Julia J. Bolton, the author of this notebook, was born on Jan. 10, 1837. She lived in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended La Grange Female College located in La Grange, about 60 miles southwest of Atlanta. This college was founded by the Methodists in 1831 as the La Grange Female Academy. In 1847 the name was changed to La Grange Female Institute, and in 1851 to La Grange Female College. In 1948, the college started accepting men, and became La Grange College.
The history of Julia Bolton is a mystery, but we know from her reflections in the notebook that she loved nature, fishing, and especially reading. She comments on the many authors she's read including Byron, Shakespeare, Pope, and Rousseau, "when you want to lose yourself in a mental dream-land." Julia held many opinions that she expresses in her essays, writing that "As a punishment Dueling is absurd," and "a state of happiness is not to be expected by those who are not governed by moral or religious rules." But she was also a well-loved friend and many of the poems addressed to her are signed "your sincere friend."
The notebook itself also has a history, as a note on the inside front cover states "This book taken from White Hall Street, Atlanta, Georgia, December 1864 by John L. Stevens. Jr." On July 30th of that year, Sherman's army shelled the houses and stores on White Hall Street. This little notebook survived the destruction of Atlanta by the Union army.