Yesterday, I came across a box of Anna Morris Shinn Maier’s personal books. They are mostly diaries from her adult life, but included in the box were a guest book, and autograph book, and two sketchbooks, as well as an assortment of “Cookery Cards.” While the sketchbooks are largely blank, they are interesting because the pages Anna did fill hold careful sketches that are simple yet charming.
Most of the drawings are pen and ink images of scenery; mountains, trees, and lakes. I was curious about the forest-like setting of the sketches, which were initialed “A.M.S.,” (Anna before she married Paul D.I. Maier), and dated. I spent a little time investigating the diaries in the box, found the year, 1896, and read several of the August entries. There, Anna wrote about a trip that she took with a number of family members and friends. Thanks to Anna’s detailed diary accounts, I now know that their weather was nice and clear, even “splendid” on the third day. For five days, the party spent their time together or in groups, walking the mountains and boating. Anna recorded that she enjoyed spending a lot of time with “Nancy,” and when the others went fishing, she preferred to sit on the shore and read or draw.
Reading these accounts of what sounds like a delightful trip makes me simultaneously remember summer trips I’ve been on in the past, and muse about the possibility of someone else skimming one of my journals in the future, looking for clues to what my life is like now.
For more information on this (or other) collections, please feel free to come in to Special Collections, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.