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Series II: Letterbooks, Notebooks, Diaries (1841-1873)

Series Description

Ezra Cornell's diaries and notebooks, thirty-three in number, were kept as companion pieces to his correspondence and served a documentary and communicative function. The diaries sometimes provide a slightly different viewpoint from the one addressed in family correspondence. Topics include travel, plow business, telegraph business, farming, politics, and Cornell family history and genealogy. The letterbooks are bound copies of outgoing letters concerning the telegraph industry and the founding of Cornell University.

Series Content

Letterbook: April 30, 1846 - May 9, 1847 (Box 37/Folder 1)

[No Digital Copy Available]

Letterbook: May 26, 1847 - May 16, 1852 (Box 37/Folder 2)

[No Digital Copy Available]

Letterbook: January 6, 1848 - December 5, 1851 (Box 37/Folder 3)

[No Digital Copy Available]

Letterbook: February 18, 1853 - September 4, 1853 (Box 37/Folder 4)

[No Digital Copy Available]

Letterbook: August 17, 1853 - November 8, 1858 (Box 37/Folder 5)

[No Digital Copy Available]

Letterbook: March 7, 1866 - December 3, 1866 (Box 37/Folder 6)

[No Digital Copy Available]

Letterbook: October 1, 1867 - February 24, 1873 (Box 37/Folder 7)

[No Digital Copy Available]

March 19, 1841 - April 8, 1841; June 9, 1848 - July 18, 1848; May 4, 1851 - September 20, 1851 (Box 38/Folder 1) : [70 digital images]

Diary of 1841 trip to New England to visit mills, observe uses of waterpower, and promote Ithaca as a manufacturing center. Includes detailed description of Boston and many New England mills and factories. Daily entries in 1848 and 1851 concern telegraph business and travels through New York and New England checking and repairing lines.

1842 - 1843 (Box 38/Folder 2) : [ 23 digital images]

Notebook, includes financial accounts, lists of names and addresses, and copies of letters.

January 24, 1843 - May 30, 1843 (Box 38/Folder 3) : [23 digital images]

Diary with daily entries from journey through the South selling plows and plow patent rights. Provides description of travel by railroad, steamboat and foot, reports on personal health and treatments, and details of meals, including "a real log cabin supper." Diary includes observations of Southern businesses and descriptions of Monticello and Mount Vernon.

May 1843 (Box 38/Folder 4) : [13 digital images]

Continuation of diary of trip to the South, with descriptions of Washington, D.C., the White House, the Capitol, the Patent Office, and Philadelphia.

February 17, 1843 - June 4, 1843 (Box 38/Folder 5) : [23 digital images]

Notebook from trip to the South, includes remedies for the croup and consumption, census figures for counties in North Carolina, plow business notes and accounts, details of routes traveled, and notes on Southern factories.

October 5, 1846 - January 6, 1847 (Box 38/Folder 6) : [51 digital images]

Diary of Cornell as the Superintendent of the New York, Albany & Buffalo Magnetic Telegraph Company. Includes details of travel, directives given, and repairs made on lines. Diary ends with resignation submitted to Theodore Faxton.

August 1847 (Box 38/Folder 7)

[No Digital Copy Available]
Small scrapbook of newspaper clippings concerning the Erie & Michigan telegraph line.

May 24, 1848 - February 16, 1849 (Box 38/Folder 8)

[No Digital Copy Available]
Notebook, includes details on operation of visual telegraph, and notes on telegraph business concerning routes, the building of lines, finances, and supplies.

April 17, 1850 - September 28, 1850 (Box 38/Folder 9) : [35 digital images]

Diary of work on New York telegraph lines. Includes details of line maintenance and operations.

July 24, 1852 - October 5, 1852 (Box 38/Folder 10) : [43 digital images]

Diary of Cornell as the Superintendent of the New York & Western Union Telegraph Company. Includes details of travel, line repairs, and line overhauls.

October 6, 1852 - April 12, 1853 (Box 38/Folder 11) : [74 digital images]

Dairy of work on New York telegraph lines. Includes details of travel, line repair, building of lines, conflicts with Smith, purchase of Ohio, Indiana & Illinois Telegraph Company, and other telegraph business. Also includes some family news.

