Scope and Contents note
This collection includes 43 original, bound, handwritten volumes of Joshua Baily’s personal diaries, spanning the majority of his adult life. Baily began keeping diaries at the age of nineteen and continued to write daily entries throughout his life, though diaries for the years 1857-1878 are missing.
As a young man, Baily was very involved in the Philadelphia community, and many of his early entries describe his attendance at both religious and secular lectures, and his attendance at meetings for various societies, including: the Philadelphia Historical Society, the Eromathean society, the Pennsylvania Prison Society, which advocated for the health and safety of prisoner and prison reform, The Philadelphia Society for Employment and Instruction of the Poor, and the Moyamensing House of Industry, two organizations that worked to train the poor, and particularly immigrants, to enter the work force.
In later entries, Baily is largely concerned with temperance efforts and prohibition, and city government. In his old age, Baily’s focus shifts to news of his family, and he increasingly records international affairs and political or military events, particularly in the years leading up to WWI.
Two volumes, for the years 1879 and 1880, are the diaries of Joshua Baily’s wife, Theodate Lang Baily. Theodate’s diaries largely focus on social calls and family news, as well as descriptions of her husband and children, and their health.
Standard Federal Copyright Law Applies (U.S. Title 17).
Joshua Longstreth Baily (1826-1916) was a Quaker merchant in the dry goods business. He attended all the American Yearly Meetings between 1845 and 1855. He contributed generously to African American causes, was interested in peace issues, worked diligently toward temperance, establishing temperance coffeehouses in Philadelphia. He was also the vice President of the National Temperance Society. He was treasurer of the Mohonk Arbitration Conference, president of the American Bible Society, and was affiliated with the Pennsylvania Prison Society for 66 years, and was the organization’s president at the time of his death. He was an author on topics related to Bible study and temperance.
Baily married Theodate Lang in 1856. The couple had 5 children:
Frederick Lang Baily, b. 1858
Albert Lang Baily, b. 1859
William Lloyd Baily, b. 1861
Charles Winter Baily, b. 1866
Henry Paul Baily, b. 1868
Theodate died in 1886, and Baily never remarried.
Theodate Lang was the daughter of John Damon Lang, a preacher of the Society of Friends and one of the Indian Commissioners of the U.S. Government, and Ann Elmira Stackpole Lang, both from Vassalboro, Maine. She was born February 2, 1833, and died November 25, 1886.
Sources: Dictionary of Quaker Biography, Prison Reform in Philadelphia, Genealogy of the Baily Family, pg 302-303,
Obituary in Friends Intelligencer vol 43(1886):777, History and Genealogy of the Stackpole Family, pg 172.
2.32 Linear Feet (43 volumes)