Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Sophia McCormick Diary, 1811, 1818

Finding aid created by
Kate Silbert and Meg Hixon, May 2012

Summary Information
Title: Sophia McCormick diary
Creator: McCormick, Sophia Cumming
Inclusive dates: 1811, 1818
Extent: 1 volume
Abstract:
This 72-page diary is an account of the five-month trip Sophia Cumming McCormick took with her uncle, aunt, and cousin from Savannah, Georgia, to New York City and along the East Coast in 1811. A second, shorter portion of the diary consists of nine entries from 1818, in which McCormick reflected on her spiritual state.

Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1998. M-3425.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

Sophia McCormick diary, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Sophia Cumming McCormick, a young woman from Savannah, Georgia, arrived in New York City on the Brig Champlin with her uncle ("Dr. Cumming"), aunt, cousin, and brother in late May 1811. Over the next five months, she and her family spent a considerable amount of time in New York and New Jersey, including a three-month stay in Morristown, New Jersey, before traveling south through Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas. From June until September, Sophia and her cousin Anna attended Miss Scribner's School, a young women's academy in Morristown. When the family departed Morristown in September, Sophia's brother stayed on at an unnamed school. McCormick and her family visited and attended several Presbyterian churches over the course of their trip.

In 1818, McCormick was visiting family members in St. Clair, Georgia (near Augusta in present-day Burke County). According to her diary, her mother had died by this time, and her father was in the midst of recovering from an illness.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This 72-page diary is an account of the five-month trip Sophia Cumming McCormick took with her uncle, aunt, and cousin from Savannah, Georgia, to New York City and along the East Coast in 1811. A second, shorter portion of the diary consists of nine entries from 1818, in which McCormick reflected on her spiritual state.

The first 65 pages of the diary (May 22, 1811-November 4, 1811) contain daily entries chronicling McCormick's travel experiences. She recorded details about the geographic, physical, and historical features of the cities and towns she and her family visited or passed through. Her accounts of New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Richmond are the most extensive, and include details about specific streets, buildings, and bridges. McCormick's descriptions of Charles Wilson Peale's natural history museum in Philadelphia (located in what is now the basement of Independence Hall) and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., are particularly colorful.

McCormick's entries from July to September 1811, written while she attended Miss Scribner's School in Morristown, New Jersey, are often brief, though she commented more extensively about Fourth of July celebrations and recorded her thoughts about leaving the school. She also mentioned a Morristown funeral custom, a solar eclipse seen from Trenton, a visit to Thomas Jefferson's birthplace, public water supplies, a Gaelic-language sermon near Fayetteville, North Carolina. Throughout her travels, McCormick recorded the names of churches she attended, along with the ministers' names and sermon topics.

The second part of the diary (7 pages) consists of 9 entries dated between July 11, 1818, and November 1 [1818?]. In these entries, McCormick primarily reflected on her spiritual well-being. She appears to have been traveling during this span of time as well, staying with cousins near Augusta, Georgia.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • Baltimore (Md.)--Description and travel.
    • Champlin (Brig)
    • Christian life.
    • Church buildings--United States.
    • East (U.S.)--Description and travel.
    • Fourth of July celebrations.
    • Miss Scribner's School (Morristown, N.J.)
    • Morristown (N.J.)--Social life and customs.
    • New York (N.Y.)--Social life and customs.
    • Philadelphia (Pa.)--Description and travel.
    • Public buildings--United States.
    • Richmond (Va.)--Description and travel.
    • Savannah (Ga.)
    • Spirituality.
    • United States Capitol (Washington, D.C.)
    • Washington (D.C.)--Description and travel.
    • Women--Education--United States--History--19th century.
    • Women travelers.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Volume   1  
    Sophia McCormick diary,  1811,  1818 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    The New Jersey Historical Society holds the Euphemia Maria Brinckerhoff Ciphering book, 1810 (from Miss Scribner's school in Morristown, New Jersey).

    Bibliography

    [Shipping News]. Commercial Advertiser (New York City), 30 May 1811.

    [Advertisement]. The Evening Post (New York City), 29 Apr. 1809.