SKU: AM00322 Category:


Description: The two delightful journals––twenty-three  handwritten pages in a quarto book and three typed transcribed pages—-of two well-schooled brothers, George (12) and Robert S. Talcott (9), beginning on Feb 21, 1857, reveal their daily routines and creative adventures. (They are the sons of Albany Civil Engineer Sebastion Visscher Talcott and the grandsons of the ordnance expert, Bvt Brigadier General George Talcott.). George’s vignettes portray a curious and industrious young boy. Robert’s entries reveal the creative games the children and friends play. Together they reveal the shared intimacy among siblings and their creative occupations before and after school. George stops writing on April 30, 1857, attempting to continue in March 1858 but uses the book for his French lessons. Robert’s transcribed entries are incomplete. The collection also includes a typed 6-page manuscript of a delightful tale, “The Three Old Kings,” by Robert S. Talcott. In the story, an eccentric old King names his identical triplet sons, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, leading to much confusion and error, amidst which the “Officers-of-the-Household” are expected to choose a ruler.

George’s manuscript entries, a medley of the familiar and the notable, provide a historical sketch at once personal and social. He studies Greek, “postpones his Ceasar” (Latin), practices French and reads natural philosophy, labels his curiosities, pastes numbers on his minerals, runs several errands to pay bills. We learn that his sisters are ill with scarlet fever. He is careful about going out as he fears infecting others. He dotingly buys “Minnie an orange and Dolly a toy” (March 4). At times, he tries to make a camera obscura, notes that a sister is better and that Dr. Kane, the arctic explorer, is dead. He is curious about the river (Hudson) and pays attention to the stationary boats and the people crossing. His big adventure begins (March 20) when he accompanies his father out West to the Gas Works, via Windsor and Detroit to Kalamazoo. Of Windsor, he says “It is about the same size as Albany but has much handsomer buildings.” He notes the distances between Albany and the cities he visits. While his father is at work completing “a contract,” he watches men lay rails, “employ[s] himself in moulding bullets for Mr.France,” goes shooting blackbirds and robins. He is discerning about the wallpaper put up for Mr. France, “They put on too heavy a border. I do not think the room looks any better than before thought it looks cleaner,” (April 20).

Robert’s entries also reveal the children’s made-up games–playing horses, setting-up a barber shop and getting their hair shampooed, dressing up as George Washington, playing state coach, playing marbles with friends, or writing in the journals when it is snowing. On March 4, Robert realizes “it was inauguration day on which Buchanan was to take his place.” His transcribed journal entry for March 12th is incomplete, likely missing some pages.

The handwritten journal is 8 ¾” x 7 ½” with limp dark green covers. The typed transcription is on 11” x 8” ivory paper, and the story is typed on 12 ½” x 8” ivory paper.  Item #AM00321

George Talcott Jr. (1844-1895) was a lieutenant in the U. S. Navy for 20 years. Talcott Shoal is named after him.

Robert S. Talcott (1847-1926) possibly served in the 50th regiment, New York Engineers during the Civil War.

Sebastian Visscher Talcott (1812-1888), their father, was a civil engineer employed by the U.S. Government to survey the boundary between the U.S. and Canada. He was Brig General, NY State Militia, 1863.

Brevet Brigadier General George Talcott (1786-1862), their grandfather, was a career officer in the U.S. Army and the 3rd Chief Ordnance officer of the U.S. Army.

Condition: The bound journal is worn at the extremities. The transcription and story have four-fold marks and small creases in corners. All writing is clear and in good condition.