Scope and Contents
The diary covers Benjamin Hayes Smith’s time at Haverford, beginning January 1, 1856, through 1863. From 1856 through the end of 1859, Smith wrote everyday, usually to describe the weather and his school work. He frequently recorded his readings for class, which included classics such as the Aeneid by Virgil, Antigone, and works by Xenophon. He also described his work for classes including Greek, Latin, Geology, Geometry, etc. Smith also detailed his experience in his public and private examinations. He regularly attended meetings of the Haverford Loganian Society (1856-1859), Haverford Euethean Association (1856-1859), and Haverford Athenaeum (1856-1859). After 1860, the entries become more sporadic, however they include more detail about Smith’s activities. In October of 1861, Smith enlisted in the army, and his entries through April, 1863 provide details about life in the cavalry, including a detailed entry of his experience in the Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862), in Tennessee. After leaving the army in April, 1863, Smith continued to record entries through December 31, 1863, after which the diary is blank. The diary is handwritten in cursive, however there are examples of shorthand throughout his entries.
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Benjamin Hayes Smith was born May 7, 1841, to George and Mary (Lewis) Smith. They lived in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. At the age of 15, Smith entered Haverford College and received his bachelor's in 1859. While at Haverford, Smith was the secretary for the Henry Society, the editor of the Collegian, and a member of the Haverford Loganian Society, the Haverford Euethean Association, and the Haverford Athenaeum. After his time at Haverford, Smith returned home and searched for work surveying for railroads in the Midwest. In October, 1861, near the start of the Civil War, Smith enlisted in the cavalry and remained in service through April, 1863. Smith was a member of the Anderson Troop of the Pennsylvania Volunteers (15th Pennsylvania Volunteer Cavalry), serving under General Buell during his campaign in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama, and serving under General Rosecrans’s Stones River campaign. As a result of his enlistment, he may have been disowned from his meeting. After leaving the army, Smith worked as a topographical engineer and surveyor. He married Adelaide L. Brooke in 1866. In 1880, he wrote and published Atlas of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, which contained early grants and patents with a history of land titles in the county. Smith was a member of several societies, including the Delaware County Institute of Science, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the American Entomological Society. He also worked with Dr. Charles Sprague Sargent at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, on a study of wild thorns (Crataegus), of which one was named after him (C. smithii). Smith died in 1918.
0.25 Linear Feet (1 volume)