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Robert Miller was born in County Cork, Ireland, to Adam Miller and Theodora Lovell Miller in 1819. The family immigrated to Canada in the 1820s and settled in Montréal, Québec. Miller had at least four siblings, Ann, William, George, and Adam, all of whom he mentioned in his diary. Robert and Adam Miller formed a partnership as R. & A. Miller and worked as bookbinders, stationers, school book publishers, and general printers in Montréal. The partnership published journals for the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in the 1840s. Miller married Eliza Cameron in 1848 and the couple had several children. Miller discussed his first-born child, Theodora, in this diary. Robert Miller died in 1893 and was buried at the Mont Royal Cemetery in Montréal.
Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, Session 1850,, Vol. 9. Toronto: Rollo Campbell, 1850.The Canada Directory for 1857-1858. Montreal: Published by John Lovell, St. Nicholas St., 1857. 1871 Census of Canada (accessed via Ancestry.com on April 17, 2017)Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. (accessed April 17, 2017)Information derived from the collection.
This diary was kept by bookseller Robert Miller of Montréal, Québec, between 1850 and 1851.
Miller began his entries on May 1, 1850, noting that “my purpose is to keep a diary of such things as may take place, in the Town, in my family and among my friends which may be of importance.” He frequently commented on the health and activities of family members, including his wife, Eliza, and infant daughter, Theodora. He also described the marriage of his sister Ann and her move to Whitehall, New York, with her new husband. Miller regularly attended church services and bible classes and often thanked God for providing for him and his family. Miller occasionally recorded his financial transactions, made observations on the weather, and commented on the deaths of local inhabitants.
Much of Miller’s diary focuses on his activity as a bookseller and publisher. He worried that the provincial government’s relocation to Toronto, Ontario, would diminish his business. In June 1850, Miller traveled to Toronto to appear before the Legislative Assembly’s Committee of Contingencies and objected to the Assembly’s refusal to pay a bill for printing journals. Miller traveled frequently for business, going to New York City in late May 1850 to purchase books. He also described his trip through “Upper Canada” to sell school books in Autumn 1850. Miller traveled as far as Hamilton, Ontario, selling his wares, mostly visiting communities on the northern shore of Lake Ontario.
Despite his intention to make regular entries, Miller left several gaps of a week or more in his diary during 1850. He made only three entries in 1851, recording nothing between January 4th and April 30th.
This volume is bound with marbled paper covers and has remnants of a red leather spine. The printed title page reads “The Daily Journal; or A Guide and Note Book for Daily Transactions.” and was published by R. & A. Miller in Montréal in 1847. A pencil inscription at the top of the title page reads “Probably Robert Millers diary—Mrs. Huodna[?]/Lovell Miller McConnell’s father (Mrs. John Bradford McConnell).” The volume contains 92 leaves of faintly-lined wove paper. Each page has space for two daily diary entries. The entries are handwritten in black ink.
Item 0051: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097
Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, July 2017.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2017 July 7
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