The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

Margaret Russell’s Diary, September 1916

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

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August

In August, Margaret Russell wrote about her ambivalence planning a trip to the American west due to the uncertainties created by the looming railroad strike. The strike was resolved, however, and as her diary reveals Margaret went ahead with her travel plans. On September 6th, the Wednesday after Labor Day (established as a federal holiday in 1894), she went to Boston to purchase tickets. Between September 7th and September 21st she traveled to Colorado and back by train. It is unclear whether Margaret Russell traveled alone or with other members of the family; her diary seldom reveals her daily companions. Her diary once again reveals her to be a lover of walks and drives, as she details the natural beauty of the landscape in the West. 

On the return journey she notes a tragedy: “Two men killed by our train but we did not know.” Were the men laborers? Were the deaths intentional suicide? An accident? She likely did not know and certainly does not say. It is a passing horror in an otherwise “splendid trip.” The final week of September sees Margaret return to her usual routine of errands, walking, and visiting on the North Shore and in Boston.

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September 1916*

1 Sept. Friday - Stayed at home in the morning. Drove to Newburyport for tea at Blue Elephant. Home by turnpike.

2 Sept. Saturday - First to Hosp. on to Natick Inn for lunch, on to see Mrs. Hodder home at 6. Dined at Marblehead to see Miss Reulker.

3 Sept. Walked to church & back. Family to dine.

4 Sept. Labor Day - Stayed at home in the A.M. Made calls at Nahant in the P.M.

5 Sept. Tuesday - Mrs. Ward’s last lecture, took tea with Jennie.

6 Sept. To town to make last plans & get tickets. Packing in the P.M.

7 Sept. Left home 8.30. Boston at 10 A.M.

8 Sept. Arrived at Chicago at 12.30. Bath & lunch at Blackstone. Drove through the Riverside Park. Left at 6pm for Denver.

9 Sept. Omaha when awakened at 7. Arrived Denver at 9.45. Brown Palace Hotel. Very noisy room.

10 Sept. Sunday. Fine service at cathedral & sermon from Dean on 10 Commandments. Took sight-seeing bus in P.M. Changed rooms.

11 Sept. Rainy - museum in the A.M. Movies in the P.M.

12 Sept. Left Denver at 8 A.M. Train to Loveland motor to Estes. Wonderful drive thru Thompson canyon. Stanley Hotel most comfortable.

13 Sept. Walked about in the A.M. I found flowers. Drove to Long Peak’s rim in the P.M. & on way home saw beaver dams.

14 Sept. Walked on the Prospect Trail & took Fall River drive up to 10,000 feet. Wonderful view.

15 Sept. Friday - Walked nearly to Glen Lake. Drive the High Drive & Moraine Park. Wonderful weather.

16 Sept. Saturday - Walked along river. Drive to Sprague’s in P.M. The most beautiful drive yet. Views superb.

17 Sept. Sunday Left Estes P- by motor at 2 in thunderstorm which was short. Reached Denver at 6. Road fine thru canyon very dusty on plains. Room Palace Hotel.

18 Sept. Went to museum. Very interesting, did errands. Left Denver at 2.45 for Chicago N. P. & C.M.St.P. Comfortable weather. Saw wind storm.

19 Sept. Travelling all day through corn fields & stock farms. Two men killed by our train but we did not know. Chicago at 9.

20 Sept. Left Chicago at 10.30. Went to Creighton's first under Hotel Blackstone. Comfortable train & cool.

21 Sept. Arrived in Boston at 3. Had my hair washed & got home by 5.30. Mama very well. A splendid trip.

22 Sept. Writing & paying bills. Drove to Salem for errands & to N. Andover for tea in the P.M.

23 Sept. Saturday - Went to N. Andover with H.G.C.’s. Lovely day.

24 Sept. Walked to church. The two C’s & Ellen to dine only.

25 Sept. Monday - Town for errands. Lunched at Marian’s, went out to see Aunt E.

26 Sept. Tuesday - Walked from little Nahant. Drove to Lynnfield swamp & cut fringed gentian.

27 Sept. Wednesday - To town after lunch for Mayflower Soc. meeting.

28 Sept. Thursday - Walked from Marblehead across [illegible]. Quite warm. To Salem to see Ropes’ house in P.M. Dined at Beverly.

29 Sept. Friday - Church at ten. Looking [illegible] flowers to take to Gray. P.M. went to Herbarium & to Radcliffe tea.

30 Sept. Went to see Mrs. H. Then to Southboro to lunch with H.G.C. Much cooler. High wind.

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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: Wednesday, 14 September, 2016, 12:00 AM