By Hannah Elder, Assistant Reference Librarian for Rights and Reproductions
Even though I, like many of my fellow librarians, am an Official Introvert, I love people. I love learning their stories, figuring out the ways we’re different or similar, and building relationships. I love reflecting on their humanity, on what makes them unique and what connects us all. I suppose that’s a part of why I love history. It’s a way to get to know people and their stories. And it’s a reminder that while there are things that separate us, including time, we all have the shared experience of living complicated, messy, beautiful lives.
Today I want to look back, just one hundred years, to a day in some of those beautiful lives. I’ve gathered a few diaries from our collection with entries for March 25, 1922 and have transcribed them below.
60 clear, breeze
A beautiful Spring day. To Dr. La Rous for 7th treatment. He thinks he notes slight improvements, but I am getting discouraged. Met Miss Robinson in Schofield Bldg. where she has an office. Back to bank at 105th St. where I deposited check + got $20.00 in cash. Had lunch + haircut. Walked along 105th St. to station, + took a car for Public Sq. at St. Clair. Spent an hour or so at Public Library.
Only a few boarders here this eve, I read transcript.
Got snap shots I had printed. The flash lights I took of the Teachers Circus in Fram. did not come out well – too little light.
Reading earlier entries in the diary, I was able to learn more about Streeter’s day. The doctor he mentioned was a dermatologist, who he had been seeing for x-ray treatments for a condition on his face. Streeter had moved to Cleveland Heights, Ohio earlier that year, and was living in a boarding house, the fellow occupants of which were largely teachers. His Saturday sounds very familiar; a mix of errands, appointments, visits, and leisure.
Sat[urday] On the train – Warm – Richmond 2.30 – Washington 6.30 – Had dinner at the station –
Again, I was able to learn more through other entries. Howes was traveling from the Florida Keys, where she had spent some time socializing and enjoying the weather, to her native Boston. When she returned home, she spent many days visiting with her mother.
Fine. Little walk + slept all the p.m. Took call from Gertrude while D at dinner.
Nothing beats a walk and a nap on a Saturday!
Weather Bright and fair
Morning went to my riding lesson
Afternoon took Elisha to see a nesting meet.
Was in bed 830
Binney was eleven years old when he recorded this entry in 1922. As the year progressed, his handwriting improved and the entries got longer. In addition to the diary, the Henry P. Binney Family collection includes a baby book that his mother, Alberta, filled out as young Henry grew up. Leafing through the book was a delight, as I learned about his first outing, saw cuttings of his hair, and even got to see his first photograph. It was precious.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the day in the lives of a few individuals who lived in 1922! If you would like to do some similar exploration of your own, consider making an appointment to visit the MHS library.