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Canby A. Alexander diary

 Collection — Box: 1 [31151030118933]
Identifier: MS-0723
This diary was started by Canby A. Alexander in January 1883, when he was 10 years old and living in Cecil County, Maryland. At 10, Alexander was no longer enrolled in school but instead was occupied with the family farm and the comings and goings of his extended family, neighbors and friends. The Alexanders may have been descendants of Robert Alexander, once a delegate to the Continental Congress, who later defected to the Royal Navy. His estate became the town of Elkton, Maryland. Canby Alexander's diary is a commercially bound leatherette wallet diary, measuring approximately 5 x 3 inches. The pages are ruled and unnumbered, but with printed dates as headers, and a total of three date entries to a page. The last few pages are written in with an older hand, pertaining to finances and date to 1895 to 1896. Overall, the diary spans from 1883, then 1895 to 1896.

Dates

  • 1883, 1895-1896

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Extent

0.167 Cubic Feet (1 legal size folder)

Biographical / Historical

This diary was started by Canby A. Alexander in January 1883, when he was 10 years old. At 10, Alexander was no longer enrolled in school but instead was occupied with the family farm and the comings and goings of his extended family, neighbors and friends. Alexander lived with his sister Sallie and widowed father, who earned additional income butchering cows and hogs near Brick Meeting House, Maryland, the town of Rising Sun nearby. The diary's owner noted his father's activities including his regular trips in and out of town to Oxford, and Nottingham in Pennsylvania; Wilmington and Bayview in Delaware; and Lombardville and Mount Olivet in Maryland.

By the age of ten, Alexander had assimilated the county's social hierarchies and relative status of the folks with whom he came in contact. His understanding of Cecil County's pecking order was encapsulated in the phrases he penned: "Mr. and Mrs. [John] Algard was here today"; "Cousin Dave was here this evening"; and "the Darkeys finished whitewashing." The three-day per page diary helped the young boy reduce the world around him to succint entries.

The contrast between the daily round of farm chores and the bustle of commercial activity away from the family farm must have stirred young Alexander's interest in being his own boss. By 1895, he was totalling up profits from rents from his properties. As of July of that year, he had not yet reached majority. The Alexanders may have been descendants of Robert Alexander, once a delegate to the Continental Congress, who later defected to the Royal Navy. His estate became the town of Elkton, Maryland.

Scope and Contents

This item is a commercially bound leatherette wallet diary, measuring approximately 5 x 3 inches. The pages are ruled and unnumbered, but with printed dates as headers, with a total of three date entries to a page. The diary was started by Alexander in January 1883, when he was 10 years old. Most of the diary was written in 1883. However, a few pages were purposely removed (possibly by Alexander himself). Subsequent pages are written in with an older hand, pertaining to finances and date to 1895 to 1896. A tax receipt issued by New Castle County Receiver of Taxes dated July 1892 made out to Hugh B. Alexander remains tucked in the pocket of the diary. The receipt may have been for payment of taxes on his son's property at 2235 Tatnall Street, in Wilmington, Delaware. Overall, the diary spans from 1883, then 1895 to 1896.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This diary was purchased from Ian Brabner Bookseller in 2013.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in October 2015 by Annie Tang.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA