Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Joseph Travis Diary and Account Book, 1853-1861

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Shannon Wait, June 2010

Summary Information
Title: Joseph Travis diary and account book
Creator: Travis, Joseph
Inclusive dates: 1853-1861
Extent: 1 volume
The Joseph Travis diary and account book documents eight years of the work, financial transactions, social visits, and political involvement of woodworker and painter Joseph Travis, of Monmouth, Illinois.
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:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1976. M-1730.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.

Preferred Citation:

Joseph Travis Diary and Account Book, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Joseph Travis was a woodworker and painter in Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois. In 1853, he began keeping a diary and account book, in which he recorded the work he performed, and briefly noted religious, political, and social activities. He concluded the volume on December 31, 1861.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Joseph Travis diary and account book contains 105 pages of brief, usually one-line diary entries, covering January 1, 1853-December 31, 1861, and 35 pages of financial transactions for the same period. In the diary, he primarily documented the work that he performed for others, including painting and paint-making, wallpapering, and woodworking. He also recorded his visits to friends and clients, his church attendance (including occasional references to particular preachers), and political rallies and events. Beginning in 1860, Travis wrote somewhat longer entries, and occasionally noted his support of Stephen Douglas, and his attendance at temperance meetings and pro-Douglas political rallies. He also commented on a Confederate sympathizer in Illinois (May 26, 1861) and the high spirits of soldiers leaving for war in Chicago (August 9, 1861). By the end of the diary in December 1861, Travis had not enlisted in the war.

In the back of the book are two sections of accounts, one incoming, and the other outgoing. These provide further insight into Travis' work, including the prices of various services, the supplies he used, and his movements around Illinois

Subject Terms

    • Galesburg (Ill.)
    • Monmouth (Ill.)
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Woodworkers.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    • Financial records.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Joseph Travis diary and account book,  1853-1861 [series]