Education

Diary of Fannie Jane Roberts, 1902


Historical Context
This 1902 excerpt from Fannie Roberts’ diary (1886-1967) provides a glimpse of rural life in Bloomville, Delaware County, from the perspective of a 16-year-old girl. Diaries provide valuable insight into the day to day life of individuals. Diaries are often found in historical societies, libraries, with municipal historians and in personal or family historical record collections. This excerpt from Fannie Roberts’ diary is courtesy of Elva G. Meyer and the Delaware County Historical Association, Delhi, New York.

 
Essential Question
How does this diary entry depict rural life in Bloomville in 1902?

 
Check for Understanding
Students will begin writing a comparison paragraph response about how everyday life and farming and agricultural methods changed from early 20th century to modern 21st century methods.
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Diary of Fannie Jane Roberts , Other, DCHA_Roberts_Diary
Document Description
Diary of Fannie Jane Roberts, November 26 - December 1, 1902
Questions
  1. Describe why Fannie would have ridden with different people to school.
  2. Was music important to Fannie? How do you know and why might it have been valued by Fannie? Is music important to you and why? Compare.
  3. Compare rural lifestyle described by Fannie to 21st century farming methods used today.
  4. How does this diary depict rural life in Bloomville in 1902?
  5. What items did Fannie say they purchased? How much did they cost? How much would it cost to purchase these same items today? What is the percentage of increase or decrease in the prices?
Historical Challenge
The following activity could be completed in order to extend students’ thinking and encourage them to make connections:

  • Instruct students to begin writing their own diaries for the next five days. Have them include information about their daily lives much like Fannie did. If someone found their diary 100 years from now, what would they want to tell people of the future about a student’s life today? Share, collect, and keep in a school time capsule.

  • How will the permanence of Facebook, blogs, etc. leave a lasting memorial to life in the 21st century? People of the future will have easy access to our ideas and concerns. How is this similar or different than finding a diary from 1902? Write some ideas, then share your thoughts during a class discussion.


Transcription
Wednesday, Nov 26, 1902. I rode to school this morning with John Tampset. It rained real hard today the water in our pond is up above my waist. I measured it with a stick.

Thursday Nov 27 1902. Mama and I started to clean papas bedroom this afternoon papa spoke of going to the village so mama and I got ready and went as far as Aunt Addies for our Thanksgiving dinner we had chicken, and the rest of the things comprising a thanksgiving dinner. There is no school today or tomorrow either because Miss [Sehrcim] has gone home to eat her Thanksgiving dinner today and don't intent to come back untill Saturday or Sunday.

Friday Nov 28 1902. We finished cleaning Papas bedroom today. I practised about five hours today. on my music lesson. I have my music lesson nearly learned.

Saturday Nov. 29, 1902. I took my music lesson today had it very well even tho I practised but a little over an hour on it The following is my next lesson.

1st page of Old Folks at Home.

1st page of On The Wave Waltz.

Hymn No. 120 Where He Leads I'll Follow.

Chramatic scale in contrary motion.

I am just working on the piece Old Folks at Home. What time I don't want to practise my other pieces.

We bought the following things today.

1 yd. Indian Lin[    ]                15

1/2 yds. gingham.                  .15

1 pk. silver [fronz].                  .20

3 lb. raisins.                           .25

1/2 lb. barley                          .25

1/2 lb. rice                              .07

1 box of sage                          .10

1 small lamp chimney              .07

1 basin                                    .05

1 [pan]                                      10

1 box of A.B. C. blocks for Esther Robinson a Christmas present       .10

1 book. (Rock of Ages) for Mrs. Robinson. a christmas present           .30

We ordered a Masonic pin as a Christmas present or papa.

I got a letter from Jennie Hetherington today.

Sunday Nov. 30 1902. We didn't go to church today. this afternoon mama and I went down to Mrs. Deans. I read some in a book that Mrs. Dean has found some where but I havn't much of an idea where.

Monday, December 1, 1902 I went to school, rode down with a fellow by the name of Perryham he had carried Mr. D. L. Palmer up as far as our house and when he went back I went out and rode down as far as Uncle Emmett’s with him.  They are going to butcher (hogs) today and papa is too, just as we were ready to go to school they brought out one of the hogs.  I didn’t see them stick the hog but I saw it after it had got up.  Eugene Every and D. Brownell helped papa.  They killed three.

Charlie and I began to make our snow man today. we are going to make it hollow so that we can get inside. then we are going to have steps in the snow so that we can climb to the top of it.