John E. Essick journal  1861
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This volume (approximately 580 pages) contains meteorological tables and diary entries concerning daily life in Rhinebeck, New York, from 1850-1868. The first page of the volume consists of a brief note regarding intellect, followed by a 2-page essay about the "Influence of Weather on Health," 6 pages of information about diseases and treatments, and a recipe for an adhesive plaster. Some of the medical notes appear to have been copied from outside sources written in the 1840s.

The remainder of the volume is comprised of daily meteorological tables and diary entries written from January 19, 1850-May 10, 1868 (the entries for August 11, 1863-July 31, 1864, appear near the front of the volume). Each page of the meteorological register contains a chart providing information on wind direction and speed, temperature, and general weather conditions for as many as 10-12 days. A key to the numerical system used to denote wind speed and weather conditions is located at the beginning of the weather diary. Newspaper clippings regarding weather patterns and comet appearances were infrequently pasted into the volume.

Additional "Remarks" on almost every page frequently pertain to the weather, agriculture, and local news. The author commented on the weather's effects on various crops, the navigability of the Hudson River, locusts, the appearance of comets, and the prevalence of diseases such as measles and dysentery. Some entries pertain to recent news events (such as the destruction of the Henry Clay in July 1852) and political campaigns, including New York gubernatorial races and the United States presidential elections of 1856, 1860, and 1864. After the secessions of November 1861 and throughout the Civil War, the author reported war news, writing about local regiments and reactions to the war, recent battles, and major political events such as the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Some entries report false rumors.

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