Joseph Dwight collection  1734-1762 (bulk 1746-1748)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection is made up of 3 diaries kept by Laura Prime Jay between January 1, 1890, and May 30, 1893. The first two volumes contain daily entries dated January 1, 1890-December 31, 1890, and the third volume contains daily and sporadic entries dated January 1, 1891-Mary 30, 1893. Jay dedicated the diary to her cousin, Edith Van Cortlandt Jay, and wrote brief statements regarding her reasons for maintaining a diary.

Most entries focus on Jay's daily life in New York City, where she attended school, took dancing lessons, and participated in social activities, often accompanied by her brothers Pierre and John and her cousin Edith. She attended religious services at Saint Thomas's Church with her family. Jay recorded the names of the books she read and reported on family illnesses and other news, such as the death of her grandfather, John Clarkson Jay, in November 1891. Jay sometimes visited New Haven, Connecticut, where she attended dances at Yale University. The Jay family, along with cousins and other relatives, spent much of their summers at "The Locusts" in Rye, New York, and at the Kimball House in Northeast Harbor, Maine, where they participated in outdoor activities such as swimming and boating. The diaries include descriptions of the family's journeys between New York City, Rye, and Northeast Harbor. In 1890, the Jays also spent time in and near Jaffrey, New Hampshire, where they climbed Mount Monadnock.

Each of the volumes, particularly the third, contains additional ephemera items laid or pasted in, including monthly lists of Christian feast days and other holidays. Most of the ephemeral items are programs from church services and musical performances. Additional items include dance cards, visiting cards, invitations, a receipt, and seating charts from social dinners.

One sheet of paper laid into the third volume contains drawings of a man (possibly a monk), a soldier ("Tritan"), and a woman. The third volume also has a colored illustration of three people in a canoe next to the heading "This Old House Gay at Last." Newspaper clippings pertain to events at Yale University and to the death of John Clarkson Jay.

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