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Belle Robinson diary, 1875-1877

Diary kept by Belle Robinson (1862-1887), of Dubuque, Iowa. The middle child of three sisters, Belle's personality was shaped by her family's focus on education and equality. Her father, Frank, was a lawyer with a private practice in Dubuque. Her mother, Laura, was an early member of the Dubuque Ladies' Literary Association, one of the first women's clubs in the United States. She also fought for women's suffrage. Belle died in 1887, ten years after she completed her diary. She had a long battle with what was probably tuberculosis. She was 25 years old.


Transcription of diary and pages noted to be in the public domain with no restrictions on use. Additional diaries available at https://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/ .

Source: University of Iowa Digital Library https://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/islandora/object/ui%3Adiaries_58

Inside Front Cover

Belle Robinson
August 1875

Pg 1

Hoping that it may recall
many of the happy days we
have spent together, this little
book is affectionately
dedicated to my friend, Linn.

Jan '76

Pg 2

To Mademoiselle Sapience

Pg 3

Monday Aug 2nd 1875

Papa is 47 years old today May gave
him a tidy for his chair & I one of the
mottos everybody is making now. I worked
it in scarlet, gold & black. It was " With joy
we greet you " . Tidys & mottos are queer
things to give a man but Papa don't like
watch cases & slipper holders & we did not
know what else to get him.

Thursday Aug 5

Next Wednesday is my birthday but
Papa & Mamma are going away for
a little trip West next Monday & so
they gave me my present today. It
was an elegant gold chain. I have
been wanting one ever so long & it is
the prettiest one I have ever seen & it
will do for a watch chain when I get
older (not bigger I hope.) Nothing else in
particular today.

Pg 4

Saturday Aug. 7

Went to market with Linn this morning
& had a little ride with her in her
Aunt Lizzies carriage & laid on the bed
with her all afternoon. After supper
Allie, Linn, & I went to Mr Kislers
brought home Mammas watch. (the
crystal was broken and he had to fix it)
then we went down town again & got
some Soda Water & candy.

Monday Aug. 9th 75,

Papa & Mamma started this morning
for a little trip around Iowa. They
will be gone about 2 weeks I think.
They left everything in such a mess
That it took Linn, May & I almost
All the morning to pick things up
After dinner we took a nap. At 3 PM
May took Mrs. Hervey & Linn to see a
sick lady, she got back at 5 & I Linn

Pg 5

& I played croquet at Mr. Hosfords
till May came back. Linn stayed here
to supper & then went down town
with her Mother. Grace Cragin & I
played croquet at Mr. Hardies after
supper she is a splendid player but
I won the first game because I had
played there before & Gracie had not.

Tues Aug 10th

Went to market with Allie, this morning
this morning, helped May do the work
& played croquet with Linn at Mr.
Hosfords. Laid down with Gracie in the
afternoon but neither of us went to
sleep. Then I dressed Gracie, & Linn
gave me my music lesson because
May had not time. After supper I
had a fight with Nellie (with grass) she
got the worst of it. Then I went over to
Gracies & stayed until May came home

Pg 6

from the Library. Nell's got a beau &
so I am going bed.

Wednesday Aug. 11th 75

I am 13 yre old today. I got up before
Nellie did & practiced 1 before 9 A.M.
besides being pounded by Allie, Grace, Linn
& Louise. Then I put away the clean
clothes fixed the boquets in the sitting
room & helped do the chamber work.
After dinner Allie, Grace, Linn, May,
Gracie & I went out riding. We didn’t
get home till 6 P.M. After Supper
(we all ate together) we went to Mr.
Hardies & began a game of croquet about
7 oclock. (Allie, May & Grace against
Mr Hardie, Linn & I) We did not get
through until 10 P.M. We won. Made
made me a present of some lovely
roman ribbons.

Pg 7

Thursday Aug 12th

Linn always sleeps with me the
night of my birthday, so of course she
did last night. When Nellie got
up this morning she heard Linn
talking in her sleep about the game
of croquet we had last night. I
went to market & to Mr out riding
with Linn & Gracie C. after breakfast & then
down town with May & Allie to get me
some shoes. After dinner I practised,
dressed my self & went down town to get my
shoes. In the evening Nellie had a beau
& May wanted to practise so I stayed up
stairs & darned my stockings & began
to read Mrs. A. D. T Whitney's " We
Girls " . I like it very much although I
Have not got very far yet. Tomorrow
Barnums great Hippodrome Exhibits
here I guess we will go. The papers say
that such a gang of thieves come with it

Pg 8

that they have a car all to themselves.
Willie Hervey has but Nellie his pistol
loaded & given her caps. She is going
to put in on a chair close to her bed.

Friday. Aug. 13th

In spite of the pistol no burglars
came last night. This morning I
walked way down to 4th st. with Linn
& then went up into the town clock
building. I did not get home till
non & was so tired I stayed at
home all afternoon. (May, Gracie & Nellie
went to the circus) In the evening I
went with Mr. C & Gracie to the circus
got home at 10 P.M. It was pretty good.
I am tired

Saturday Aug 14th

Got up late this morning. Went to
market & ordered the horse. Wrote to
Mamma & then went out riding
with May our erande. First to that

Pg 9

P.O., Mrs. Sheffields for some blueberries
my shoes & Harpers Weekly. After dinner
Gracie & I laid down on the bed, she
went to sleep but I did ot. May
went with Annabel Adams to make
her party call on Mifs Mamie Hancock
& then up to Anabels to make her
a sort of croquet party. She did not
come home till 11, P.M. At about
3 oclock Allie, Linn, Gracie, I & Nellie
started for a long ride ride. We went up
the Plank road a little way & then
branched off, went pat Mr. Stervarte
& came down Mineral st. It is a very
pleasant drive. We did not get home
til 6 P.M. Played croquet in the
evening at Mr Hosfords.

Saturday Aug 15th

Wrote to Grandma & went to our church
in the evening with Allie Linn & Grace
Dr. Bingham preached a very good

Pg 10

sermon I thought. The text was
in Luke 4th chapter 9th to 13 versus.

Monday Aug 16th

Nothing particular in the morning.
Worked in the gardens all afternoon
and played croquet at Mr. Hardies
in the evening. Gracie Allie & May beat us this time we will play
the rubber soon.

Thursday Aug 17th

I have finished "We Girls" & like it
very much. Nothing else of importance.

Wednesday Aug 18th

Went to a picnic in the afternoon back
of Judge Kings. It rained twice
but the sun shone after it so bright
that it dryed very soon. Rode home
in the street -car & has a very good
time. Many funny things happened
that I have not time to write.

Pg 11

altogether it was just jollyette.

Thursday Aug 19th

Got a letter from Mamma this
morning saying that she had arrived
at Algona where she received all our
letters. Spent mot of the morning
doing my work & cleaning out the
closet. Made some floating island
in the afternoon & then went
with Linn to see her Aunt Janet. We
stayed to supper & had a nice time
she gave Linn a lot of music.

Friday Aug 20th

The teachers positions were in the
paper this morning. Miss E. Lawton
is my teacher & Tenie Norton Linns.
Spent most of the morning with
Allie (or May as we call her & I am Jo. We
got our characters out of "Little Women")
trying to make a little hot house.


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