Diary of Samuel Dana Horton (AB 1864)
The collections of the Harvard University Archives include a detailed diary kept by Samuel Dana Horton, a member of the Harvard College Class of 1864. The diary covers Horton’s junior year at Harvard, and provides an insider’s look at the life of a mid-nineteenth century college student.
One hundred and fifty years ago, on January 1, 1863, Horton wrote about his New Year’s Eve activities – and then went on to describe his attendance that day at the joyous Grand Jubilee Concert in honor of the Emancipation Proclamation, held at Boston’s Music Hall. Horton says it was “the most excited audience I ever saw in Boston.”
Read more about the Emancipation Proclamation in this Library of Congress online presentation
Diary belonging to Samuel Dana Horton, Volume 3, January— July 1863 (Harvard University Archives call number HUM 155)
Horton (pictured at right) received an AB from Harvard in 1864 and an LLB in 1868.
Transcription of entry for January 1, 1863
Samuel Dana Horton, Gentn
Of Pomeroy, Meigs Co. Ohio.
Class of 1864. Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass__
Begun at Cambridge Mass.
January 1st 1863
As the clock of Dr. Newell’s church struck twelve New Years eve and the New Year, 1863, began I was standing at the door of Stoughton with Huidekoper  and some other classmates having come up into the College yard from Huide’s room to see the Freshmen run around the Rebellion tree , according to the ancient custom.
I had persuaded Huide to go out and stand by one of the trees and the Freshmen thinking him a tutor didn’t dare to go out. The night was a lovely one, clear blue sky, ground white with deep snow, air cool and bracing – and a bright moon making everything lovely. Huide and I amused ourselves by observing two wandering and slightly intoxicated votaries pro tempore of the Cyprian Goddess who had left their homes in the Port for a little lark. We then went home and I to bed taking a glass of Tom and Jerry  of my own manufacture to drive off a cold with which I was threatened – A poor way altogether of beginning a new year. I trust it is not ominous. I got up at about nine o’clock, dressed at length, by which I mean I took plenty of time for it. Andrew Robeson came in to pay me some money he borrowed of me and I made him one of my “Tom and Jerries”.
I went round to Huide’s room, roused him and we reached Moon’s restaurant at about eleven, where we got some breakfast. I worked somewhat at my Chemical Problems and took a lunch at Mrs. Willard’s. Started to walk into town and when I was two thirds the way in I found I had left at home my ticket to the Concert, so had to return.
I reached the Music Hall, too late for Mr. Emerson’s poem.  The music was fine, but it was bad taste to have Kreissmann, a German, sing Holmes’ Army Hymn.  Mr. Underwood, during the concert came forward and said that the “Emancipation Proclamation” was passing over the wires to New York. There was cheering, stamping and clapping ad libitum. Everybody stood up - took hats and handkerchiefs and gave nine cheers – the most excited audience I ever saw in Boston. Dr. Howe  led some of the cheers as Sallie afterward told me. A gentleman got up on a seat and read some orders or letters of Gen’l Saxton’s  – and Lincoln was cheered and one man proposed cheers for Wm Lloyd Garrison and they were given.
That evening there was a pleasant party at Miss Hasting’s where I figured  with Miss Harris, Miss Henshaw, Allyn et cetera.
1. Herman J. Huidekoper (AB 1864) served in the Union Army during the Civil War
2. The Rebellion Tree, a large elm that stood east of the south entry of Hollis Hall, was a gathering place for student protests about College life and policies.
4. Ralph Waldo Emerson (AB 1821) read his “Boston Hymn,” written in honor of the occasion.
5. August Kreissmann sang “Army Hymn,” written by Oliver Wendell Holmes (AB 1829).
6. Abolitionist Samuel Gridley Howe (MD 1824).
7. Rufus Saxton, born in Greenfield, Massachusetts, was brigadier general for the Union forces and later assistant commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau.
Horton’s enthusiastic account is in contrast to the more formal entry for January 1, 1863 found in the diary of Harvard librarian John Langdon Sibley (HUG 1791.72)