Julia Ann McNeill Journal
The inside cover of the journal bears the date October 2, 1838 and also the year 1841. The first fifty-one pages of the journal consist of a collection of essays on various topics, apparently written as school assignments. Of the twenty-three essays, nine are initialed J A McN or some variation. Eight bear the initials J H T. Six are labeled M L B. The essays are short and the topics range from descriptions of scenery, imaginative paragraphs written from the points of view of animals or inanimate objects, appreciative essays on people or paragraphs which encourage good morals. The handwriting seems similar in some places and different in others. It is possible that more than one person wrote in the journal.
The last twenty pages include fragments and variations of songs, lyrics and poems. Most are unsigned or unidentified in the journal itself. The popular tunes include the 19th century British folk song by Allan Cunningham A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea, a version of George F. Bristow's "Miss Lucy Long, and an English version of the French folk song Ma Normandie by Frederic Berat. Among the religious pieces are Reginald Heber's From Greenland's Icy Mountains, a version of Frozen Heart, and Thomas Moore's Nothing True but Heaven. One of the last items is a fragment for Moore's long poem Lalla Rookh: An Oriental Romance. The last page also includes a list of textbooks used by the Brownsville Female Academy in 1838.
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0.5 Linear Feet
The journal contains a series of handwritten essays signed by three different writers. The last pages are full of songs, bits of songs and poetry from the contemporary period.
There is little information to be had about the Brownsville Female Academy. An 1831 act provides a list of Brownsville Academy trustees. Most other references to such a school actually relate to the Brownsville Female Institute or Seminary. The Brownsville Female Institute was established in 1842, under the control of the Presbyterian Church, and closed at the start of the Civil War. It is possible the Brownsville Female Academy evolved into or was incorporated into the Brownsville Institute in 1842.
Julia Ann McNeill is equally mysterious. Most of the dates in the journal are 1838, but do not provide a specific age for any of the apparent writers. [References are made to a Julia Ann (1829-1901) who married a Stanhope McCommons. They moved with their children to Missouri in 1856. Both husband and wife appear on the 1860 census, and Stanhope appears as head of household on the 1870 census.]
Collection consists of a single folder.
Collection was purchased by Special Collections in March 2004.