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HUD 848.54.5

Mead, John Noyes. John Noyes Mead journals and compositions, 1843-1850: an inventory

Harvard University Archives

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© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUD 848.54.5
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Mead , John Noyes
Title: John Noyes Mead journals and compositions
Date(s): 1843-1849
Quantity: 0.35 cubic feet (1 document box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: The collection documents the daily life of John Noyes Mead, a student at Harvard College from 1846 to 1850. Comprising six handwritten journals and one handwritten volume of compositions and journal entry copies, this collection begins when Mead was a high school student in Brattleboro, Vermont, and concludes with his death in 1850. The journals focus on Mead's studies, with attention given to his extracurricular activities, his social life, and his movements around New England as a well-connected young man of some means.

Processing Information:

The John Noyes Mead journals and compositions were processed in August 2017 by Caroline Tanski. Processing involved a collection survey, rehousing, and the creation of this finding aid.

Conditions Governing Access:

Open for research.

Preferred Citation:

Mead, John Noyes. John Noyes Mead journals and compositions, 1843-1850. HUD 848.54.5, Harvard University Archives.

Biographical note

Born on April 2, 1831, John Noyes Mead spent his childhood in New Hampshire and, primarily, Brattleboro, Vermont. The oldest child of Larkin Goldsmith Mead, a prominent lawyer, and Mary Jane Noyes, he was also a cousin of Rutherford B. Hayes and uncle to the architect John Mead Howells. Before matriculating into the Class of 1851 at Harvard College he taught for several months at a school in Marlborough, Vermont. While at Harvard he participated in a debate club, played on a cricket team, and was secretary of the Hasty Pudding Club. He frequently played his violin for the entertainment of his peers, and was a gifted artist.
While at home in Brattleboro over the summer after his junior year at Harvard, Mead suffered a small cut on his foot. The cut quickly became infected and Mead died as a result on August 15, 1850.

References

Arrangement

The journals have been arranged chronologically. The exception to chronological arrangement is Box 7, which contains early compositions as well as copies of later journal entries which appear to have been completed as penmanship practice.

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the daily life of John Noyes Mead, a student at Harvard College from 1846 to 1850. Comprising six handwritten journals and one handwritten volume of compositions and journal entry copies, this collection begins when Mead was a high school student in Brattleboro, Vermont, and concludes with his death in 1850. The journals focus on Mead's studies, with attention given to his extracurricular activities, his social life, and his movements around New England as a well-connected young man of some means. The journals also touch on such subjects as the United States-Mexico War, the death of John Quincy Adams, and the abolition movement. Of particular note is Mead's talent as an artist. While he is best known for his "Sketches of College Life," published by Tappan and Bradford Lithographers, his journals, particularly the earlier volumes, abound with small sketches and illustrations. These include an illustration of John Quincy Adams's funeral cortege, a Thanksgiving dinner, and several scenes of Harvard students rowing on the Charles River. Many notable names make appearances in the collection, among them Harvard President Edward Everett, Mead's cousin Rutherford B. Hayes, Junius Brutus Booth, Daniel Webster, and Rufus Choate. Mead details meetings of the Hasty Pudding Club and the Odd Fellows, and many social calls to relatives and acquaintances.

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Mead , John Noyes
Harvard College (1780- ). Class of 1851

hua13017