Grew family collection  1790, 1795
full text File Size: 10 K bytes

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of a commonplace book (approximately 50 pages) compiled by Ann Greene after 1790, and an account of a 44-day voyage John Grew and his family took from Liverpool to Boston in the summer of 1795. The 22-page travel diary also includes an 8-page copy of a letter Mary Grew, John Grew's mother, wrote to her family in England upon her arrival in Boston.

Ann Greene's commonplace book has two parts: 33 pages of transcribed poetry (24 poems) begin at the front cover, and 15 additional pages of personal reflections and letter drafts begin at the back cover. Much of the poetry was originally written by British authors whose work circulated widely in the eighteenth century, such as James Boswell, James Thomson, William Cowper, and Elizabeth Singer Rowe. Greene occasionally recorded the volume and page from which she transcribed poems. The other portion of the volume contains personal resolutions about making good use of one's time, interspersed with light-hearted notes about beaux or friends.

The travel diary records the Grew family's emigration from Birmingham England, to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1795. Daily entries, written between May 23 and July 8, 1795, detail several aspects of the voyage, such as the weather, passing ships, maritime wildlife, and the ship's progress. The diarist also mentioned an instance when another vessel mistook their ship for a French privateer, and the effects of a tumultuous storm.

The final 8 pages contain a copy of a letter Mary Coltman Grew (1756-1834) wrote to her mother in England from Boston, Massachusetts (July 24, 1795). She detailed her initial impressions of the city and of local customs. Among other topics, she reflected on the climate, housing, servants, dress, food, and religious customs. She also related an anecdote about Benjamin Franklin, who reportedly distributed printed cards to strangers in order to preempt any inquiries about him.

Show all series level scope and content notes