“Another Emma”: Emma Wedgwood Darwin

February 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm (diaries, history, news) (, , , , , , , , , , )


It is amazing all the websites, books, etc I’ve collected/seen/consulted — and then “forgotten”. It was while putting in the Carlyle Letters (see the Browing Letters post) – for I am very interested in Jane Welsh Carlyle – that I began to cast my mind back: What else had I forgotten I loved??

Then I recalled finding a site with Darwin letters. As you might, however, have guessed, I’m less interested in Charles Darwin and more interested in his wife, Emma. And what did I spot but EMMA Wedgwood / EMMA Darwin’s diaries! How could I have missed those before…

Once you spot such drawings as this one above, you just have to look through them. This is a page from Emma Darwin’s 1840 diary; someone’s costume, or else an idea for herself, must have caught Emma’s eye; the diary evidently a handy place for a quick “scratch”.

Emma Wedgwood (yes, that Wedgwood family!) was born in 1808 — so right in the midst of all the Smith & Gosling children. Her earlist extant diary dates to 1824; she lived, and kept diaries, until 1896. There are a few diaries from the 1830s; fewer holes during the 1840s; and complete runs from then on.

Don’t neglect the printed materials of the diary-series; they can quite be of use to the historian – with things like postal rates, or even when an eclipse is expected. {note: I do not think all beginning/end materials have been included, so savor those which have.} Then there are the unexpected, like this handwritten addendum in 1894 for a “knitted jacket”! Ah, a woman after my own heart…

{a word of advice: Use your browser’s “history” or the back arrow to get back to the index of diaries. “back” will move you back a page in the diary you are viewing}

I am reminded to mention The Darwin Correspondence Project, and also that Emma was a friend of my dear Ellen Tollet (a book I highly recommend).

Was this 1824 diary an 1823 Christmas gift?

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