A Friday Afternoon Lagniappe: Sketches from a Reconstruction Era Diary

We’ve got a big blog announcement going live on Tuesday morning, but until then, we present a lagniappe (from the Creole for “a little something extra”) from one of our current projects. The sketches below were found in the margins of a Reconstruction era diary kept by Henrietta Hardin Carter Harrison, the wife of the owner of Tehuacana Retreat Plantation, located near Waco. The diaries date between 1868 and 1877, a time of turmoil, uncertainty and transformational change for the states of the former Confederacy.

Mrs. Harrison’s diaries record daily weather conditions, the comings and goings of local personages and other family-related information. But like most of us when we’re trying to do something productive, her mind must have wandered, leaving her idle hands to sketch these quaint illustrations in the margins of her journals. Called “marginalia,” these seemingly dashed-off additions to the main entries in a journal or diary often reveal glimpses of the diarist’s personality. In this case, Mrs. Harrison showed an aptitude for sketching flowers, butterflies and the phases of the moon. Enjoy!

View the diaries of Henrietta Hardin Carter Harrison in the Texas Collections – Selections section of our Digital Collections.

Visit the Texas Collection online at http://www.baylor.edu/lib/texas for more priceless Texana.

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