April 13, 1853 - September 28, 1853 (Box 38/Folder 12) : [31 digital images]

Diary of work in the telegraph business. Includes travels in New York, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, the leasing of the Ohio, Indiana & Illinois line, and sales of telegraph stock.

November 1, 1855 - June 1, 1856 (Box 38/Folder 13) : [99 digital images]

Diary of work in the telegraph business in New York and the west. Includes the consolidation with the House Company, Cornell's work as superintendent of part of the Union line (responsible for the Erie & Michigan line from Buffalo to Milwaukee and also of the circuit west of Cleveland), and a description of Hughes printing telegraph. Also includes details of travel and some family news.

1860 (Box 38/Folder 14) : [62 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes details of visit to oil wells in Titusville, travels on telegraph business, work with the New York State Agricultural Society, and the coal oil business.

1861 (Box 38/Folder 15) : [125 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes details of life in Ithaca where Cornell is "home all day" and involved in the Tompkins County Agricultural Society, the Farmers Club, raising sheep and cattle, and collecting agricultural statistics. Also includes travels to Washington, D.C. and attendance at Lincoln's inauguration.

1862 (Box 38/Folder 16) : [61 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes work in the New York State Legislature, interest in agricultural machinery, and a proposal to rescue the agricultural school and start an agricultural and military school. Also includes some detail of trip to England and Europe.

May 31, 1862 - September 17, 1862 (Box 38/Folder 17) : [53 digital images]

Diary of trip to England, with details of the crossing from New York to Liverpool, travels in England and herds of pedigreed shorthorns visited. Also includes an alphabetical listing of Cornells in the United States with addresses and dates.

August 20, 1862 - September 5, 1862 (Box 38/Folder 18) : [14 digital images]

Diary of travels in England, herds inspected and animals purchased.

1863 (Box 38/Folder 19) : [44 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes records of telegraph stock and various financial records. Note in back of diary to "enquire what the effect of large endowments are upon colleges in the Old World -- How many graduates do they send out, & c."

1865 (Box 38/Folder 20) : [67 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes notes on Cornell family history and genealogy, business notes, and Western Union and Albany Agricultural Works financial statistics.

July 11, 1865 - July 12, 1865 (Box 38/Folder 21) : [3 digital images]

Diary of trip to Pennsylvania to examine the coal mines near Towanda.

1866 (Box 38/Folder 22) : [68 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes details of trip to Wisconsin to "hunt lands" and other work concerning Cornell University and college land scrip. Also includes Western Union business and financial notes.

1867 (Box 38/Folder 23) : [84 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes notes on Cornell family history and genealogy, applicants for notary public, and collections for the University as well as business and financial information.

1868 (Box 38/Folder 24) : [80 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes Cornell University business, Western Union statistics, and notes on Cornell family history and genealogy. Also mentions month long illness.

1869 - 1870 (Box 38/Folder 25) : [53 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes notes concerning personal finances, photo-lithography business, Western Union, Albany Agricultural Works, and Cornell University. Also describes solar eclipse viewed from Ithaca and the treatment for a liver complaint.

1870 (Box 38/Folder 26) : [139 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes notes concerning business of Albany Agricultural Works and Western Union and notes on Cornell family history and genealogy. Also, details concerning Cornell University, including listing of where students are from, housing in Cascadilla place, and reports on Wisconsin lands.

1871 - 1873 (Box 38/Folder 27) : [141 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes business statistics of Western Union and Albany Agricultural works, railroad business and notes on Cornell family history and genealogy. Also includes details concerning a trip to the Mid-West and land grant business.

1873 (Box 38/Folder 28) : [94 digital images]

Diary and cash accounts. Includes notes on Western Union business statistics, notes on railroad business and on Cornell University.

Undated notebook (Box 38/Folder 29) : [24 digital images]

Notebook of reports and notes from articles on telegraph science.

Undated notebook (Box 38/Folder 30) : [30 digital images]

Notebook of abbreviations used in telegraphic communication.

Undated notebook (Box 38/Folder 31) : [6 digital images]

[no description]

Undated notebook (Box 38/Folder 32)

[No Digital Copy Available]

Undated (Box 38/Folder 33)

[No Digital Copy Available]
Notebook with listing of Cornells with cities, states, and businesses. Also list of people to whom circulars of Cornell University were to be sent.