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MC 350

Cumings, Mary Augusta Carr, 1837-1904. Diaries of Mary Augusta Carr Cumings, 1866-1880: A Finding Aid

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University


Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: MC 350
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Mary Augusta Carr Cumings, 1837-1904
Title: Diaries of Mary Augusta Carr Cumings, 1866-1880
Date(s): 1866-1880
Quantity: .21 linear feet (1/2 file box)
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Diaries of Mary Augusta Carr Cumings, mother and homemaker.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Accession number: 83-M81
These diaries were given to the Schlesinger Library in April 1983 by Louise (Perry) Harwood, granddaughter of Mary Augusta Carr Cumings (MACC) and Charles Bradley Cumings.

Processing Information:

Processed: July 1983
By: Jeanne-Marie Mustoe

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Mary Augusta Carr Cumings as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.

Preferred Citation:

Mary Augusta Carr Cumings Diaries, 1866-1880; item description, dates. MC 350, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.


Born in 1837 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mary Augusta Carr Cumings lived in Boston, Massachusetts, later moving outside the city to Jamaica Plain, where she died in 1904.


Mary Augusta Carr Cumings wrote her diary entries in books at first called The Lady's Almanac, and beginning in 1879, Lady's Almanac and Note Book. These books include printed prescriptive literature (essays, poems, and the like) that advises how (and how not) to be a lady, and provide pages on which to record each day's activities.
Cumings's entries are infrequent and brief: she marked the onset of each menstrual period with an "X"; recorded callers; mentioned when she weaned each of her children, and noted their incoming teeth, their weight, illnesses, music lessons, and first days of school. In some years she wrote fairly extensively in the "Memoranda" section: in 1871 and 1872 she described her travels from Boston around New England and New York; in 1873 and 1876 she gave accounts of her children's bouts with scarlet fever (their symptoms, medications, and care given them); in 1876 she recorded recipes for silver polish, rice, bread, and so on. The 1876 Almanac is a special centennial edition, with short histories of the American Revolution and of the evolution of women's status since. The prescriptive literature of the last two volumes is devoted to specific topics: the 1879 volume to "Society," and the 1880 volume to "Brides and Weddings."

Container List

Additional Index Terms

Child care
Etiquette for women
Literature and morals
Marriage customs and rites--United States--History--19th century
Massachusetts--Social life and customs
New England--Description and travel
Travel--History--19th century
Women--Conduct of life
Women--Social conditions