Vassar College Digital Library

Keffer, Bertha. Diary, Jan-Jun 1871

Content Warning
The Vassar College Archives within the Digital Library include some images, texts, and material items that are racist, xenophobic, or otherwise harmful. The Vassar Libraries have provided descriptive text and additional notes whenever possible to alert Digital Library users to these items. The Engaged Pluralism Initiative Race and Racism in Historical Collections Project Group is working with the library on contextualizing and facilitating community conversations about these materials. For more information see:
Access Control
January-June 1871
Although Bertha Keffer's diary was printed with the date 1854, she wrote in it during the months of January-June 1871. Keffer generally describes her day-to-day life at Vassar, focusing heavily on her time in the College Chapel. She speaks briefly, and sporadically, about her father (John C. Keffer) and his role working for the U.S. government. Most of her entries focus on her friendships with fellow Vassar students May, Etta, and Alice. Keffer also discusses President John H. Raymond and his lectures, as well as discussion of the death of college principal Hannah W. Lyman.

Transcription view:

While on the first image, click on the three stacked horizontal lines (burger) on the top left side of the image viewer to view the text transcription for the entire item. The transcription will not be viewable once you click through the other page images.

Transcript file(s)
Finding aid:
vassar:1918,isbn: Box 121,
1 item
These materials are made available for research and educational purposes. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine the copyright status of materials in the Vassar College Digital Library.
Poughkeepsie (N.Y.),Vassar College. Chapel


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854001
Clayton's Octavo Diary 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854002
Account Book Mannfacturer [sic],
No.65 South Third St.
Printing, ruling & binding neatly executed.



: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854003
Harriet J. Keffer

This diary was kept by Bertha Keffer '76 during her Preparatory and collegiate years at Vassar. It was presented to the College Library in 1942, by her sister, Mary Keffer, and at the request of her namesake, Bertha Keffer, V.C. '11, Mrs. [Raymond U]. … .
The name HARRIET J. KEFFER inscribed at the top was the name of Bertha Keffer, '76's mother


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854013
Friday, January 13th, 1854

David M Caudless
146 North Avenue
Alleghany. PA.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854014
SATURDAY, January 14th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854015
Sunday, January 15th, 1854.

This year bought a little diary never thinking that this was around to the right day of the week again. But last Friday I came across this and resolved to keep this for longer entries than my little one. Thursday Etta and I went to see Miss Morse about one hundred and twelve. B - We want to change our room. Etta - We thought we would like to room together on the fifth floor. M - There is no room vacant there. E & B - Yes, 192 is. M - (slowly) yes - if you want to go there - without any bed - and sleep on the floor you can. To. E. Why do you wish to change your room? E - My room mate is not very agreeable. M. To B. Is anything of that sort the matter with you? B. Oh no my room mate and parlor mates are very nice and


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854016
MONDAY, January 16th, 1854.

I like them ever so much but we thought we would like to room together. M - would you like to go to the first floor for the sake of rooming together. E - (not liking that a bit but not liking to back out now) yes mamm. M - Well I will see what I can do for you. (To B) you may go. M kept E and told her how much good she might do her roommate by staying put and behaving like a christian, told her to try it on ... a month longer. As soon as we had definitely arranged to go to M - I was sorry but could not very well back out then. Guess that now I'll stay [fixed[ and not trouble her anymore. Thursday I received Papa's Rio letter and it made me feel more homesick than I have since I came here. Poor Papa


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854017
TUESDAY, January 17th, 1854

President Raymond gave quite a lecture this evening on loyalty - a word he thought we did not know the meaning of. I guess something disloyal in his sense of the word came up in Faculty meeting yesterday. We always have something new after the big folks talk us over. Ella felt badly last night because I did not speak to her when she called after me on the stairs. In fact I was a littled vexed about the manner in which she spoke of L.L. and was afraid of showing it. I had to go and confront her which I did by saying I thought she was a goose to behave as when she knew I liked her better than anyone here. Though I did not say I could do that and not care awfully much for her. I am not in love to distraction with anyone in Vassar.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854018
WEDNESDAY, January 18th, 1854.

Have had a touch of the blues to day and either I have been cross or every one else has, perhaps both. It was a [hicky] thing I told Ella about the apple roll ring on the floor for now we all have something to say about it even Rob. Heard today of Miss Pa.-n's slapping a girl over the fingers for not playing rightly and now despise her more than ever. Practiced an hour this morning. [L. S-rs] told me she thought (and Miss S-ll said so too at the same time) I was the smartest in the Latin class and then I told her the same and we soft-soaped one another quite awhile on the plan of "you scratch my back and I'll tickle your elbow." Miss [Simleys] head was all right today and we got along splendidly this afternoon. The Pres. told of Roger Sherman slapping his babdy being slapped by his mother and then kissing her hand and leading her to a [scaf.] …


