Steven St. Onge, a Quinnipiac University student and history major, is working in Special Collections & Archives this summer, describing some of our 19th century diaries. His discoveries have been fascinating, and I asked him to share some of his findings:
After a month of deciphering handwriting from the 1800s, I’ve finally produced two finding aids for the diaries of Lorenzo Whiting Blood and Harriet Stewart Judd. Surprisingly both of these two figures had very complex lives, much different from what the current Wesleyan student goes through.
The first diary was from Lorenzo Whiting Blood who regales the reader with his adventures as a Wesleyan University student during the 1830s and some details on his later life. The diary begins when Blood is a freshman at Wesleyan who is struggling to become a Methodist minister. However, after completing a year at Wesleyan, Blood attempts to open his own school in Cheshire, which after a few months is forced to close. He then comes back to Wesleyan where he has to take twice the course load to catch up to his class. Somehow he is able to accomplish this, but then again Blood decides to leave Wesleyan, this time to teach at Amenia Seminary. Unfortunately while he is teaching there, he is diagnosed with the measles which leaves him on the verge of death for two months. Miraculously he recovers and returns once again to Wesleyan where, somehow, he goes on to graduate near the top of his class. The journal then describes the troubles Blood faces trying to find a job, marrying his hometown love, and ends with him becoming deacon of Mystic.
The second diary is from the wife of Orange Judd, a former Wesleyan student, by the name of Harriet Stewart Judd. This diary is from 1872-1873 and chronicles three trips taken by the Judd family across the Eastern coast of the United States and throughout Europe. Judd visits many tourist points of interest including Shakespeare’s grave and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, while giving great details on the architectural and historical background. Judd also writes about her traveling family’s dynamic, along with Orange Judd’s continual sicknesses.