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Frederic Carter diary


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

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Born in Warwickshire, Birmingham, England in 1830 to George and Mary Carter. Following the death of his father in 1845, Frederic traveled to New York with a Mr. James in 1846. Carter worked as a clerk in Mr. James' company. Around 1850--at the urging of his brother William Carter--Frederic enrolled as a student at St. George's Hospital School of Medicine, London. Frederic passed his exams to become a surgeon in 1853, and immediately received a position on a ship. In 1855 Carter was commissioned to the Bengal Army, Medical Department, as assistant surgeon where he was stationed in Pakistan and India. Ultimately, Carter was commissioned to Surgeon-Major 1st Gurkha Regiment at Dharmsala, India. He married Agnes Jane Emmett in 1871. They had two children Gertrude Mary born in 1872 and Frederic Hugh born in 1874. Agnes Jane Carter died shortly after the birth of their son on 4 September 1874. From the early 1900s until his death, Carter lived with his daughter Gerturde in High Ongar, Essex, England.

This leather bound volume traces the life of Frederic Carter. The diary spans from July 1867 through March 1883. The journal begins as Carter sails from England on board the St. Lawrence bound for India. At this time he is an assistant surgeon in the 20th Native Infantry, Bengal, Indian Medical Department. Carter recorded his experiences in the Bengal army, including long marches, the names of commanding officers, the regiments, positions, and some strategic information. Carter was first stationed in Pakistan, and described building his bungalow in Talagang. Carter recorded major events, for instance, the arrival of "Lord Mayo" (Richard Bourke, 6th Earl of Mayo and Viceroy of India). He recorded when the Russians were in Kabul, Afghanistan in January of 1879, and the start of Franco-Prussian War. Carter also noted cholera outbreaks in the region. He described an investment property in the village of Chamkor, India--sometimes referred to as the "Carter Estate"--and leasing land to local villages and having the land prepared for farming. Carter traveled by train throughout India including Delhi, Lucknow, Calcutta, and Bombay. In 1870 he was promoted to Surgeon-Major of the Gurkha Infantry, 1st Regiment in Dharmsala, India. He noted the letters he received from and sent to his family, and the courtship with his wife Agnes Jane Emmett. Agnes arrived in Bombay, India in November 1871 and the pair was married in December the same year. Carter wrote of the birth of his daughter Gertrude in 1872. In May 1874 Frederic, Agnes who was pregnant, and their daughter returned to England by way of a tour of Europe. They traveled through Italy, Innsbruck, Munich, Cologne, and Brussels. In England, Agnes gave birth to their son on 23 August and died shortly after on 4 September, 1874. Carter discloses his grief in the diary. Between the years 1875 and 1883 Carter discussed the Bengal army, when he was going to leave the service, his investment property, and the care of his children. Curiously, on 18 March 1868 Carter wrote a memoir in middle of the journal to give an account of the major events in his life up to that point. In this passage Carter recalled the death of his father, his journey to New York, and his wish to be a sailor. He discussed his family including his brother William, and meeting Agnes. In addition to his life in the Bengal Army Carter recorded hunting expeditions and listed all the animals he sees and shoots including a tigress. He also described climbing mountains. The volume is written in ink with the last six leaves written in pencil. The last leaves are an account of Carter's estate at Chamkor, India. He lists names and payments received from leased land.

Sold by Maggs Bros., Ltd. (London, England), 1999.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Donna Brandolisio
Finding Aid Date
August 2014
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Frederic Carter diary, 1867-1883.
Volume 1

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