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854019
[Printed] THURSDAY, January 19th, 1854.
Got caught last night. Etta came
to sleep with me and when we
were undressing some one rapped
on the door and I roared come
in, thinking it Lottie but it was
Miss Hamlin who wanted to know if
we were not aware we ought to go
to Miss Lyman for permission to
sleep out and said she was sorry
to disappoint us but Etta must
not stay. Etta said "yes mamm."--
and went. We are not going to study
in May's room anymore between eight
and nine and be good generally.
Miss Lyman requested through the
Pres. this evening that we try being
quiet in the corridors in our talk
till Monday and see how we like
the change.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854020
[Printed] FRIDAY, January 20th, 1854


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854021
[Printed] SATURDAY, January 21st, 1854
Took the old lady out to skate
this afternoon to have some fun
out of her. Feel considerably lame
in consequence. It was a bad
motive to take her out from but
she enjoyed it as much as if
I took her on purpose for her
pleasure and my bad motive
hurt no one but myself. Just this
moment I happened to think may
be it made my darlings feel bad
to see me do such a thing so
I'll try and be better in fu
ture. When I think of them it
makes me want to go right off
but then I don't think I could
bear to leave Papa all alone. I wish
Prof. Backus would officiate in Chap-
el every evening. He quiets and
rests me so, and makes me
want to do better much more
than the President does.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854022
SUNDAY, January 22nd, 1854


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854023
MONDAY, January 23d, 1854.
Had a gay time to-night at
supper over the Professor's baby. Laughed
till we were tired. Thought it a good way
to shake the supper down. Some
thing was the matter with the
three waiters and they had to go
out to laugh. It is curious to
see them when they are feel-
ing funny and Solomon
looks at them. I am glad it
is not against the rule for
preps to laugh.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854024
TUESDAY, January 24th, 1854.
Had a short speech to night a-
bout the day of prayer for colleges.
Can always tell if we are going to
have a speech the night after
faculty meeting by looking to see
if Prof. Backus is in Chapel. He is
always on hand if there is a speech.
Poor May is sick again. It seems
as if something was troubling her
more than any of us guess for
it can't be all physical debility
which cause these nervous attacks
which she tries so hard to conceal
I am anxious too about Alice C's. cough
What if she should go before I see
her! Coming along the hall to-night
and noticing how one by one my
friends dropped into their rooms and
left me to finish the journey a-
lone I wondered if that were typical
of my life, if all my friends would
go home first leaving me behind till
the last one.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854025
WEDNESDAY, January 25th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854027
FRIDAY, January 27th, 1854
Mon[FRIDAY and 54 are crossed out]68
It has been just as
I expected it would. I
have not written a word
in my Diary since Papa
was in jail and am only
writing now by accident
Papa got out of jail all well
and won his case and
did not have to pay a cent
Old Mother Salisbery had to
pay it all herself. I only
wish it had been twice
as much. Received a letter
from Herbert to-day but am
not going to answer it till
the 23 or 30 of March to pay
him off for waiting so long
before he wrote to me. even
if I wait till then it will
not be so long as he wait
ed before answering my
letter. I also got a letter


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854028
SATURDAY, January 28th, 1854.
Last night we had a short
speech from Mrs. Prine, the
woman who is going to Japan
I was sadly disappointed for I
thought she had been there and
was going to tell us what it was
like but instead she was just
going and wanted some one
to go with her. Went out rid
ing this evening. The sleigh had
about ten too many in it and
we were abominably crowded. The
two Misses Lord and Miss Preston
tried to be funny but I don't
think that is their forte exactly
Lottie Rossiter wrote to Sam Walker
to telegraph for Lottie to come home
which he did so she went
at three o'clock today. May
she get well recovered before
she comes back again! L.R
went riding last night.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854029
SUNDAY, January 29th, 1854.
Deacon Smith preached to
day. He said his sermon was
on one verse of the book
of Esther but I think it
was on the whole book
He told us the story of Esther
and then drew three lessons
from it, the first showing
where woman's influence was
the next how great its extent
and the last its power. He
is a better preacher than the Pres.
There were some lovely flowers
in Chapel which afterwards
were given Miss Lyman be-
cause it was her birthday
I wish it had been mine


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854030
MONDAY, January 30th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854031
TUESDAY, January 31st, 1854.



: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854032
WEDNESDAY, February 1st, 1854
Tomorrow is a great day to a
great many girls. Would it were
to me! But I have everything put
off till the last as an example
I suppose of my everlasting sin
of procrastination--the buster of
success.--Five years ago seems a
short time comparatively yet how
many and how great changes have
taken place since five years ago
to-night when Papa Auntie Glenn and
I sat all night by my darling
Mother All the time since then
seems like a dream only there
has been more trouble in this
time than people usually have in
dreams. And from all poor naughty
I have been chosen to be benefitted
Surely there is some use for me
for which I am being thus prepar
ed.. May I find it out before an-
other long five years wears away.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854033
THURSDAY, February 2nd, 1854.
to write to, it did not seem
at all pleasant. Whenever I suc
ceed in anything I want to have
some one who cares for me to
go to and tell and who will
make me feel glad over it.
I never feel so homesick as when
I get bad news from home and
next to that time is when I have
good news and want to tell it
to the home folks. Had a little
scrawl from Harry to day. Hope
for a long write from Papa to
morrow. I wish it were the
June examination instead of
February. I wish the Faculty
had to be examined before
a lot of people twice a year
when we are. They would soon
do away with all such
botherations if they came
home to themselves.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854034
FRIDAY, February 3d, 1854.
Thus endeth the two days of tor-
ture. I agree with Mr. Jewett in say
ing "Pity the sorrows of a poor young
woman." Yesterday was a blue day
in my calendar and to-day I
have had the meanest of colds in
my head. Miss Lyman's corridor
is covered all over with matting
and her sister is here so I sup
pose she is worse. Poor old Lady!
Prof. Backus was the leader in Chap
el to night Before supper if I had
not been afraid of making my
eyes red I would have had a good
cry I felt so tired and homesick
but since listening to Prof. B. and
getting May's invite I feel better
How people with only themselves to
please and tend to get along I dont[sic]
see for even because I had no one
here to sympathize with me in my
success, though there are good ...


