1887 to 1898 diary kept by Jennie M. Bromley Butler of Rockville in Tolland County, Connecticut.
Jennie M. Bromley Butler (1860–1940), daughter of Orrin Bromley, a machinist, maintained this modest diary during different periods in her twenties and thirties. She was married Edwin George Butler, a steam and gas fitter and plumber, and son of William Butler and Jane Maria (née Marvin) Butler.The couple lived in Rockville, Connecticut.
Jennie Butler’s diary begins with a brief passage of prefatory text. Then, its first full entry begins on January 19th, 1887, the date when the couple married. The diary comprises a recounting of the couple’s honeymoon, family and town news, Jennie’s travel experiences, and Jennie’s observations and feelings as she raises her child, Marion Louise Butler McLean (b. 1889). Scattered poems that were copied out by hand are found throughout the diary.
“[During the honeymoon] We took a ride nearly every day while we were away and of course enjoyed every one. ... When it was too warm for anything else we stayed in our room and Ed. entertained me by reading Tom Sawyer. We arrived home July 7  having been gone two weeks and a day. Ed. wishes me to tell about the elegant room they gave us at Greenfield. I think they must have mistrusted that we were a newly married couple though how I’m sure I don’t know for it was dark when we arrived and the clerk could not possibly have seen me for I went directly to the parlor and Ed. went into the office. But some way they must have mistrusted for they gave us the bridal chamber. And such a fine one too. A corner room with lovely lace curtains a plush and satin covered couch and commode and an ebony dressing case or rather bureau. The bed was covered with a satin and plush spread and had a canopy with lace curtains hanging from it. We of course were much amused. We sent out about (250) two hundred and fifty cards so that after we returned we received many calls. About one hundred and twenty I think. … in November my birthday Mr. & Mrs. Butler gave me ten dollars and Ed. gave me ten too. Mamma & Ria gave me a towel and some ruching. Eva Colburn a plush paper holder and Jennie Warner a card. Christmas Ed. gave me a pair of diamond ear-rings which was a great surprise as I had not dreamed of his doing such a thing. Mr. & Mrs. Butler gave me fifty dollars for a silk dress, Leila a muslin apron, Gertrude Hawkins an apron, Belle Sill a string ball, Clara Cole a glove-buttoner and Ria a pair of mittens. Etta Kenyan Rice sent me a blue satin pincushion. I gave Ed. a lounging jacket. Ed. gives me two dollars each week on Wednesday, our wedding day. This winter I had a new green camel’s hair dress and a new jacket Astrakahn black, and a new bonnet.” (January 19, 1887)
“Last week Friday Ed. and I started for N.Y. We reached there about noon and stayed until Sat. night. We stopped at the Metropolitan Hotel. Fri. P.M. Ed. was very busy so I went out on Broadway alone and went to a number of stores Sat. We went out to the Stock Exchange, the Battery saw the Bartholdi statue [Statue of Liberty], Vanderbilt’s house [George Washington Vanderbilt II’s townhouse, built that year] and [Alexander T.] Stewart’s residence or rather his former residence. Friday morning we visited the Eden Musée [wax museum]. … I received nine calls yesterday and had Minnie sill to tea. ... This morning I of course had to get up and get breakfast. I made Pop-overs for the first time and they were fine. The 1st day of March was father’s and mother’s thirty-ninth anniversary, so we arranged a surprise for them and it was a complete success, except that after they got here I had a sick-headache and was obliged to stay in bed all day. Mamma prepared the turkey so that it was already to go in the oven as soon as it was brought down and made biscuits, so everything was done without mother B’s knowing anything about it or father either and they were completely surprised. We invited only the four sisters and their husbands but Mr. Bartholomew could not come. In the P.M. the sisters went down and had their pictures taken together and did not let Ed. or I know anything about it, so this was a little surprise for us. They came this A.M. and are very good indeed.” (March 16, 1887)
“The first day of May Ed. mowed the lawn, the spring has been very backward but for about a week the weather has been delightful and warm. The trees are all in blossom and the grass is a beautiful green. Saturday Mother & father Butler drove to Wethersfield and stayed until Tues. night, so I kept house. We have a new servant girl now who weighs about two hundred I should think and is as black as coal, but she is very pleasant and willing. We get along nicely together. Yesterday I went up to aunt Jane‘s to spend the day, cousin Nellie Barr and the two youngest children and aunt Hannah were here, so we all went up to Tolland. I took Ben and drove up and staid until about three o’clock. Before starting in the morning my head ached a little but by the time I got there I had such a headache I could hardly sit up and was obliged to go to bed so I did not enjoy the day very much but the rest did I think and aunt Jane was very glad indeed to have us come. They went back to Springfield last night and aunt Hannah starts for Maine Monday.” (May 12, 1887)
“Leila‘s little child was born May 20th but was born dead. I felt dreadfully to think it could not live but feel as though we ought hardly to think of the child as Leila is getting along so nicely. I don’t know as I have even mentioned that we have a new horse but we have had him several weeks and a new harness too. Monday is Decoration day. Ed. and I are talking of going away and spend the day riding.” (May 28, 1887)
“Two weeks ago Wed. the (8) eighth Ed. and I went to Wethersfield. ... We went to uncle Samuels and staid nights and from there drove all around to see the ‘sister cousins and aunts.’ ... Friday morning we started for home but as Barnum’s circus was in Hartford we thought we had better take in everything there was so we went. Such a crowd! I don’t think I shall ever care to go again. Ed. says, ‘not till we go and take the children.’ ... Today is our first anniversary. Just a year ago today we were married.” (June 23, 1887)
“For our summer vacation trip we could hardly decide what to do, but one bright cool Mon. morning decided to take a carriage drive. We started about ten o’clock and drove to Hfd. had dinner and then went to Bristol. … On Fri. morning we started for Plymouth, taking our dinner in a funny sort of boarding house but very pleasant place. …went to a place called Cornwall Plaine which we had seen from the hill as we came by but did not know as we could find a place there to stop. …we could not have found a nicer or more pleasant place if we had searched a long time. The house was an immense large one used for aboys school and the people were just as nice as they could be. There were a large family of them. Mr. & Mrs. Frost and six children beside the old lady who was just as sweet as she could be. We stayed there over Sun. and Mon. morning drove to Lakeville where is a school for a weak minded children at which we stopped thinking it to be a hotel. We soon found out our mistake much to our amusement and drove quite a little farther before we came to the hotel where we took dinner and then drove to Great Barrington. …I broke one of my front teeth eating a piece of taffy and have just paid ten dollars to have a new one put in.” (August 5, 1887)
“Two years since I have written in this book and oh, so much has happened in those that now I wish I had written oftener. Mamma died April eighth (8th) and some days I am so lonely. How I do wish I could see her now and say to her so many things that I left unsaid. She was sick just one week. She fell on the floor in a shock Monday A.M. and never spoke after but seem to know us and partially understand but could not speak. She died the next week Mon. about eleven o’clock. Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of our wedding day. We spent it at home out in the yard most of the day.” (June 24, 1895)
Description: 1887 to 1898 diary kept by Jennie M. Bromley Butler of Rockville in Tolland County, Connecticut.
Rockville, Connecticut. Entries between 1887 to 1898. Square octavo. 65 pages completed in manuscript; remaining leaves blank. Roan-backed marbled boards, now cleanly detached; textblock sound.