The Phillips Library has recently acquired some rare and interesting items for its manuscript collection. Here is a sampling of a few of those gems.
North Vietnamese Diary and Photo Album
This handwritten diary and photo album by North Vietnamese war correspondent and photographer Le Minh Truong (1930-2012), documents his journey along the Ho Chi Minh Trail from North Vietnam to Saigon between 1973 and 1974. Le Minh Truong was one of the most venerated photographers in Vietnam during the second half of the 20th century, recognized for his black-and-white photographs, styled in the tradition of Social Realism. He famously developed his photographs while on location, carrying chemicals along his trek and washing his prints in nearby streams. There are approximately 120 pages of writing composed mostly in six-line stanzas of verse and 216 photographs. Images include fellow soldiers, armed troops, family members, vehicles, flowers, the Vietnamese country side, and the author. This is an incredible document of civilian and military life in wartime Vietnam and a unique collection of vintage prints by one of the most critically acclaimed Vietnamese photographers of the 20th century.
John Hutchinson Winslow Cyphering Book
This is an early cyphering book (1835) demonstrating advanced mathematics and navigation exercises. This page illustrates traverse sailing, the process of finding the resulting course and distance from a series of different shorter courses and distances actually passed over by a ship. John H. Winslow was a part of the Hutchinson family of Salem, Massachusetts. The Phillips Library currently owns 213 cyphering books, the largest collection in North America. One of these important books was represented in the 2011 museum exhibition of Phillips Library highlights.
Diaries of Samuel George Rea
Samuel George Rea (1811-1890) was a Salem, Massachusetts, merchant. His father was a master mariner and a prominent member of the East India Marine Society. The diaries run from 1876 to 1880 and record social events such as centennial balls, Odd Fellows’ parades, political events, deaths, theatricals at Plummer Hall, picnics, circuses, fires, and more. Many famous Salem names are mentioned including Joseph Pierce, Mary Crowninshield, Captain Roundy, J. Osgood, Hannah P. Putnam, Phippen, J. B. Curwin, and many others. They give a detailed picture of life in Salem in the latter part of the 1870s.
Eliza Breck (Choate) Foster Diaries
These are two diaries handwritten by Eliza B. (Choate) Foster (b. 1843), wife of retired ship captain, Samuel J. Foster (1823-1902) of Beverly, Massachusetts. Dated 1874 and 1875, these diaries describe domestic activities and social events and provide insight into life in Essex County during the mid-1870s. Many local names are mentioned. We have a robust collection of Choate material in the library.
William Cushing Travel Journal
This handwritten travel journal dated 1843 to 1845 by William Cushing of Newburyport, Massachusetts, documents the voyage of the brig Chenamus from Newburyport to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii). William was the brother of Caleb Cushing, American statesman and diplomat. William’s father, John Cushing, owned the Chenamus and at the time of this journey, William had just graduated from Harvard University and was sent on this trip to take care of some business interests. Cushing wrote about his daily adventures on the brig and included some poetry and a drawing of the ship. It is unusual to find items dealing with travel to Hawaii.
Log of the clipper ship Flying Fish
This is a log of the clipper ship Flying Fish on a voyage from Boston to San Francisco in 1857-1858. The ship’s master was Edward C. Nickels and the owners were George R. Sampson and Lewis W. Tappan of Boston. The log was kept by Thomas Fose Cleveland. This is a typical logbook noting location, wind, weather, and events on board. Soon after this voyage, the ship was wrecked while coming out of Foo Chow, China, with a cargo of tea. The underwriters sold her to a Spanish merchant in Manila and she was rebuilt and her name changed to El Bueno Suceso.
Photo Album from the Vietnam War era