Sign In | Register

manuscript, Social History", From Michael Brown Rare Books, LLC


Manuscript Diaries of J. R. Wright, Westfield, Chautauqua County, New York, 1851 -1869

By Wright, J. R

Soft cover. Very Good. eight volumes, various sizes, approximately 980 pages, bound in limp-leather wallet style bindings, minor wear to bindings, else very good. Manuscript diaries of John R. Wright (circa 1830-1880) a farmer and laborer in Westfield, Chatauqua County, New York. Westfield is in the section of western New York State popularly known as the "Burnt Over District," it is also a dozen miles from Lily Dale the birthplace of the modern Spiritualist movement. The Wright's were presumably one of the many families caught up in the religious fervor sweeping the area. The diary notes attendance on several occasions at Spiritualist meetings. Our diarist, John R. Wright, and his father James, were two of about twenty-five people from Westfield that signed a petition in 1854 for the Spiritualist Newspaper, asking Congress to appoint a "Scientific Commission to investigate certain physical and mental phenomena of questionable origin and mysterious import that have of late occurred in this country and in Europe." Wright's diary, with its memoranda and cash account sections, as well as in its entries helps to document the everyday life of a laborer and farmer in the "Burnt Over District," in the mid-nineteenth century. Particularly in the economic and social network of small town life in western New York State at this time.