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Journals, Diaries and Travelogues

The Journals, Diaries and Travelogues collection brings together an extensive array of unique writings. Among the highlights are a "Diary of a Voyage to China, 1850-1851" by Captain Thomas Small, writings by plantation owner Elizabeth Allston Pringle, a legal "Book of Precedents" handwritten by Charleston miniaturist Charles Fraser, and journals by members of the Mordecai and Lyons family; Roswell T. Logan, 1852-1865; and Frank Fisher, 1882-1902, the latter containing a lengthy analysis of the 1886 Charleston earthquake.

Charles Fraser's Book of Precedents, 1800-1819, was apparently written by Fraser as a reference work for his legal studies. Compiled mostly from 1800 -1807, the book contains copies of writs, pleas and judgments and includes cases adjudicated from 1736-1819, almost all of which were heard in Charleston district courts.

The Diary of a Voyage to China, 1850-1851, the private diary of Captain Thomas Small, reveals the intense loneliness of command and details the longing he feels for the wife and newborn son he left behind. He comments on marriage, child-rearing, and religion, and frequently expresses his desire to find employment "ashore" to better provide for his family. In addition to these personal entries, he provides rich details of a mid-nineteenth century life at sea. Daily nautical annotations are augmented with comments about the crew, rations, frequent communications with passing ships, and his waning hope in obtaining a profitable cargo of tea in China.

The Elizabeth Alston Pringle Writings Collections consists of five separate manuscripts: (1) Partial draft of a chapter ("Baby Woes") from "Chronicles of Chicora Wood." (2) A story entitled "The Innocents at Home and the Furniture Fiend Abroad" written under her pen name, Patience Pennington, and intended to be the first in a series of "Peaceville Happenings." (3) A story entitled "My Dogs" for a projected series of "Plantation Sketches." (4) An incomplete rough draft of an untitled short story about Pompey Green and his disobedient wife Doll. (5) Miscellaneous notes on owners of plantations on the Pee Dee, Waccamaw and Black Rivers, with the fullest notes on White House Plantation.

Frank R. Fisher's notes contain observations, drawings, and photographs relating to scientific studies, particularly astronomical observations made while Fisher was a resident in Charleston, S.C., during the 1880s. Fisher, a cashier at the South Carolina Railroad Company in Charleston, was an amateur scientist and inventor who occasionally worked in consultation with longtime College of Charleston professor Lewis R. Gibbes.

Roswell T. Logan's Journal, 1852-1865, begins in 1852 with an address before his Charleston High School debate club, the Philomathic Society. Among the many speeches, poems and essays included in the journal are three essays published in the Charleston College Magazine: "Mohammed and His religion" and "College life" in the April 1855 issue and "Goodbye" in May 1855. Poems include a requiem to Logan's old horse John Randolph and a commentary on the contentious election of 1860 titled "The Presidential canvas of 1860." In his last dated entry, July 11th, 1865, Logan says goodbye to his beloved journal with the poem "Farewell to this Book."

The six diaries from the Thomas J. Tobias Family Papers were written by three members of the same family, in the mid-19th century. The Joseph Lyons diary (1833-1834), written when he was between the ages of 19-21, contains Lyons' ruminations on his future career, his beliefs on state's rights, some poetry, and his thoughts on his Jewish faith. Joseph Lyons' nephew, David Henry Mordecai, wrote in four diaries between 1849 and 1858, detailing his travels to Cuba and the Florida Keys, in addition to extensive travels through Europe, and his treatment for tuberculosis. After David Henry Mordecai's death from tuberculosis in 1859, his sister Hortensia journalized her travels in Europe with her family and her diary records her thoughts on art and other sightseeing in Italy, Germany, and France.

Additionally, the Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Journal (1818 April 6-May 16, with a few scattered entries in late 1818 and early 1819) consists of journal entries on pages interleaved in Hoff's Agricultural Almanac (1818). The journal records daily activities on Pinckney's plantation. Pinckney not only planted cotton, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, corn, and oats, but relied heavily on fish for food. Several pages of the journal contain a list of slaves at "The Crescent," "the old Place," "the Point," and Pinckney Island.