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Guide to the Louise Foot Ely Diary, 1858-1859
MS 20/13, MS 20/14 (Vault)  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Added Entries

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Louise Foot Ely Diary,
    Date (inclusive): 1858-1859
    Collection number: MS 20/13, MS 20/14 (Vault)
    Creator: Ely, Louise Foot
    Extent: 1 diary and 14 folios.
    Repository: California Historical Society, North Baker Library
    San Francisco, California 94105-4014
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Gift of K.K. Bechtel.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The North Baker Research Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The North Baker Research Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Louise Foot Ely Diary. MS 20/13, MS 20/14 (Vault), California Historical Society, North Baker Research Library.


    Cleveland, O., Elyria, O., San Francisco, Ca.

    Scope and Content

    Original or Copy:
    Time span of diary:
    Feb. 12, 1858 - August 30, 1858; Nov. 28, 1858 - Nov. 9, 1859
    Description of diarist:
    Louise Foot Ely arrived in San Francisco in 1858 at the end of a trip to the South Sea with her husband C.A. Ely who was in failing health They spent two years in California and as his health improved he traveled throughout the State and in Washington and Oregon.
    Size in Inches:
    Feb. 1858-Aug. 1858 14 looseleaf folios 8½ × 11; Nov. 1858-Nov. 1859 leather packet 4 3/4 × 3
    Approximate number of pages:
    11/58-11/59: 109 bound; 2/58-8/58: 55 looseleaf.


    Diary concerns some reflections on her life-concerns for husband's health where they will eventually settle hints of pregnancy.
    Folder 14: Feb. 12, 1858 diary--Almost daily record of trip aboard the Samuel Russell from N.Y. to San Francisco via the China Sea; life aboard ship, improvised church services, food served, Chinese sailors aboard, stars observed; description of Chinese sailors being transported to Australia. An interesting if factual diary with only rare glimpses of her inner feelings, written to be sent home to her family.
    Folder 13: November 28, 1858 diary-- Private diary recounting typical middleclass woman's daily activities--lectures, teas, church attendance. Health and welfare of husband; wifely arts such as sewing and decoration; social life with other women; lectures and concerts; lively interest in events in San Francisco. Diary is accompanied by letters to family and friends.

    Added Entries

    Added Subject Entries

    • Beatrice (Ship) Feb. 12 diary, p.40
    • Broderick-Terry Duel - Nov. 28 diary p. 73 and following
    • Chinese - transportation from Hong Kong to Australia Feb. 12 diary, p. 40
    • Diaries - 1858-1859
    • Fourth of July, 1859 - Celebration in San Francisco Nov. 28 diary, p.16, 17
    • Lapwing (Ship) Feb. 12 diary, p.32
    • Murphy's Ranch, San Jose, Ca. (description) Nov. 28 diary, p.26
    • Nurseries (Horticulture) --San Jose, Ca. (description) Nov. 28 diary, p.32
    • San Francisco --Social life and customs, Nov. 28 diary throughout
    • San Jose. San Juan Church (description) Nov. 28 diary p.23, 24
    • Santa Clara College, Santa Clara, Ca. (description) Nov. 28 diary p.23, 24
    • Women in California -- Social life and customs, Nov. 28 diary throughout
    • Voyages to the Pacific Coast, 1858

    Added People Entries

    • Broderick, David C. (1820-1859) wounded by Terry p.73 and following Greeley, Horace -- lecturer p. 52
    • Flint, Mr./Mrs. Ben p. 29
    • Mastick, Mr./Mrs. E.B. p 34 and following
    • Scott (Rev.) W.A. (1813-1885) author and theologian p.14 and following
    • Scott (General) Winfield (1786-1866) arrival in San Francisco Bay 1859, p.91, 92
    • Terry, David S. (1823-1890) - pistol duel with Broderick p.73 and following
    • Taylor, Bayard (1825-1878) - author and lecturer p.71, 74
    • Santa Claus (Ship) (Feb. 1858 diary)