March 4th Tuesday This forenoon finished a shirt for O Angier
Have got some old accounts books from the office
for scrap Books Have been looking over some old
papers for receipts &c Sarah came to pass the
afternoon with Jane Dr Deans & wife & Mr &
Mrs Whitwell spent the afternoon & evening in the
other part of the house I was there at tea.
Augustus was here to dine Pleasant but quite windy
Scrapbooks were a popular phenomenon in the 1800’s, as they had been for some time before. Sometimes called friendship albums, scrapbooks were assembled by individuals, usually ladies. The books contained personal items as varied as pressed flowers, favorite illustrations cut out of periodicals, sketches or poetry, or special pieces of correspondence. They were creative keepsakes, the “Pinterest” of the day.
Evelina’s approach to scrapbooking was more pedestrian than imaginative or sentimental. Her scrap books were pasted primarily with “receipts”, or recipes, cut out from newspapers, predecessors to the recipe boxes or similar notebooks that today’s cook might keep handy on a kitchen shelf. These recipes supplemented, if not surpassed, the cookbooks available on the market by women such as Lydia Maria Child, Catherine Beecher, Sarah Josepha Hale, and Mary Peabody Mann. With the articles clipped from periodicals, cookbooks and other household guides, a housewife or homesteader had a variety of options to refer to when it came to preserving and preparing food. Even Old Oliver was known to pay attention to receipts; he hand-copied one for brining beef into his personal journal.
Always thrifty, Evelina used discarded account books or ledgers from the “Counting House” in which to paste her receipts. She also used an empty ledger – the one illustrated in the photograph above, in fact – for her diary. Its pages, meant for the posting of debits, credits or other accounting notations, were filled instead with her daily jottings. Waste not, want not.
After a day of inevitable sewing and the more novel entertainment of working on her scrapbook, plus the company of her nephew Augustus at the dinner table, Evelina went to the other part of the house for tea. There she joined her sister-in-law Sarah Witherell and their friends William and Eliza Whitwell and Samuel and Hannah Deans.
Dr. Deans and his family lived in Furnace Village, an area of Easton south and west of the Ames’s. Dr. Deans, originally from Connecticut, had settled in Easton after studying medicine at the New Haven Medical School. In addition to medicine, he also had “a warm and constant” interest in education, according to William Chaffin. As a physician, Deans occasionally attended members of the Ames family when they took ill.