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Original pre-Civil War identified pocket diary of a Boston shipwright,1860 Boston


Product Description

This is another interesting piece being offered, it is the 1860 pocket diary of a man from East Boston, Massachusetts. It is period ink identified to 28-year old John Quincy Robertson. In period Boston directories, Robertson is listed as a shipwright. A shipwright is a carpenter skilled in ship construction, launching, and repair.

East Boston was a busy port and hub for industrial activity in the 1800s. The neighborhood served as the center of the city’s clipper-ship-building industry, home to many shipyards, wharves, and warehouses that dotted the neighborhood’s waterfront (see period picture).

Like most journals of the era, the writer limits most of his journal entries to a brief comment of the days weather, sometimes recording a most mundane highlight of the day’s events. Obviously, John’s work depended upon the weather. Just about every day he would write “worked” or “not worked”. Some entries he mentions bringing beams aboard a ship. On Thursday, August 23rd, he writes “Launched End…..gy” – I cannot make out the name of that vessel. Another launched on June 30th, but not sure of the name. These are vessels that Robertson had worked on.

This was just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, so I am sure if Robertson continued his important job as a shipwright, he must have been very busy. The diary is complete and in excellent condition. The tiny piece of leather that holds down the closing tab let loose on one side, it could easily be glued back down again if desired. This diary offers insight into the simplicity of life in 1860 Boston and would serve visually in any period surrounding.

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$6.50 (Fixed shipping cost)