We specialize in Americana, especially manuscript materials. We offer manuscript letters and archives, diaries, journals, personal and business correspondence from the 17th century through the 20th.

  • Small quarto, 110 manuscript pages, bound in half leather, contemporary marbled paper backed boards, spine cracked, boards detached, worn, rubbed, paper good, entries written in a legible hand, and dated 18 June to 8 September 1868.
    The diary records the incidents and events on a journey departing from New York harbor and arriving in Queenstown, Ireland on June 26th. He writes every day during the ocean voyage, describing shipboard life, the account consists of 25 manuscript pages, followed by a further 85 manuscript pages which vividly describe his adventures while in Europe, making a total of 110 manuscript pages. The diary ends on 8 September 1868, while he is touring Paris, France.  Although the diary is not signed, there are enough clues and internal evidence within the diary to determine that the author is Joshua Merrill, a pioneer in the American petroleum industry. Our author lives in Boston Massachusetts and he is traveling in Europe with another man by the name of “Mr. Downer” both men are in the petroleum business. The two men are not there merely for sightseeing, or pleasure travel, but are examining the conditions of the oil, kerosene and petroleum business. Our diarist mentions being in Europe, (even in some of the same exact places) 12 years earlier in 1856. This information, the fact that they two men are oilmen and that the author was in Europe 12 years prior, are enough clues to identify the diarist. There is a Samuel Downer, an oil pioneer, whose obituary appears in The Boston Journal for 21 September 1881, this is likely the… more >