", etc. The followed by the diary portion [one page per day], memorandum pages, page for addresses [blank] & cash account pages [per month, used by Phoebe in the beginning of the year].

She writes with a small neat, entirely legible script, with most pages [at least] half filled, though often more... ~ 25 lines per page, ~ 5 words per line, 40,000+ words. Printed preliminary pages with decorative border, and photographic image at top. 5-7/8" x 3-1/2". Maroon half-leather with marbled boards & edges. Extremity wear. Truesdale's name, et al, inked to ffep. A Very Good example. Item #48356

Here offered a year long diary from Phoebe Truesdale, who came to Vassar from Youngstouwn Ohio. She begins her entries Jan 1, 1898, concluding with a final entry Dec 31, 1898. Every day is filled with detailed accounts of Vassar, friends, family, gossip, courting, romance, working on plays, attending operas, and trips to New York City. In particular Brooklyn, Staten Island, Columbia Collage, Grants Tomb, Brooklyn Bridge, U.S. Navy Yard onboard the Navy ship “ Texas”, etc. Of note are some entries regarding the Spanish American War and it’s impact on the American public.

And while there are many other entries mentioning this conflict, she primarily records the everyday life of a college student. For example:

Jan 24,1898
Went to my first exam this week - Economics. It wasn’t that bad - and I didn’t mind it. Gertrude came over about 4:30pm - feeling pretty tired. We went walking together and got back a little while and begun dinner M.G. came with me to dinner and M.- stayed up in our room and taken during chapel. She was feeling badly and wanted me to go over to Raymond which I did - she told me what has been bothering her so and said she had changed her mind a lot but she begged me not to leave her alone, so I stayed all night. The poor girl has been suffering everything over her first real love affair and is filled with doubts and misunderstandings - I do hope it ill turn out all right.


March 29,1898
This morning we went down to the Battery took the ferry to Staten Island in order to see the Harbor. Saw an Austrian gunboat still in - it caused much excitement for a while people believing it to be a Spanish war vessel. After lunch went out to Grants tomb and Columbia Collage. The tomb is a wonderful thing and in a beautiful location. The Columbia buildings are beautiful especially the library but it seems a cramped room the whole thing in my mind does not compare to Princeton.

March 30,1898
Joe came back before eight and watered to go to the theatre so we saw “ In Gay New York “ - at the casino - Rank! Was frightened terribly by a man escorting Joe and following us as we came near Mrs Sloan's - made Joe stay here till I had made sure the man had left. Than I  watched him from my window till he whistled to let me know he had reached home safely he reports a fine time at Princeton.

Although beginning to feel tired after out long continuous jaunt - we started out this morning determined to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Watched the school children playing in the park and thought of( Peter Sterling ) than went to the Brooklyn Navy Yard and reviewed the new vessels in come of preparation and the old ones being prepared went onboard the  “ Texas “ and were treated most kindly. If Joe could be an Annapolis man and officer I should be too proud for anything.

April 1,1898
Joe and I started out today to buy clothes. He purchased quite an outfit and I had the second fitting on my jacket, went into Grace church, and missed our appointment with the girls at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. Went through Trinity churchyard- down Wall Street and visited the Produce Exchange, which was extremely quiet due to rumor of war. After lunch went down to the Battery and to the aquarium in the old castle garden building. Came up to 23rd Street and did some more shopping than went to see St. Patrick's cathedral and home for a late dinner. Joe received a note from Wilmer Urich to meet him at him at Holland House. They went to See Henry Miller in the “ Master” and I stopped at home and packed up. Lost my pocket book containing less than fifty cents.


April 21,1898
Went to rehearsal the 7th and I do hope this play is going to be a success! But even if it is not we had lots of fun out of it. At dinner Florence who has been downtown said that war had practically been declared our fleet had sailed and a call for 80,000 volunteers has been issued. It is dreadful to think that inside of the next few weeks we may be in the middle of a fearful war, something I had never expected to see. How thankful I am Papa and Joe will not go.


May 3,1898
Received a dear letter from Papa in which he said all are well at home but Mother very tired. Joe and about 60 other fellows drill is on the avenue after seeing “The Logan Rifles“ Received a letter from Roslin latest war news is that the Spanish fleet off Manila Island has been destroyed by the American fleet.

May 19,1898
My friends have stopped writing about war, partly because I don’t ? - their letters and party because in coming home so soon, I presume the family are very good about it. Though Papa thinks it is hardly necessary to write often when we can so soon talk together- so this is not much to read these days since there is a hill in the war excitement due to a lack of fighting - and we are forced to devote our time and attention here to the approaching exams. I don’t think I know a single fellow, aside from the West Point men who has gone to the war. Grace keeps em updated about Will Wrights moments and the dear child is moved to pieces when ever she hears that there are prospects of his being sent to Cuba.

July 4,1898
Cannons boomed all day. News from Cuba came in this evening which made us all thankful - news of the Spanish vessels where sunk by our ships in Santiago harbor the Texas taking active part Cirveza taken prisoner report that Santiago had surrendered.

All-in-all, a primary source for the thoughts of a young American college girl during the penultimate year of the 19th C.

Price: $975.00

See all items in Americana