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COLLECTION Identifier: A/D644

Diary of Ella Frances Thayer Dodge, 1893-1914


Diary of Ella Frances Thayer Dodge, describing automobile and train trips with her husband.


  • 1893-1914

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the diary created by Ella Frances Thayer Dodge is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1 folder
1 objects

The collection includes Ella Frances Thayer Dodge's handwritten diary, with the first few entries describing Dodge's experiences and feelings about teaching school. The subsequent entries describe the trip to Florida and Cuba she and her husband (referred to as "His Highness" or "WBD") took to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Dodge describes the train they took to Florida as part of this journey as "a fine hotel on wheels" and also reports on sights seen in St. Augustine, Miami, and other parts of Florida. She gives detailed descriptions of the various fruits she saw and sampled in Florida and comments on the people "jabbering a foreign tongue" in Cuba. In other entries, she provides detailed descriptions of automobile trips the couple took, with Dodge detailing the condition of roads, scenery, hotels at which they stayed and her opinions of the food provided and of their fellow guests. The diary also includes poetry, presumably by Dodge, and an index appears on one of the last pages. The collection also includes a souvenir fan from St. Augustine, Florida.


Ella Frances Thayer Dodge was born in Blackstone, Massachusetts, on February 12, 1872, the daughter of Francis Nicholas and Nancy Armstrong Paine Thayer. She taught school in the early 1890s, noting in her diary, "I had always planned to do nobler work than to teach a district school but it seems this is the work necessary for me to do. I can see no way of reaching anything higher. Teaching I find some days very pleasant, other days extremely trying." She married Walter Burdon Dodge in 1897. The couple lived in Brookline, Massachusetts. To celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary, in 1908 the couple traveled to Cuba. They also traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, and took automobile trips through New England and the Northeast: on one such trip she reports seeing two young women plowing a field and her husband being so astonished at the sight that he nearly drove their car into a ditch. Ella Frances Thayer Dodge died in 1952.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2005-M114

The diary of Ella Frances Thayer Dodge was acquired by the Schlesinger Library from E. Wharton in 2005.

Processing Information

Processed: September 2005

By: Anne Engelhart

Updated and additional description added: November 2020

By: Susan Earle

The collection was previously cataloged as A/T3688.

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Radcliffe Class of 1955 Manuscript Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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