Who is Julia?

Julia, an ancestor of mine, lived in Brooklyn with her family in the mid-1800s. She kept a small leather diary during the year 1864, which is in some disrepair now but is still fairly legible, and has been transcribed by my aunt. This website is a project for Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Science, Digital Humanities (LIS 697-04), with Dr. Sula, Spring 2012, and in it I intend to present Julia’s diary to the world, complete with additional relevant information, to give an idea of what it was like to live as a middle-class white lady in Brooklyn during the Civil War.

For more on Julia, see this biographical essay written by my aunt Ann.

What did she write about?

  • The weather, mostly
  • Visitors
  • Events at local institutions:

    • Balls
    • Fairs
    • Concerts
  • Trips
  • Weddings and funerals
  • Cooking and baking
  • Dressmaking and shopping
  • Church and sermons

She didn’t write an entry for every day, and the entries she did write were not long, as space was limited in the week-in-two-pages diary. She was fairly active, but occasionally felt a pang of loneliness.

The Diary:



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