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854035
SATURDAY, February 4th, 1854
Have been feeling something
like crossness because no let
ter came from home to-day only
a mean little scrawl from Harry.
I should not say that for I was
glad to get it if only for a proof
that when he had a spare min-
ute he did not forget me.
Asked Miss Morse if I could
go to church with Miss Brown
and she was good as pie as
she generally is to me.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854036
SUNDAY, February 5th, 1854.
Heard a good New Church
sermon but it was not
by Mr. Giles but by Mr. Keyes
I found that I had been
mistaken in thinking that
it was he I heard in Septem
ber. Prof. Farrar is the kindest
man around this institution
On the way to church he
stopped his sleigh and took
in the Misses Hogg and
Miss Fulick and I heard af-
terwards that he regretted
very much he had not
thought to get on top with
the driver and take Miss
Brown and me in too.
Next year I mean to be
in his Bible class if
it is a possible thing.
I'll see what my friends
can do for me by writing.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854037
MONDAY, February 6th, 1854.
Could not have been suit
ed better in regard to my
recitations. Have Latin of
Miss Smiley the first and
fifth periods; French of Miss
Kapp the second, Rhetoric
of Miss Clark the third.
I feel sure of learning more
French with Miss Kapp
than with Miss Simmonds
We had no lessons to recite
to day and consequently
I spent the day principally
in fooling, though I did
make a cover for my trunk
and sew a little on my
blue shirt. I wish I could
learn to improve the ex
tra time we have thrown
in so as it should be
improved! May be I can
if I try.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854038
TUESDAY, February 7th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854039
WEDNESDAY, February 8th, 1854.
We had Prof. Backus in
Chapel this evening. He read
the thirteenth chapter of Cor
inthians which is all a
bout Charity and made a
prayer at the end which
[long dash]


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854040
THURSDAY, February 9th, 1854.
Was stopped somewhat sud-
denly last night by the close
of Silent time and forget
now what I was going to
say but I think Prof. B. is a
good deal of a New Churchman
Am tired enough to go to bed
but instead must go at old
Caesar. We had a new fandan
go in gym this afternoon
was rather strainsome. Etta
returned this afternoon. Was
sick the reason she did
not come before. Alice
was in bed all day yesterday
with head ache. Better have
that than heart ache. May
wrote to Pres. R. to be put
in Miss Kapps French so
that she might learn a
little more this term
than last.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854041
FRIDAY, February 10th, 1854
Lecture by the Bishop was
good except in one partic-
ular and that was, (according to
my idea,) that he made his
sentences entirely too long so
that one had to pay the closest
attention in order to keep
the thread of his discourse. And
as it is tiresome to have to
listen so closely he had better
shorten his sentences.
Saw in the paper yesterday
that a diary to be of any use
ought to be truthful and
that one ought never to leave
it unwritten for several
days and then fill them all
in at once without noting
the fact, therefore I acknowl
edge this to be written on
Saturday instead of Friday.
Now my conscience is clear


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854042
SATURDAY, February 11th, 1854
Principal events of to-day
were the meetings of the
Students Association. It a
bolished the Transcript be-
cause the Faculty would not
let them publish it quarterly
instead of yearly and in-
tended to send a notice to their
Exchanges of the fact in a printed
circular and it resolved that
each student should send
a notice to her corridor teach
er of what she particularly a-
bominated in our fare. At
noon another meeting was called
and they decided to send a
written note instead of a
circular to their exchanges
and voted against that
way of altering our eatables
and decided on masterly
inaction for the present


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854043
SUNDAY, February 12th, 1854.
Had a splendid sermon from
Bishop Huntington. in the
evening Mrs Bixby told us
about the Birmese [sic]. They say
that when they die "they die
and go to smoke." Their god
is called godimis. The wo-
men's highest idea of happi-
ness after death is to become
a man. The men's is to go on
higher till they get to have
no sensation at all of any
kind. They believe in the
transmigration of souls and
fear if they lead bad lives they
may become some animal.
Fried silkworms is their fa
vorite dish. The women wear
earrings as large round as [drawn circle]
Some are hollow so as to con-
tain their jewels. They got
their religion from the Hindoos


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854044
MONDAY, February 13th, 1854.
coming out of the chapel
we went allright but when
we got outside we stopped.
Have not found out yet
who my mice came from
not can I imagine who is
so terribly smashed on me.
Reported that Mr Lyman is
smashed on Miss Sewall, [Latin
phrase]. Gave her a flower
today from Dr. A's. bouquet
and she smiled sweetly. I
wonder if they guess how
much we watch what
goes on at the Faculty
table. I notice that poor
Dr Blackford is having a hard
time again in Greensboro
May he live to get through
it all correct is the sin-
cere wish of ...


