Skip to main content

Handwritten manuscript diary of an upstate New York Black woman

 Collection — Container: 1
Identifier: MS-0607

Scope and Contents

1928 handwritten manuscript diary of an upstate New York hardworking Black woman:

This 'single entry ledger' was probably used as an accouting type book for the first 74 pages, which were then excised and the book was turned into a journal starting on page 75. It has a total of 113 pages in pencil running from March 29 through December 19, 1928. The author is believed to be an African- American woman belonging to 'Harry Family House' in Montgomery, Orange County, New York. She is an incredibly hard working woman, cleaning, cooking, picking beans nearly every day, pickling, baking, working with her husband/friend Roby; many entries end with "boy am I tired". Working hard and perhaps working poor, frequent suppers are milk and bread. However Roby does a fair bit of buying, selling and trading. At one point he purchases a house and a pig and the necessities to fix the place up and over a period of time they ready the house and take posession.


  • Creation: 1928 March-December

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed at the George Peabody Library.

Biographical / Historical

The journal reveals simple living in upstate New York just before The Great Depression. The author and her husband 'Robby' live off ocasional jobs, sales and farming. It took a lot of work to farm in the 1920s because the work was done by hand. And this becomes evident when reading this journal, in which the author often states she has picked beans all day. Beans were an important source of money for this family and she details the weight of beans picked and how much they were worth in the market.


0.167 Cubic Feet (1 ledger)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased in September 2012.

Physical Description

This journal was written entirely in pencil, quite legible and clean inside the hardcover boards have suffered some light rubbing, bumping and general light soiling.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

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