Blanche Simmons Diary, 1879-1880 0.2 Linear Feet — 1 Item
The collection consists of a single diary that records the events of two distinct trips taken by Blanche Simmons and her parents in 1879 and 1880. The first half of the diary documents a family vacation to Belgium and the Netherlands from September 19th to October 13th, 1879, with stops in Brussels, Spa, Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Ghent. The diary describes the sights and the family's activities in these cities, in smaller towns, and on nature walks. Art museums and churches, as well as the headdresses and clothing worn by local women are described in particular detail. Many commercial albumen prints on card stock and dried plant specimens are affixed to the diary pages, and the entry for Friday the 3rd includes a humorous, rhyming poem relating events of the first half of the trip.
The second half of the diary documents a trip to Berlin, Germany, from June 11th to July 9th, 1880, during which Blanche's father, Sir John Simmons, and Major Ardagh attended a conference in Berlin for "the settling of the Greek frontier" accompanied by Blanche, her mother, and their escort, Captain Wood. As in the earlier vacation, commentary chiefly centers on sightseeing with an emphasis on museums, but also relates details of the conference, as recounted to Blanche, and describes several formal functions attended by her party, including receptions at the British Embassy and a small dinner gathering at the New Palace in Potsdam with Crown Prince Friedrick, Crown Princess Victoria of Great Britain, Prince Wilhelm, and Princesses Victoria-Augusta and Caroline of Schleswig-Holstein. Sights in Cologne, Dresden, and Aachen are also described, and the diary concludes with two humorous "Odes," one commemorating the events of the trip and the other, a twenty-three stanza piece written by Major Ardagh, on the Conference of Berlin.