Holyoke family. Holyoke family diaries, 1742-1748: an inventory
Harvard University Archives
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Call No.: HUM 46
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Holyoke family.
Title: Holyoke family diaries, 1742-1748
Quantity: .06 cubic feet (6 volumes)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Edward Augustus Holyoke (1728-1829) and John Holyoke (1733/4-1753) were children of
Harvard's ninth President Edward Holyoke (1689-1769) and Margaret Appleton Holyoke
(d. 1740). Edward Augustus and John grew up in Cambridge and received undergraduate
degrees from the College in 1746 and 1751, respectively. After graduation, Edward
Augustus Holyoke received an AM from Harvard in 1749 and practiced medicine in Salem,
Massachusetts. John Holyoke was studying law when he died of illness in 1753. The
Holyoke family diaries contain the annotated interleaved almanacs that Edward Augustus
and John used to enter short and sporadic notes during the 1740s, primarily recordings
their daily lives as college students at Harvard.
The 1747 Edward Augustus Holyoke diary was the gift of Frederick L. Gay of Boston
in 1911. All other diaries in the collection were donated by Joshua Ward Jr., grandson
of Edward Augustus Holyoke and received on July 20, 1846.
The material was first classified and described in the Harvard University Archives
shelflist prior to 1980 as two separate collections. The material was re-processed
in 2010 and reclassified as HUM 46. A list of superceded call numbers is available
at the end of the finding aid. Re-processing involved a collection survey, re-housing
in appropriate archival folders and boxes, and the creation of this finding aid.
This finding aid was created by Diann Benti in July 2010.
Preservation and description of the Holyoke family diaries was supported by the Arcadia-funded
project Harvard in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
The Holyoke family diaries are open for research.
Copying of fragile materials may be limited.
Holyoke family. Holyoke family diaries. HUM 46, Harvard University Archives.
In the Harvard University Archives
In the Peabody Essex Museum
- Holyoke family. Holyoke family papers. Mss 49.
Edward Augustus Holyoke (1728-1829) and John Holyoke (1733/4-1753) were children of
Harvard's ninth President Edward Holyoke (1689-1769) and Margaret Appleton Holyoke
(d. 1740). Both sons were born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, where their father held
a pulpit, before moving into Harvard's Wadsworth house in 1736. Edward Augustus and
John grew up in Cambridge and graduated from the College in 1746 and 1751, respectively.
Detailed biographical information about Edward Augustus and John Holyoke is included
at the series level.
- Dow, George Francis, ed. The Holyoke Diaries, 1709-1856. (Salem, Mass.: The Essex
The collection is arranged in two series:
- I. Diaries of Edward Augustus Holyoke, 1742-1747
- II. Diary of John Holyoke, 1748
The Holyoke family diaries contain the annotated interleaved almanacs that Edward
Augustus Holyoke and John Holyoke used to enter short and sporadic notes during the
1740s, primarily while they were college students at Harvard.
The diaries consists of brief entries, usually a sentence in length recording daily
events including community news, astronomical occurrences, the weather, trips and
visitors, holidays, birthdays, illnesses, deaths, and academic life at Harvard. Notably,
the diaries contains references to local murders, the Boston Knowles Riot of November
1747, and the beginning of King George's War. There are rare references to African
Americans including mentions of Juba, the Holyoke family's slave.
The volumes offer a resource for studying the daily activities of a Harvard student,
as well as life in eighteenth century Cambridge.
These diaries are transcribed and published in The Holyoke diaries, 1709-1856 (Salem, MA : Essex Institute, 1911), edited by George Francis Dow.
This document last updated 2014 February 24.
- Series: I. Diaries of Edward Augustus Holyoke, 1742-1747 .03 cubic foot (5 volumes)
Biographical / Historical: Edward Augustus Holyoke was born on August 1, 1728. He received an AB from Harvard
College in 1746 and an AM in 1749, and lived in the President's house while attending
the College. After graduation he worked for a short time as a schoolmaster in Lexington
before studying medicine with Dr. Thomas Berry of Ipswich. He moved to Salem, Massachusetts
to practice medicine in June 1749. An active researcher, he was the first president
of the Massachusetts Medical Society; he was also one of the founding members and
president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences from 1814 to 1820. Harvard
honored Holyoke with the first medical degree granted by the College in 1783, and
later with an LL.D. in 1815. In 1755 he married Judith Pickman, and after her death
in 1756, he married Mary Vial of Boston. Holyoke had thirteen children, of whom only
two daughters, Mary Holyoke and Susanna Holyoke Ward, lived into adulthood. He died
on March 31, 1829.
Scope and Contents: This series consists of four interleaved almanacs for the years 1742, 1743, 1744,
1746, and one small notebook for 1747 written mainly while Holyoke was an undergraduate
at Harvard College. The 1742 includes the June 18th entry: "This day I was Admitted
into Harvard College." The diaries are handwritten in English with occasional use
of shorthand and over 60 symbols including those used for weather conditions and class
recitations, for which he provides a key in the 1742 diary. There are two references
to the Holyoke family's slave Juba.
