Stewart's Diary for 1860

Biographical and Historical Notes

John H. Calder was a resident of St. George's, Delaware, in the mid-eighteenth century. He was heavily involved in the social and religious life of the town and served a crucial role in the building of the St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church, which was erected in 1852.

Calder served on the building committee of the church with five other Delawareans, including G.W. Townsend. The members of the committee subsequently became the first trustees of the church. Calder also served as superintendent of the church's Sunday school for twenty years.


Scharf, J Thomas. History of Delaware, 1609-1888/ by J. Thomas Scharf ; assisted by a staff of able assistants. Philadelphia : L.J. Richards & Co., 1888.

Further biographical information derived from the collection.

Scope and Content Note

This diary was kept by John H. Calder of St. George's, Delaware, from January 1, 1860, to December 8, 1860, and contains daily entries mentioning the weather, financial transactions, local events, and social calls.

Calder’s diary entries documented life on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and frequently mentioned the passing of boats and the condition of the canal itself. He also detailed events occurring locally and in Delaware City, Delaware, his frequent church attendance, social gatherings, and the health of his family. There were multiple mentions of Delaware notable G.W. Townsend, with whom he served on the building committee of St. George's Methodist Episcopal Church. There are several gaps in the diary, where no entries were made. These gaps are from August 20 to August 30, September 10 to October 30, November 14 to November 30, December 6 and 7, and December 9 till the end of the year.

The diary is bound and contains 128 pages, 108 of which are used. The cover of the diary has the title "Daily Register 1860." The owner of the diary is identified in the front of the diary with the inscription "John H. Calder, St. George's, Del." The first page of the diary provides its title and a statement of its use: "containing a blank for every day in the year, for the record of interesting daily occurrences and future engagements." It also indicates that it was published yearly by "Moss, Brother & Co., Publishers, Booksellers and Stationers, Philadelphia." On the two pages before the entries begin, there is a calendar for the year 1860 and a table showing the number of days from any day in one month, to the same day in another month.

After the end of the entries on December 31 (though Calder's last entry was December 8), there are sections for memoranda and cash accounts by month. In both of these sections Calder lists purchases made and the amount of money paid for the purchases. The last section of the diary contains entries for bills, both payable and receivable, by month.

Publication Note

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.