Five College Archives and Manuscript
UMass Amherst seal
David W. Hill Diaries, 1864-1885
2 boxes (0.5 linear feet)
Collection number: MS 496

A native of Swanzey, N.H., David W. Hill became a brass finisher in the years following his military service during the Civil War, working as a machinist for several concerns in Cambridgeport, Mass., New York City, NY, Newport, R.I., and Haydenville, Mass., through the mid-1880s.

The 13 pocket diaries in the Hill collection contain regular entries describing the weather, Hill's work as a brass finisher, his travels, the state of his health, and miscellaneous mundane observations on his daily life.

Terms of Access and Use:

The collection is open for research.

Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Biographical Note

Born in Swanzey, N.H., on April 4, 1838, David W. Hill worked as a farmer until 1859, when he signed on to become a brass finisher with the J.J. Walworth Manufacturing Co., of Cambridge, Mass. After marrying Harriet Lane in 1862, and having son the following year, Hill enlisted as a corporal in Co. I, 16th New Hampshire Infantry, in September 1862, serving with his regiment in the Department of the Gulf for the duration of its nine month term.

Following his military service, Hill returned to work as a brass finisher and machinist for a succession of concerns in Cambridge, New York City, Newport, R.I., and Haydenville, Mass., into at least the mid-1880s.

Scope and contents of the collection

The Hill collection consists of thirteen diaries documenting the life and mundane events of a brass finisher's life during the post-Civil War years. Bound in leather and consisting of approximately 180 pages each, with three dates per page, the diaries contain a calendar, entries for each day of the year, and a few pages at the end for keeping track of Hill's personal accounts. Hill records daily descriptions of his work, the weather, and any visits or out of the ordinary activities of the day. Hill does not miss a single day, though there is little change in his life from day to day besides the weather and the items he made while working. Hill also makes mention of when he is sick, which is often, because he frequently states that he has been visited by the doctor, or he has the chills and stayed in the house all day.

Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

The collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

Cite as: David W. Hill Diaries (MS 496). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

History of the Collection

Acquired from Peter Masi, March 2005 (2005-073).

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Goldstein, Nov. 2011.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Special Collections and University Archives
W.E.B. Du Bois Library
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9275

Phone: (413) 545-2780
Fax: (413) 577-1399
Link to SCUA

Search Terms
The following terms represent persons, organizations, and topics documented in this collection. Use these headings to search for additional materials on this web site, in the Five College Library Catalog, or in other library catalogs and databases.

  • Brass industry and trade--Massachusetts.
  • Cambridge (Mass.).
  • Haydenville (Mass.).

  • Hill, David W.

Genre terms
  • Diaries.

Questions about this collection? Contact the archives
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