Former call number: Formerly classified as HUD 746.39 Diaries of Edward Holyoke, 1742-1747
- HUM 46 Volume 1. Interleaved almanac, 1742
Date: 1742 Interleaved almanac, 1742
Scope and Contents: The 1742 diary is interleaved in Nathaniel Ames' An astronomical diary, or, An almanack for the year of our Lord Christ, 1742. The volume holds brief notes about Holyoke's daily life, written on blank pages bound
with the almanac. Each page, representing one month, is divided into three columns
with a section for the weather, the direction of the wind, and finally notes on the
day and Holyoke's undeciphered shorthand. The diary begins before Holyoke's admittance
to Harvard and concludes in his freshman year. The earlier months have regular entries,
he later stops recording the weather and makes only sporadic entries. Holyoke notes
holidays, travel events, interactions with Harvard faculty, and infrequently, community
events such as a burial or trial. On the last page, Holyoke provides "An account of
our examination the 13 day of July 1742: viz: [Daniel] Foxcroft [Joseph] Green myself
and [James] Putnam listing the specific examiners and the texts used for the exam.
- HUM 46 Volume 2. Interleaved almanac, 1743
Date: 1743 Interleaved almanac, 1743
Scope and Contents: The 1743 diary is interleaved in Nathaniel Ames' An Astronomical Diary, or, An almanack for the year of our Lord Christ, 1743. The thin paper-covered book holds brief notes about Holyoke's daily life as an undergraduate,
written on blank pages bound with the almanac. The pages of the diary are separated
into two columns: the first to display symbols indicating when class recitations occurred,
and the second for entries. Entries include information about student life, Harvard
events such as Overseers' meetings and individuals who preached and lectured, trips
to Boston and surrounding towns, and occasional references to community deaths and
- HUM 46 Volume 3. Interleaved almanac, 1744
Date: 1744 Interleaved almanac, 1744
Scope and Contents: The 1744 diary is interleaved in Poor Richard's An almanack for the year of Christ 1744. The thin paper-covered book holds brief notes about Holyoke's daily life as an undergraduate
at Harvard, written on blank pages bound with the almanac. The entries focus on Holyoke's
life as a college student with mention of his professors and daily events. The months
of May, July, October, November, and December have no entries. The diary records the
outbreak of King George's War: "War with France Proclamed [sic]" (June 2), as well
as his new hobby of painting.
- HUM 46 Volume 4. Interleaved almanac, 1746
Date: 1746 Interleaved almanac, 1746
Scope and Contents: The 1746 diary is interleaved in Poor Richard's, An almanack for the year of Christ 1746. The thin paper-covered book holds brief notes about Holyoke's daily life, written
on blank pages bound with the almanac. More consistently filled out, the diary continues
information about Holyoke's senior year at Harvard, and his appointment as a schoolteacher
in Lexington, Massachusetts. The September and October entries reference local military
movements of King George's War. The diary includes regular entries on individuals
who preached and lectured at Harvard. Holyoke mentions an earthquake in February,
and in March he notes that Harvard Professor John Winthrop "had a lecture: Solving
ye Aurora Bor[ealis]."
- HUM 46 Volume 5. Diary, 1747
Date: 1747 Diary, 1747
Scope and Contents: The 1747 diary contains brief records (usually one or two a month) written in a small
booklet of blank pages. The scattered entries focus on community news including local
deaths and murder. The March 23 entry reads, "Will a Mulatto of Benj & Jno Walkers
shot a negro of Jno Denny [Jun] he died on the spot." Entries in November recount
the Boston Knowles Riot.
Biographical / Historical: The Boston Knowles Riot of November 1747 occurred in response to the regular practice
in Boston of impressment by "press gangs" working on behalf the British Government
to seize merchant sailors into the Navy. On November 16, 1747, several hundred men
rioted in response to an impressment under Commodore Charles Knowles.
- Series: II. Diary of John Holyoke, 1748 .01 cubic feet (1 volume)
Biographical / Historical: John Holyoke was born on February 18, 1733/4. He moved to Cambridge at the age of
three, and later graduated from Harvard in 1751. He was studying to be a lawyer when
he died of illness at the age of twenty on December 30, 1753.
Former call number: Formerly classified as HUD 748.39 Diary of John Holyoke, 1748, 1742-1747
- HUM 46 Volume 6. Interleaved almanac, 1748
Date: 1748 Interleaved almanac, 1748
Scope and Contents
: John Holyoke's diary is interleaved in Nathaniel Ames' An astronomical diary, or, An almanack for the year of our Lord Christ,
(Boston, 1747). The thin paper-covered book holds brief notes about Holyoke's daily
life as a Harvard undergraduate, written on blank pages bound with the almanac. Holyoke's
diary offers a resource for information about the relational networks of the Holyoke
family, travel in 18th century Massachusetts, and colonial dress.
The inside covers have a list of two "Books lent" and three "Books borrowed." On the
first interleaved page, Holyoke wrote, "January 8 AM. Family Weighed 1747/8" and listed
the weights of Father, Mother, Peggy, Betty Hol., John, Samuel, Anna, Betty Epes.,
Priscilla, Mary, Deb. Forster, and Juba [the Holyoke's slave]. Each subsequent interleaved
page contains entries for one month and includes short notes about class work, trips
to Boston, visits to see Tutor Judah Monis, and information about the weather, family
illness, and daily activities. The last page includes a short note "June ye 30 1748.
An Account of ye places were we left off when we were dismissed" with a list of school
book page numbers."