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Selina C. Washburn travel diary


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Selina C. Washburn born in 1836 or 1837 to Cyrus and Mary Washburn in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1854, she traveled abroad to England and France with her father Cyrus Washburn, a businessman in the coal and lumber industries, and sister Sarah.

"1860 United States Federal Census." Library Edition. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2004. (accessed March 9, 2015). Additional biographical information derived from the collection and dealer description.

American Selina C. Washburn kept this travel diary during her 1854 voyage from Boston, Massachusetts, to London, England, and Paris, France. Selina and her sister Sarah accompanied their father Cyrus Washburn on a business trip and her diary records her impressions of persons encountered, shops visited, and sightseeing excursions.

Selina Washburn kept this diary for a brief period between July and October 1854 when she and her sister Sarah accompanied their father Cyrus Washburn on a business trip from Boston to London and Paris. The Washburns were joined by another man, Captain Gardner, also traveling with his two daughters. Nearly five weeks were spent in crossing the Atlantic and once abroad, the young ladies occupied themselves with sightseeing and shopping. Ships mentioned in the diary include the Admiral and the Fatherland.

Selina Washburn wrote about many events that occurred during her trip, including the "marriage" of her friend Olive to a Scotsman on October 5, 1854. The group was told that since Olive had assented to all the questions asked her, this resulted in a valid Scots wedding. However, the man did not remain and Cyrus Washburn promised to sue him for breach of promise. Upon arriving in Liverpool, England, from whence they sailed for home, they discovered that one of their trunks had been lost—the one with the bonnets purchased in Paris. There was also a remark in the final entry concerning the gloom cast over the company because of the ill-fated loss of the transatlantic steamship Arctic which had sunk just a few weeks prior.

The manuscript is bound in cloth with a gold urn embossed on the front cover. It contains autograph notes in ink on approximately eight-seven lined pages. In addition there were four oversize documents removed from the diary and stored separately. These include a bill of sale for bonnets and the passport allowing Mr. Washburn, his two daughters and two other ladies to travel from England to France. This document was signed by future U.S. President James Buchanan, then minister to Great Britain.

University of Delaware. Library.

Self works : diaries, scrapbooks, and other autobiographical efforts : catalog of an exhibition, August 19, 1997-December 18, 1997 : guide to selected sources. Newark, Del. : Special Collections, Hugh M. Morris Library, University of Delaware Library, 1997.

  1. Item 0080: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097
  2. Item 0080: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)

Purchase, 1957.

Processed and encoded by Lynda Gillow, July 2007. Updated by E. Evan Echols, March 2015.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2015 March 9
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Selina C. Washburn travel diary, 1854 July 5-October 13. 1 volume.
Item 0080
Physical Description

1 volume

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