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854045
TUESDAY, February 14th, 1854.
Five years ago, the present
time, I was rather a seasick
girl. I believe it was just a
little after I had left the sup-
per table so abruptly. How
well I can remember all about
those times although I did
not keep a diary. We had
a speech to night about our
"general movements," to the
dining room, out of it and
out of chapel. The Pres. told
a story of the horses for the
New York ferry boats when he
was a boy--how they went
right fast as long as they
were within reach of the
man's whip but went
slowly as soon as they got
out--and said we were
like those horses, as long as
we were in his sight


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854046
WEDNESDAY, February 15th, 1854.
Have nothing particular
to say here so guess I'll not
try to make up anything
but will read "Messenger".
Have made up my mind
to write to the boys for the
promise I want on Johns
birthday. May Our Father
inspire my pen in that
letter! If they could only
see what I have I know
they would promise me


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854047
THURSDAY, February 16th, 1854.
Horrid ugly blue day.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854048
FRIDAY, February 17th, 1854.
Decided not to write the letter
I meant to John and Harry and wait
till I see them as until then
they will be exposed to no temp
tation. Meditated all Silent Time
on what I would probably have
to do after leaving school and
came to the conclusion that I
must have some definite aim
in view and fit myself for
it and not keep going on
in this blind aimless way.
Made up my mind that
it was not a sufficient to aim
merely to obey the Golden Rule and
try to be an accomplished, well
educated woman to please my
Father and friends but that I
must have something definite
in view.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854049
SATURDAY, February 18th, 1954.
Etta, Alice and I went
all over and saw all the
girls about Mays birthday.
All seemed pleased with the
idea. Guess we will have a
fine time. Myra saw Pussy.
It has rained so that we
could not have our sleigh
ride and I, for one, am
glad of it for I knew all
the time it was too much
of an extravagance for me.
The others are sorry and
will try it again but I
guess I'll have courage and
sense enough to keep out
of it next time. They came
at me so suddenly last time
that I hardly knew what I
was about. I am afraid
that when folks come at
me so they could make
me do almost anything.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854050
SUNDAY, February 19th, 1854.
Feel pretty miserable all
day today. Mean in a
little while to get undress-
ed and lie in bed and
read till I go to sleep. I
suppose Miss Hamlin thinks
I am dreadful wicked
to stay away from pray-
er meeting but I get
enough false theology
during the daytime.
[flourish with pen]
it for a real love of them
and not because she had
to, etc. etc. but he could not
force her love. She will
keep her promise. That is
why she did not want
to make one.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854051
MONDAY, February 20th, 1854.
Took a lone walk to-day a
round the lake. Going the
mud was almost ankle
deep; coming the snow was
knee deep. But it was
fun except when I most
fell down. The men have
a big place cleared out at
the end of the lake, I guess
it will be gay rowing next
year. Jen was sent for by
Miss M. again who said she
would waive the telling of the
rooms she was in study hour
but she must promise to
keep the rules. V. B. would not
promise. The President sent for
her a little after and said if
she did not promise she should
be expelled. So the poor child had
to do it And then he said how
he wished she would do


