The Buttolph family collection contains two diaries and an account book chronicling the experiences and expenses of Larnard D. and Florence W. Buttolph of Corfu, New York, in the late 19th century. Florence's diary (80 pages), kept between March 10, 1872, and September 28, 1872, relates her social life and daily experiences, including visits to neighbors and attendance at school; she frequently helped her mother around the house, and knitted in her spare time.
The first 40 pages of Larnard’s diary contain addresses and a correspondence record, and the remainder of the volume is a daily diary kept between April 8, 1873, and January 15, 1874, reflecting his experiences traveling by train to California and working at a mill in the northern part of the state. The first few entries, dated in April, cover his transcontinental railroad trip, during which he wrote about his impressions of Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming. He reached California by the end of that month, and spent the remainder of the year working various jobs near Sacramento, including mill work and ranching. Though he made some money and was able to travel to San Francisco in December, he decided to return to New York in mid-January 1874.
The final item is Larnard's account book, covering farm expenses between 1882 and 1889, with a few 20th-century items laid in. The first few pages reflect the general state of his finances in 1882 and 1883, and more specific later accounts cover his transactions with local butchers, shearers, and laborers; some record purchases and others sales. Among the items laid in is a printed document for stockholders, entitled "The Pennsylvania Railroad System in 1923" (May 15, 1924).
Visual material includes an ink drawing of a bird and butterfly, as well as tintypes and other photographs of Buttolph family members and anonymous individuals.