Northern Virginia farmer's diary C0313
Published by George Mason University Libraries
Northern Virginia saw major military action during the Civil War, particularly during the First and Second Battles of Bull Run (or Manassas). As Nan Netherton notes, parts of the highly agricultural county (and the surrounding region) suffered significant destruction during the conflict ("The Civil War ends...Fairfax County rebuilds"), and the system of African-American slavery on which large-scale farming in the region had been built was abolished by the end of the war. However, according to Curtis L. Vaughan, agriculture in the region had become smaller in scale and less dependent on enslaved African-Americans even in the decades before the conflict - he recognizes that "the drivers of the economy were shifting from plantations to family farms, and the pre-revolutionary elite families were scattering" (1). By 1867, when the farmer who kept the Northern Virginia farmer's diary was writing, the old slavery-dependent plantation economy had been abolished permanently, and sharecropping and family farming were the more common forms of agriculture (Netherton, "The Civil War ends...Fairfax County rebuilds").
The collection consists of a one-volume "pocket diary" of a Northern Virginia farmer from 1867. The diary was published for "professional men" in New York, and contains dates for the year 1860. The owner of the diary crossed out 1860 and wrote in 1867, and altered each day of the week so that it was consistent with the day on which each date fell in 1867. The diary's owner recorded entries about the daily weather, planting of crops, purchase of materials and livestock, and general work done on the farm, including information on farm laborers. He also included occasional family details and recorded visitors to the farm, and drew a few sketches of people at the end of the diary.
Diary entries are organized chronologically by date.
There are no access restrictions.
There are no restrictions on personal use. Permission to publish material from the Northern Virginia farmer's diary must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Northern Virginia farmer's diary, C0313, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Accessioned by the Special Collections Research Center in June 2018.
Processing completed by Elizabeth Beckman in June 2018. EAD markup completed by Elizabeth Beckman in June 2018.