Special Collections has acquired the manuscript diary of Sarah Bowdoin Dearborn which she kept while her husband, Henry Dearborn, served as United States minister plenipotentiary to Portugal. The diary covers the period 9 July 1823 to 7 July 1824 in over 400 pages.
Entries range in length from one or two sentences to two full pages and more. Almost every entry describes in detail the Dearborns’ dinner companions, noting the positions of the men, and the social attributes of the women. She always notes the arrival and departure of dignitaries. The diarist comments on local customs, houses, the living arrangements of both the foreign officials and of the locals as well as street crime and other details of life in Lisbon. She was a close observer of the domestic situations of her companions: their children, personalities, education, and general accomplishments.
In all, a journal offering insight into the public as well as the domestic life of an American diplomat’s family in western Europe in the early 19th century. The journal is completely unknown, having descended in the Dearborn family until the present time.