The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Margaret Russell’s Diary, July 1916

Today, we return to the line-a-day diary of Margaret Russell. You can read previous installments here:







One hundred years ago, the month of July was “very hot,” “close & hot,” and “fearfully hot,” broken occasionally by “very bad storm[s]” that turned the streets into rivers, thunder, and hail. Margaret Russell remained in Swampscott at the family estate, though her diary records nearly daily excursions throughout the region: North Andover, Revere, Lynn, Beverly, Arlington, South Natick, Nahant, Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Baldpate Mountain in Maine.

Aunt Emma will be a familiar figure in these diary entries to those of you who have been reading since January. On July 6th we learn that Aunt Emma is living in a “pleasant room” at a convent. A bit of digging in the diary reveals that the convent where Emma was located was in Arlington, and potentially the Episcopal order Sisters of St. Anne-Bethany, established in 1910.



“Mrs. Ward’s lectures” or “classes” have come up repeatedly in the diary and I did a bit of investigation on Mrs. Ward. Mary Alden Ward (1853-1918) was an author, lecturer, and leader in the women’s club movement in the Boston area and beyond. She wrote biographical sketches of historical figures such as Dante and Plutarch, as well as a book of New England history: Old Colony Days (1896). Mary Ward was married to William G. Ward, a professor of English literature at Emerson College. On a sad note, she was killed a mere eighteen months after this diary was penned, in January 1918, when an electric streetcar collided with the automobile in which she was riding to one of her speaking engagements.


* * *

July 1916*

1 July. Saturday - Lunched at N. Andover with the H.G.C’s. Lovely day. Miss McLuade gone on her vacation.

2 July. Sunday - Very hot. Walked to church and back. Rested after lunch. Edith & C. - only for dinner.

3 July. Monday - To town. Very close & hot. Very bad storm on Revere Beach coming home. Streets rivers & lots of hail. Saw Dr. Smith.

4 July. Tuesday - Stayed home all day. Rained. Telephone came that Richard had got home.

5 July. Wednesday - To town in the morning & back to lunch. Rested in P.M. dined at Beverly to see Richard.

6 July. Thursday - To see Aunt Emma at the convent. She seemed very happy & has a pleasant room.

7 July. Friday.

8 July. Saturday - Hot. Went to S. Natick for lunch with the H.G.C.’s. On to see Mrs. Hodder home by Weston & Waltham.

9 July. Sunday - Walked to church & back. Family to dine C. & R. both back.

10 July. Monday - Town for errands. Lunched with Marian. Went to Eye & Ear.

11 July. Tuesday - Nahant for Ward lecture.

12 July. Wednesday - Went to call on Miss Jewett at Nahant & on Mrs. Howe at Manchester. Very hot.

13 July. Thursday - Very hot. Went to Nahant to see F. Prince. Thunderstormed in. P.M.

14 July. Friday - Cool so went to town for E. & E. to see Dr. Washburn. Good Sam. & to Aunt Emma. Lunched at Chilton.

15 July. Saturday - Blais [illegible] so went with the H.G.C.’s to lunch at Baldpate & a drive. Lovely day.

16 July. Walked to church & back. Boat sailed race to Portsmouth & got 1st prize. Family to dine much pleased with day. Ellen & Nellie at Wareham.

17 July. Monday - Town for errands. Lunched with Marian. Home early.

18 July. Tuesday - Lynn errands in A.M. Mrs. Ward’s lecture. Sallie was brought over to see Mama.

19 July. Wednesday - Went to Hay Herbarium & home through Middlesex Fells.

20 July. Thursday -

21 July. Friday - Took Hattie L- over to call on Mrs. John Phillips.

22 July. Saturday - Went to Lawrence to call on Mary Parkman but did not see her. Then to N. Andover & lunched there. Hot & muggy.

23 July. Sunday - Raining hard. Walked to church & had a call from Margaret Swain afterwards. Family to dine - Monday [24 July] went to town.

25 July. Tuesday Mrs. Ward’s class. Miss A. came for me & went to Salem.

26 July. Wednesday - Marian & Sallie came down to lunch. I sent for [illegible] & sent them back. Walked with Miss A- to Phillip’s Marsh.

27 July. Thursday - To town to lunch with Susy Bradley who is in town working on M’s wedding announcements.

28 July. Friday - To Nahant to see F. P. after lunch Miss A- & I went for long drive hunting flowers with success.

29 July. Saturday - Lunched at Georgetown with the H.G.C.’s to Rowley afterward but did not find Paulie.

30 July. Sunday - Walked to church & home through the woods. Family to dine.

31 July. Monday - Fearfully hot. Took my trunks to town & spent night at Chilton. After thunderstorm comfortable night. Went to see Aunt E. in the P.M.


* * *

If you are interested in viewing the diary in person in our library or have other questions about the collection, please visit the library or contact a member of the library staff for further assistance.

*Please note that the diary transcription is a rough-and-ready version, not an authoritative transcript. Researchers wishing to use the diary in the course of their own work should verify the version found here with the manuscript original.


permalink | Published: Friday, 15 July, 2016, 12:00 AM