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854052
TUESDAY, February 21st, 1854.
Miss Lyman died to-day at
four o'clock. She peacefully slept
away. I first heard of it at the
gymnasium. It was curious
to see how the girls received the
news; some looked as jolly as
they heard it as they had a
moment before, some looked
grave, and a very few cried.
At supper the room was as
still as chapel almost; no
one spoke above a whisper and
the creaking of the waiters
shoes was plainly heard. The
President made some very fitting
remarks in Chapel. He said we
must not feel sad. Miss Lyman wish
ed us to rejoice that she was gone.
Her prayer for days had been, not
that she might stay but that she
might be made willing to stay. Dr.
Avery seems to feel worse than any
one else.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854053
WEDNESDAY, February 22nd, 1854.
We had funeral services to-day
in the Chapel. There were a great
many strangers here from town
All the gallery was filled and
down stairs packed. Nearly all
the girls had on black entirely
and it made it look very mel
ancholy. (How funny that looks)
There was a meeting of the S. A.
in the morning at which it was
determined to send to town for
flowers. The Fresh. a wreath the Soph.
a cross, the Jun. an anchor, the
Sen, a crown, the Spec. and Preps
cut flowers. The anchor and crown
which could not be got in Po'keepsie
are to be obtained in Montreal. At
another meeting it was decided
that we all wear crape [sic] for thirty
days. after the services there
was a procession of twenty three
carriages of teachers who went to the
train and visitors.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854054
THURSDAY, February 23d, 1854.
Day of Prayer for Colleges. Had
Chapel services at 11:15, prayer meet
ing in the afternoon and eve-
ning. I went only to the first
Heard a good sermon by Rev. ...
Hall of New York, a Presbyterian. He
is an Irishman and has on-
ly been in this country three
years. Preached entirely without
notes. Began a frame for
May which was spoiled
in the making. About
every evening I think
of going to Dr. Avery and
saying I want some med
icine but before her office
hour the next day feel so
much better I put it
off hoping to get well
of myself. I have a great
admiration for Dr. A. and
if I had anything serious
troubling me would go to her.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854055
FRIDAY, February 24th, 1854.
Mira went to Pussy to-day.
Pussy said she-a-thought
that-a-fruit cake was-a-
not necessary, nor-a-candy
or-a-raisins, a...chickens-a
could we strike some of those
off. As we could not help
ourselves we struck of [sic] the
cake and raisins and
candy. She is afraid we
will spend too much money
and-a-Vassar College has
a name-a-to be sustained and
-a-she wishes we would try
and not feell [sic] her objections as
restrictions at all but try and
feel cheerful over it. It is queer
how she can imagine in what
other way we could take them.
It is a pity Vassar is in such need
of a character for solidity that we
can't have a spree once a year.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854056
SATURDAY, February 25th, 1854.
The lecture yesterday evening
was glorious and I too al
most forgot the speakers hair.
in admiring his talk. Sir
Philip was very good accord-
ing to Mr Curtis representations
When May was got up stairs un
der pretence [sic] of seeing a fine
view in 112, just as soon as
she was fairly in Mira toast
ed her and they all drank
her many happy returns. Poor
girl she was overwhelmed and
I thought she would fall to
the floor but luckily there was
a chair near by for her to hold
fast to till she recovered. On the
whole it was a success and
all seemed to enjoy themselves
I think the absence of chairs
helped off the stiffness. When
I have a party it would be
well to tote off all the chairs


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854057
SUNDAY, February 26th, 1854.
Last night after I got to bed
I suddenly thought of the bas
ket of remains and hopped
out and set it on top of the
two pitchers, the basins being
filled with water, so as to
keep the mice off. Had
lots to write home about
to-day. I wish every week
would have as many e-
vents. I hear them all go-
ing to prayer meeting but
ain't going. The great sub-
ject of conversation is Miss
Slocum who has been put
back from the Senior Class.
I pity her but am not yet
sure whether herself or the
Faculty is most to blame.
Whichever it is she will
have a hard time for the
rest of this term. Lottie
is in Poughkeepsie visiting


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854058
MONDAY, February 27th, 1854.
Miss Smiley slid neatly
over the 21st chapter that
we were dreading so when
Prof. H. came in by telling us
to turn directly to the advance
in the 22nd Was a good
girl today, copied up my
French and practised besides
Elocution. Today we had a
whispering exercise beside
the breathing and sounds of
A. Little H... made Little
Hinkle laugh in Latin by
saying one of her happy
thoughts. I distinguished
myself in a very uncom-
fortable manner in the
class, but did better than
my associates. It was an
abominably hard lesson any


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854059
TUESDAY, February 28th, 1854.
For the last of Feb. I have
nothing to say besides my
little book record except that
I have begun to read Philip
the Second. I think of begin
ning a tidy for Mamma and
making her some of the deep
tattaing [?] that Abbie White made
a pattern of.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854060
WEDNESDAY,March 1st, 1854.
The report of Miss Lovell of
what the Faculty think of Foun-
ders day programme was made
in S. A. this eve. They propose that
we go to Sunnyside and spend
the day. After some talk the
Stu. did not agree to go. Then
Miss Jewett proposed that we
have the ordinary collation.
Miss Fulsom opposed the plan.
After a good deal of discussion
and two votes had been taken
Miss Jewett lost by fourteen.
A pretty close vote for so many.
The subject of college colors was
settled and we are to send
for the number of yards we
want (of ribbon) before Satur-
day. There was more discus-
sion the meeting than in any
before. Some said, in effect, that
the only objection to the collation was
Miss L. and now she was dead there
could be none.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854061
THURSDAY, March 2nd, 1854.
"As the communicants meeting
is on Saturday evening the us-
ual prayer meeting this evening
will be omitted" was this
evenings notice. Rather a sing
ular reason for putting off a
prayer meeting. I wonder if
only communicants go to it!
Heard from Clara Critken to-
day, and was told for the third
or fourth time of -- I won't
write such an illnatured sound-
ing thing even in my di-
ary. I wonder if I should
ever rise to be a celebrated
crackter [sic] if my diary will
be published with my
life and letters. It would
be so exceedingly interesting
to the public. I am really
afraid to put down my thoughts
for fear they will be published
N.B. That sentence is like "Credo"
in "Rick"


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854062
FRIDAY, March 3d [sic], 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854063
SATURDAY, March 4th, 1854.
Miss Monks and Miss Nich
ols were the essayists of the
evening. The latter's essay
was a plea for Charles Dick
ens and was first rate.
She is a smart girl and
thinks correctly of Charles
--according to my idea.
May is coming to sleep
with me tonight. Miss Ham
lin had been in Po'keepsie since
yesterday noon. Exchanged
the old cracked plate Com
edy gave me, for Smith,
for a decent looking one
that he will probably ac
cept even if it is not
the identical one he sent
up here. The girls in Vas-
sar are the poorest set I ever
came across for change or
big bills either I guess from
the way they spoke when I tried
to change that today


