Journal of a Voyage from Kennebunk to New Orleans and commonplace book  1852-1853, 1857-1887
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This volume contains an anonymous journal of a voyage from Kennebunk, Maine, to New Orleans, Louisiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio, between December 9, 1852, and January 24, 1853 (21 pages), as well as poetry, short stories, and essays composed by a second unknown writer between May 1857 and February 1887 (117 pages). One poem and one story concern the Civil War, and the author frequently composed biographical essays about prominent individuals, families, and other topics.

The first 21 pages, titled "Journal of a voyage from Kennebunk to New Orleans," are made up of daily diary entries composed during a voyage from Maine to Louisiana and from Louisiana to Ohio. The author embarked from Kennebunk, Maine, onboard the Golden Eagle (commanded by Captain Nathaniel Thompson) on December 9, 1852, and made daily observations about life at sea. As the Golden Eagle approached Florida in late December, he described the scenery in the Bahamas, the Florida Keys, and coastal Louisiana. On one occasion, the ship encountered a boat transporting slaves to New Orleans. The author arrived in New Orleans on December 28, where he wrote about some of his experiences in the city, such as a visit to the cattle market. On January 12, he boarded the steamer Yorktown for a journey up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to Cincinnati. He noted the cities passed along the way, such as Vicksburg and Memphis, and described southern plantations, making note of their use of slave labor. On January 15, he reported that the Yorktown had taken a newly purchased African American family onboard, who entertained the passengers with dancing and music. By the final entry, dated January 24, 1853, the author had just passed Evansville, Indiana.

The volume also contains a commonplace book, in which the writer composed 117 pages of poetry, short stories, and essay. Several poems are translations of German poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Ludwig Uhland, and others appear to be original compositions. Among the latter is "Our Native Land," a patriotic verse written in March 1863, and additional poetry dated June 1869. The author wrote one short story in March 1862. An essay, "the Presentiment," consists of recollections of a war-era soldiers' relief society worker and a story respecting a woman's premonition of her own death. Biographical sketches and essays comprise most of the remaining material and are often annotated with small edits. Persons of interest include Horace Walpole, William Cowper, Nassau family members, Michael Faraday, Sir Philip Sidney, Norman Macleod, Dr. John Brown, and Henry of Navarre. Other essays concern the "Besor brook" in Judaea, the rivers of Babylon, and the telegraph.

A financial account between Charles Thompson and Nathaniel L. Thompson, settled in Kennebunk, Maine, on January 1, 1856, is laid into the volume.

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