Did you have relatives living in New York between 1880 and 1956? Read through John E. Lewis’ diaries to glean insight into life in the city and current events during these years.
These records are comprised of PDF images of transcripts of the original diaries of John E. Lewis. While the majority of journals were written from Utica, New York, some were written from Ansonia, Connecticut, which is about three and half hours southwest of Utica.
The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has digitized the transcripts of the diaries of John E. Lewis, a New York resident who wrote in his diaries every day for seventy-seven years and captured life in New York during the era. The original diaries are held by the Society, but are too fragile to digitize, and may be viewed in the offices by appointment only. Images of individual pages of the original diaries may be made available by request to email@example.com.
Mr. Lewis began writing his diaries on January 1, 1880, as a nineteen-year old young man, and continued to write until his eyesight was too poor to continue, at age 96. He chronicled major events in New York State and the nation, from the crash of Wall Street and the end of Prohibition, to the festivities for the commemoration of Henry Hudson’s voyage on the Hudson River. Many people, places, and events are mentioned in the diaries, including the famous individuals Mr. Lewis heard speak at lectures in and around New York City. Although there is no evidence that Mr. Lewis traced his genealogy, his diaries provide detailed information on his family members, and even an annotated index identifying every person mentioned in the diaries, with biographical information.
Additionally, under the Useful Links & Resources section, there is a link to the browse-only version of these images. There you will be able to flip through these journal transcripts as if you were looking through the originals.