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Adeline and Julia

growing up in Michigan and on the Kansas frontier: diaries from 19th-century America

Adeline Graham

Publication Year: 2000

The keeping of journals and diaries became an almost everyday pastime for many Americans in the nineteenth century. Adeline and Julia Graham, two young women from Berrien Springs, Michigan, were both drawn to this activity, writing about the daily events in their lives, as well as their 'grand adventures.' These are fascinating, deeply personal accounts that provide an insight into the thoughts and motivation of two sisters who lived more than a century ago. Adeline began keeping a diary when she was sixteen, from mid-1880 through mid-1884; through it we see a young woman coming of age in this small community in western Michigan. Paired with Adeline's account is her sister Julia's diary, which begins in 1885 when she sets out with three other young women to homestead in Greeley County, Kansas, just east of the Colorado border. It is a vivid and colorful narrative of a young woman's journey into America's western landscape.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

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pp. vii-viii

Ana cold winter day, Adeline Graham ditched school, pulled taffy, giggled with her friend, teased the boys who followed her home, and sat down at night to write it all down in her diary. A few years later, her sister Julia wearily shoveled the last of the snow that had drifted into the interior of her sod "hotel" and sat down to write to her sister all about the blizzard that had buried her and her friends inside for days...

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pp. 1-15

Julia Graham, daughters of a prosperous Michigan farm family, kept diaries during key moments in their young lives. Addie, the younger sibling, consciously kept a very personal and literary record of her adolescence (ages 15-19) during the years 1880-84. The next year, older sister Julia penned a less personal but equally interesting account of her great ...

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Part 1: Growing Up in Michigan: The Diary of Adeline Graham

Adeline Eliza Graham was born at her family's farm just outside Berrien Springs, Michigan, on August 26, 1864, the youngest child of George and Mary Graham. Her parents named her for her mother's sister, Adeline Eliza Murdock. Adeline's father, George, the eldest of seven children, was born in Stoystown, Pennsylvania, January 31, 1826. He came to Berrien County, Michigan, in 1843 and was joined three years later by his widowed mother, two brothers Gohn, who settled in Buchanan and James, who settled in Berrien Springs), and two sisters...

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Volume 1: May 10, 1880–June 6, 1881

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pp. 9-40

I just spilt my ink to commence with. Well I've made up my mind to keep a journal at last. I've been making up my mind for about two years now; so to night I went down town and got this little book and commenced in dead earnest. I just got back from Niles this evening and feel rather blue after bidding my dear cousin Martha a good bye.1 I will miss her so...

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Volume 2: December 21, 1881–May 28, 1882

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pp. 41-92

We have such comical and funny times I am going to keep an account of them as well as I can, although they will sound silly written down. Jude advised me to and I always take her advice; when she advises me to do something I intend to do. Cousin Bob got up a dancing school this winter. He likes to dance. I don't unless I can have the whole floor to myself...

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Volume 3: June 14, 1882–June 2, 1884

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pp. 93-140

The graduation is over and the first three days of vacation are gone. Our graduation passed off splendidly. Our essays surprised everybody, they were so much better than they expected. We all received quantities of flowers. Et and I each received a lovely hot-house bouquet from Cousin Kitty.l I received ten or twelve in all and a basket and a house [illeg.]...

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Part 2: Julia Graham’s Kansas Adventure: The Diary of Julia Graham

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pp. 141-144

In September 1885, Julia Graham, Adeline's elder sister, embarked on the greatest adventure in her life: homesteading on the Great Plains. During the next year, this young woman of a proper Victorian family endured blizzards, prairie fires, floods and droughts while she proved up her claim. to land on the Kansas prairie. Julia was born at the Graham family farm in Berrien Springs...

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Volume 4: September 11, 1885–December 31, 1885

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pp. 145-170

I have just come from dinner at the Colwell House-and expect to have this afternoon to devote to my Journal and letter writeing we have been so busy since we came that our correspondents have been neglected. We arrived here on Friday eve 6.30 were met at the deapot by Mrs Crawford...

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Volume 5: January 1, 1886–August 3, 1886

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pp. 171-214

This is N.Y. day. it is quite snowy cold. we were awakened about 8 0- clock by Rob comming after the gun. antelope were in sight great was the excitement. Myers was soon also on their track, so we ate our breakfast of corn-cakes molasses with out his exhilerating presence. Mr Campbell Jessie had sent us by the Harper boys 2 chickens, appels, cranberries a can of fruit. the chickens we have had in the satchel on the signal stick...

Appendix 1: Who Addie Knew

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pp. 215-220

Appendix 2: What Addie Read

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pp. 221-226


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pp. 227-237

E-ISBN-13: 9780870139048
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870135132

Page Count: 265
Publication Year: 2000