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854064
SUNDAY, March 5th, 1854.
All I remember of the
sermon was the anec-
dote about the boy eating
honey and when his
father asked him how
sweet it was he said
taste it and see for your-
self. Rather impudent.
Feel quite satisfied with
myself to-day in point
of writing and what I
will read this evening
Yesterday's snow all melt-
ed and now everything
is nice again. Sent
on my bill to-day. It
was a disagreeable thing
to do, but such things
have to be done and the
best way is to grin and
bear it. Screwed my courage
up to asking the boys for
the promise I want to-day.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854065
MONDAY, March 6th, 1854.
[two lines in French]


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854066
TUESDAY, March 7th, 1854.
Miss Smiley was sick so
we had no Latin to day
Prof. Hinkle told us of it the
first time; the second,
after waiting five minutes
we cut--in all directions
for fear we would meet
the Prof who might send
us back. Even the Seniors
stopped and stared to see
the Preps cut. Misses Monks
and Folsom have killed
a cat and they are going
to stuff it. Nice wok [sic]!
Am going to begin on
my other tatting chemise
after Silent time and
Latin. Have got about
third way through Philip
the Second, vol.I Found
a trowel on my wan-
derings to day which I'll
keep for future gardenings


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854067
WEDNESDAY, March 8th, 1854.
There is to be a concert by
the Cecilia society this even
ing. Would I were a member.
Found my music book in
No.13 where I looked lots of
times. Miss Preston was so
good when I asked her about
it that I almost begin to
like her. President said we
would have no new Lady P.
till next year etc. etc. but
the same arrangement as
at present would continue ...
Did not take off our blankets
this morning as ordered.
Studied Rhetoric with Mame
Kiersted. Was picked up on
"Augustine" in class this
morning. I will be mad
to morrow if I find out
that my way was wrong.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854068
THURSDAY, March 9th, 1854.
chairs put the books
from the stand. under
the table poured all
the water out of their
pitchers and put out
the gas in all the rooms


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854069
FRIDAY, March 10th, 1854.
Lecture by Robinson Pres. of
some college and author
of our Algebra--on the
real movers of the world.
First rate good for him
I think. About half the
girls think it was splen
did and the other half
that it was abominable
I don't like lectures on
Friday evening for we
have to study so hard
Saturday in consequence
This has been one of
the least eventful weeks
since I came to Vas
sar nothing done, nothing
to say about.
Went with Etta before the
lecture and unmade
the two beds in Alice's
parlor upset all the


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854070
SATURDAY, March 11th, 1854.
Miss Brown was too
tired to go and call on
that young lady avec moi
for which I am truly
thankful. Went with
Etta to see Prof. Hinkle
He did not see me com
ing after the other two &
shut the door in my face
but excused himself im
mediately. I think he is
gay. Made a little tatting
and did nothing--an-
other Saturday wasted.
Paid Mr. Schon to day
He was in a much
better humor than us-
ual. Gay old gentleman
Heaps of gay old gentle
men around here it
pears like.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854071
SUNDAY, March 12th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854072
MONDAY, March 13th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854073
TUESDAY, March 14th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854074
WEDNESDAY, March 15th, 1854.
Last night May and Grace
were scared because they
thought some one was at
their window and they scream
ed. Which brought in Misses
Preston, Swayze and Hamlin.
The [sic] got quieted down soon
and went to rest again
It was kept pretty quiet all
day but at night Eva R.
came up and heard the
news and said she was
going to frighten the girls
and sure enough she did.
About two hours after a
deputy came up from the
1st South to know if they
should barricade their win-
dows to keep people out.
and Lottie and Jen yelled
out as soon as I got home
to know all the story about
Miss Pennell


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854075
THURSDAY, March 16th, 1854.
May's man is growing.
To-day the story is that he
got in the window and
had a heap of jewelry out
and was just going off
with the watches and
when they screamed he
ran. He went through sev-
eral stages before he got
to this. Miss Hamlin
says he was all made by
the watchman shutting
down the windows when
it began to rain. Anyhow
it was nice for a little
excitement. Jen slept
with Lottie Last night and
left me to guard the ...
side of the house ... ...
Miss Morse sent for ...
and told her she ... ...
down stairs on account of
[line too light to read]


