Lincoln and His Circle: Fanny Seward Diary - Browse

Engraving: The First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln by Francis Bicknell Carpenter (1830-1900)



Fanny SewardFrances Adeline ("Fanny") Seward (1844–1866), the only daughter of Frances and William Henry Seward, aspired to be a writer. At the age of 14, she began keeping a diary, starting on December 25, 1858 and continuing until October 7, 1866. Having contracted typhoid fever as a child, Fanny remained in poor health for the remainder of her life and was just 22 years old when she died. The last journal entry is dated three weeks before her death. Fanny’s mother, Frances Seward, was also often ill and preferred the relatively quiet of her Auburn family home to the hectic Washington social life, leaving hostess duties for the family’s Washington social affairs to Fanny.

Diaries, photo by Richard Baker Fanny wrote both fiction and poetry but it is her dramatic "eye-witness to history" accounts as recorded in her diaries for which she will be remembered. Reproduced here for the first time are digital facsimiles of diary entries, along with the complete transcriptions, for April 5th, 1865, the day of William Henry Seward’s near fatal carriage accident and continuing through April 14th, 1865, the day of Lincoln’s assassination and the failed assassination attempt on Seward. The entries have now been transcribed in their entirety including cross-outs and no attempt has been made to modernize spellings; mistakes in spelling and punctuation are as originally written.
For the most part, these transcriptions have been taken from Patricia Carley Johnson’s University of Rochester, PH.D. Thesis, 1963 Sensitivity and Civil War: The Selected Diaries and Papers, 1858-1866, of Frances Adeline (Fanny ) Seward. Sections not included in Johnson’s work as well as additional footnotes have been added by Richard Peek.

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December 27, 1858December 28, 1858
December 29, 1858December 30, 1858
December 31, 1858January 19, 1861
January 20, 1861January 31, 1861
February 1, 1861February 2, 1861
February 3, 1861September 1, 1861
January 21, 1863January 22, 1863
March 10, 1863March 11, 1863
April 5, 1865April 6, 1865
April 7, 1865April 8, 1865
April 9, 1865April 10, 1865
April 11, 1865April 12, 1865
April 13, 1865April 14, 1865



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