This collection is made up of 5 notebooks and diaries that Reverend David Longworth Ogden kept between 1812 and 1848. They concern his intellectual life, such as his time at Yale University and his thoughts on numerous religious, political, and historical subjects, and his experiences in Whitesboro, New York, and Marlborough, Massachusetts.
Volume 1 ("Disputes") contains 87 pages of notes about debates held by members of Yale College's class of 1814 between February 23, 1814, and April 6, 1814. The debates are numbered 25-37. Ogden recorded each question and the often lengthy discussions that followed, sometimes days after the question was initially posed.
- Benefits of theaters
- Benefits of lawyers
- Whether a monarchy or republican government is more beneficial to literature
- The possibility of establishing a permanent United States navy
- The possibility of establishing a national university in the United States
- Whether persons can expatriate themselves unilaterally
- Benefits of studying dead languages
- Benefits of an independent judiciary
- Appearance of "spectres"
- Whether temptation lessens the severity of a crime
- Encouragement of domestic manufactures in the United States
- Profitability of privateering
- Legal regulation of interest on monetary loans
Volume 2 (approximately 300 pages, August 2, 1837-April 17, 1841), Volume 3 (approximately 285 pages, August 20, 1841-September 4, 1845), and Volume 4 (approximately 190 pages, July 8, 1848-November 10, 1850) are the second, third, and fifth installments of Ogden's diary, "Thoughts on Men and Things." Ogden composed diary entries and essays on numerous topics, often related to his daily experiences. Volumes 2 and 3 were primarily written at Whitesboro, New York, and Volume 4 was primarily written in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Ogden commented on current political issues, such as abolition and sectionalism; historical topics; and religious subjects, such as Baptists, Presbyterians, Christian life, missionaries, and his ministerial career. The entry dated September 30, 1844, has a copy of Ogden's letter to his congregation in Whitesboro about his desire to resign.
Volume 5 has around 60 pages of undated "Miscellaneous Observations and Extracts from various authors" compiled by David Ogden. These concern numerous religious topics, such as the Gospels and apostles, universal salvation, the divinity of Christ, the Holy Trinity, church personnel, and Church history. Some extracts are attributed to John Milton. One entry is dated at New Haven on September 29, 1812.