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854076
FRIDAY, March 17th, 1854.
Yesterday my home letters
came so I received ...
to-day. My boys promised
what I asked without a
... for which I was
gladder than I have been
...anything for a long
long time. St. Pat's
day and we had tea at
... ... gyms were
to come in the evening
but we were excused
from them so I did
not have to walk. Wrote
to Mr. McCandless which is
one of the hardest things
I have to do and I am
thankful it is done
Have withstood Etta's
teasing so far and guess
I can stand it till the
... Wrote to Mamma & sent
it yesterday.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854077
SATURDAY, March 18th, 1854.
Spent all the morning
studying Rhetoric. It is
a shame to always give us
harder lessons for Monday
than any other day. Prac
tised in the afternoon and
did one or two other
things and Saturday was
gone. Nothing happened
more than usual and
I am glad vacation is
coming when there will
be a chance to rest.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854078
SUNDAY, March 19th, 1854.
... ... classes excused
... ... was sick. May
and Etta and I walked
... B. c. time up and
... the observatory
path. It was a most
delightful day. That
at way off looks as
if I were studying Latin
Wrote to Christine that
I had fully made up
my changeable mind
to stay here during the
Easter time. I expect
to have a gay time reading
then if ... don't worry
the life out of me before
then. May is helping her
so it is much as possi


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854079
MONDAY, March 20th, 1854.
Made up my mind to
go to Brooklyn. Had a long
letter from Papa and he
sent me Parson's Essays,
Hohnes Mechanism of thought
and Scripture paradoxes and
gave his explanation
of what I wanted to know
Gave in my ticket at cor
ridor meeting. Don't want
to go very much but
guess I will to please
my parents


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854080
TUESDAY, March 21st, 1854.
Letters to-day which frus-
trated my plans of yes-
terday. Miss Spelman
writes that she has to
go away from home to
nurse her sister so that
I cannot go there. Can't
say I am very sorry but
... will be. Letter from
Julia wanting to know
when I will be in B.
so that she can come
and see me. Am not
going to tell the girls of
the change in my
ideas for I don't want
to die before my time
by worrying. Told Miss
Hamlin to keep it quiet
and so she will.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854081
WEDNESDAY, March 22nd, 1854.
Small explanation this
evening on examina
tions. The three weeks
review determines whether
we pass in our studies
and the two days are
for the benefit of the
examinating committee.
President Raymond made
several little jokes, about
our changing our names
and having pet names
go down to posterity. He
wants good names and
respectable if not beau-
tiful go into the Vassar
Catalogue. Thankful I
have not one of that


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854082
THURSDAY, March 23d, 1854.
Letter from John con-
taining a riddle. Why
is a man eating soup
with a fork like one try
ing to kiss his sweetheart.
Heard of the revolution in
Paris, mean to read up
Sunday. President
said in Chapel that they
had written to Mr Gough
and if he came he would
be here about eleven to
morrow. May he come.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854083
FRIDAY, March 24th, 1854.
Went to Delta and saw
Much ado about nothing.
It was first rate. How
the girls get up their
costumes I can't see.
They are almost as good
as if they were regular
actors and had everything
instead of having to bor-
row a little here and a
little there. Society Hall
was about as full as it
could be, teachers in abundance.
Letter from Papa enclosing
a notice of Dr. Harper and
some seeds which I hope
had nothing to do with
Mr. Buckley. Did not think
they would take at my
word so quickly. Mr
Gough did not come though
we watched all 4th Period.
One girl said a watched
pot never boils. ...


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854084
SATURDAY, March 25th, 1854.
Read In Trust all the
afternoon and am
sorry I wasted my
time so. It would not
be so bad if there were
not so many simple
remarks in it, especial-
ly about the broad high
forehead, expressive mouth,
and roman nose of the
three weeks old baby.
Miss Douglass appears to
think the first duty
of a married woman
is to have a baby to
go down to posterity-at
any rate every one
had one in less than
a year from when
they were married.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854085
SUNDAY, March 26th, 1854.
Wrote to John, Miss Spelman
Matha, Clara, Julia, Papa
In the afternoon and
evening Dora read Dream
Life by Donald G. Mitchell
It is good and leaves one
something to think of be-
sides babies I seem to
go by starts, usually I
read nothing and now
I have read two books
in two days. Called on
Miss Brown and she
told me some queer
stories about Alice
Clark and others
I wonder how much
she knows about the
Carters. I hope not
so much as I do for
their sakes.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854086
MONDAY, March 27th, 1854.
Nobody ever had more dif-
ferent plans. This morn-
ing I was as fixed in
my resolve to stay here
through the vacation as
possible--to night my trunk
is packed for going to
Philadelphia. All because Pa-
pa said I might run over
there for a day or two from
Brooklyn. I thought if I
could go at all I might
as well go for the whole
time as I cannot go to
Brooklyn. But I must take
back my invitations to
Clara an [sic] Julia. I will
go and see [squiggle] on my
way back here Monday
if nothing happens


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854087
TUESDAY, March 28th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854088
WEDNESDAY, March 29th, 1854.
Meeting of the Students Asso
ciation lasting till after
eight. The President was
caught on the way out of
Chapel and reminded of
his promise to explain the
reasons why the Faculty would
not let the S. A. Support Mary
Kneisel any more. He ex
plained very satisfactorily
to me, and then said he
would answer any questions
they wished to ask on the
subject and the [sic] asked and
he answered, in the mean-
while giving quite an ani-
mated speech on the want
of Trust the S. A. had in the
Faculty. After he left they
discussed Founders Day again
- decided to ask H. [initial] Beecher
before finally deciding on
Prof. Raymonds reading


