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Updated 5:00 PM March 16, 2007




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Photo: One woman's history: Everyday life recorded,
illustrated in journal

The journal of Helen Ledyard of Cazenovia, N.Y.—available in the Clements Library—offers a glimpse of life in the late 19th century. Not only did Ledyard chronicle her life and that of her family and friends with commentary, she filled each page with illustrations. Her journal alone contains more than 70 drawings from December 1887-88 (her 18th year). Done primarily in ink, the volume illustrates ice skating, tobogganing and walking in the snow. When weather kept Ledyard and her siblings and friends indoors, she tells of sewing pincushions and playing charades. From going to church, cleaning house and participating in and watching various holiday "tableaus," Ledyard's journal gives a clear picture in commentary and illustration of daily life. An 85-page drawing book in the collection is illustrated in bright watercolors with some in ink, pencil and colored pencil. There are paintings of Ledyard, her family, friends and surroundings that include such activities as making ice cream, picnicking, riding horses, camping, hiking, swimming and playing games like backgammon and tiddly-winks. Other illustrations with humorous text give life to dinner parties, teas, "the Barclays' Ball," and sewing costumes for and performing in Gilbert and Sullivan's "Mikado." (Photo courtesy Clements Library)

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