When I bought my house, the previous owner informed me that there were journals in the attic from the early days of the home. I was delighted at the time, and imagined myself immediately pouring through them.
Well, of course, life took over, and so I’m a bit horrified to admit that it took this history major until now to look through these prized records. Worse, it wasn’t even me who initiated the review. Sneaking up to the attic one day, my brave children discovered the leather bound, gold trimmed “magic books” and started “casting spells.” Unfortunately, they neglected a cleanliness charm, and the historic grim on their hands and faces gave them away. So it was that I decided it was time to rescue the fragile books from my imaginative, but not too gentle, progeny.
And what a find! The journals, dating from 1903 to 1949, are the daily records of Fred T. Dolbeare, who was probably the son-in-law of the original owner, William Bosworth. (I will have to do more research on both.) As you can see from the closeups, the records are quite detailed, providing a wonderfully personal perspective on history. Apparently, just like me, the Dolbeares had some connection with Cape Cod, for Mr. Dolbeare mentions the opening of the Cape Cod Canal on the same day that World War I started. (Of course, being a Downton Abbey fan, I went right to that date.) In reading this entry, which records his daily routine alongside major world events, it is possible to put yourself in the mind of the average citizen. For example, it is interesting to note that, on this day at least, Mr. Dolbeare seems most concerned with the effect of the war on his stocks. Perhaps a natural response for one so far away, who could not yet know the devastating course of history.
I look forward to delving in Mr. Dolbeare’s reactions to events as they progress and will keep you apprised.
“Tuesday, July 28, 1914
Arrived Boston at 5am and immediately proceded home for breakfast. Raining and cloudy all day.
Lester to Sandwich to be present at 275th anniversary of town and opening of the Cape Cod Canal.
War declared by Austria against Serbia. Situation bad throughout Europe.
Stock markets all over the world had a bad slump. CPR dropped 15 pts. Other R.R.s down 3 to 5 pts.”