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854089
THURSDAY, March 30th, 1854.
Our trunks were toted off
this afternoon to my de-
light. Had a letter from
Papa enclosing check for
fifty dollars. And the
news that he had resign-
ed as C. I. R. but he did
not say what he was
going to do. May he
have some business that
will bring him North.
A glorious concert this
evening by four Phil-
harmonics under Prof.
Ritter. Miss Lloyd and
Miss Mussel played. The
Misses Lord sat right in
front in the gallery with
white kids on and an
opera glass and looked
childlike and bland
and mighty simple.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854090
FRIDAY, March 31st, 1854.
Arrived in Phil. 8-15.P.M.
Went down to Po'keepsie
in a carriage with
May, Etta, Alice, Abbie
and Kiersted. The first
three went on the 12-20
train and we others
wandered around town
till the 1-15. Over 130 of
us went down. Was Piloted
to the ferry by Lott. W. and
then I was leader and
piloted the Tituses and
Shultis across the
Ferry and to the cars
myself. Talked to Mr. Hon
ell most of the way to
Phil. A Gay Old Gentleman.
Kate asked me to join
their party. Miss Hamlin
came to talk to me in the
cars but I was cool and
calm. She don't like me


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854091
SATURDAY, April 1st, 1854.
April Fool's Day. The
clock face was covered
with paper and we
all looked at it and
were fooled. It rained
all day long. Began my
green tidy and made a
little tatting. Played Rounces
all the evening till
after ten before one game
was finished Poor Uncle
John Aitken seems pretty
feeble. Wrote to Julia and
Clara Raynor telling
them not to come to
Vassar during the va-
cation to see me.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854092
SUNDAY, April 2nd, 1854.
Went to Sunday School
and Church. There were
not many people in
either place and I
should not wonder if
the society was broken
up soon. It is a pity
people are poor and
fight so. Mary, Fannie
and Sue. Aitken came
over in the afternoon
and Ben brought Mary
and Lizzie Snyder to see
me. Wrote to Harry and
home. We sat in the
parlor without the gas
lit all the evening and
talked books and authors
The boys had to take the
girls home. Glad I aint
boys to have to go home
with girls whether or
no I want to.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854093
MONDAY, April 3rd, 1854.
Spent the evening at Fan-
ny Aitkens. Dont think she
is the most ladylike girl
I ever saw. If I was a
boy I would not like to
have cold potatoes thrown
at me in my face and
on my good coat. If I
were to sling one my pere
would give me a short
address on the evils of
my ways. It rained all
the evening and we were
caught in it in the after
noon. Rode up in a car
without paying any
fare. Ella under took it
but in the crowd could
not find the conductor.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854094
TUESDAY, April 4th, 1854.
Was a little extravagant
but I could not help it
because it was for Sallie
for her birthday. Poor Un-
cle John is worse. I don't
think the children realize
how sick he is, or else
I think he is worse
than he is. It seems as
though he might go off
in any of the smoth
ering spells he has. Ben
is most to be pitied for
he seems to think so
much of his father.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854095
WEDNESDAY, April 5th, 1854.
Had a real good time at
Lizzie Snyder's last night
and danced the ... a-
gain Awkward looking
body I guess I am in
them as it is the second
time since nine years.
Hope I have spent my
last cent for I have
not much more than
enough to get back on
Have only been extrava
gant in two things this
time which is pretty
good for me. We went
over to Mr. Smith's store
and got weighed. I
weighed 142 1/2 pounds
Am coming down a
little or else had on
thinner clothing


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854096
THURSDAY, April 6th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854097
FRIDAY, April 7th, 1854.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854098
SATURDAY, April 8th, 1854.
Fussed over my dress all
the morning and in
the afternoon we went
to the matinee; it was
decidedly a mixed up
play that we saw and
there was considerable
dancing. The last scene
was very beautiful, but
on the whole it was dif
ferent from what we ex
pected and I did not
admire it much but
I was glad I went for
it was something new.
Our escort told us to tell
anyone who might ask
us about it that "it was
very deep." Spent half
an hour after I came
back bathing Mary's head.
She seemed entirely worn


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854099
SUNDAY, April 9th, 1854.
Saw Mr & Mrs Ballon
in church. He sent her
up to the altar to see
what those young girls
were doing with the
flowers and then she
recognized me. On my
way down stairs to wash
some ivy he stopped me &
asked me lots of things with
out knowing me. In the
evening lost a lock of my
hair and read spots of
Innocents Abroad, selected
by Ben. Saw Dr. Harper
go by in the afternoon
but had no chance to
call to him. Wish I
had for I wanted to
talk to him so much.
Sat up with Ella and
the boys till everyone
had gone to bed.


: VCLDiariesKefferBertha1854100
MONDAY, April 10th, 1854.
Left Phil. on the 3-10
train. Made a very
quick trip to Newark
When I got there they
put me down at the
wrong place and I
had a gay time find
ing where the girls
live Guess I'll not
be such a fool next
time. Took a walk
in the evening and
got some ice cream
and after we went
to bed talked till very
late. They scolded me
for not coming on Sat-
day. Saw Mrs Guyger in
the evening and Mr