Aida A. Austin kept a diary in 1881, the year she turned 20 in November. She lived in New York City with or near her Eldred-Austin relatives during the winter months. In the summer, Aida and her New York City cousins travelled some 100 miles to the village of Eldred, New York, and stayed with Aida’s parents, Henry and Mary Ann Eldred Austin.
In January there were plumbing problems in New York City.
Some February excerpts
N.Y.C., Tues., February 1, 1881
It has snowed all day so we did not go to the Park. I had a letter from mother today. She cannot come down. I have commenced studying again.
N.Y.C., Wed., February 2, 1881
It has been fearful cold today; went to the Park.
N.Y.C., Thurs., February 3, 1881
It has not been quite so cold today. Ida frosted her big toe yesterday. Maria was here this afternoon. She is going to stay with Mary. They are going to give her 12 dollars a month.
N.Y.C., Thurs., Feb. 10, 1881
I have a very bad cold and feel terrible.
N.Y.C., Friday, February 11, 1881
…My teeth commenced aching…and I went to the dentist and had two out. I took the gas and I had to go to bed I felt so bad.
N.Y.C., Sat., February 12, 1881
My cold is worse…
N.Y.C., Mon., February 14, 1881
My cold is so bad I can hardly see.
N.Y.C., Tues., February 15, 1881
My cold is better. I went out this afternoon. I bought 8 valentines, 4 comic ones and 4 nice ones…I took a comic valentine down to Mrs. Braisted. She is going to send it to Harry for me so he will get it tomorrow.
N.Y.C., Wed., February 16, 1881
Harry’s valentine came today. He was fearful mad until I made him think it was not me and then he did not care much.
N.Y.C., Thurs., Feb. 17, 1881
Maria (Aida’s sister) was over this afternoon. She bought mother a new black dress.
N.Y.C., Friday, February 18, 1881
I must study and drive away these shadows. How dark and cold they fall around my path tonight. Every one seems false and heartless. I sit and think such bitter things until ambitious hatred touching my heart and brain bids them be.
N.Y.C., Sat., February 19, 1881
Tommy was vaccinated today. Harry and I went down to Mrs. Braisted’s…
N.Y.C., Sun. February 20, 1881
Peace and love hover around my path tonight. I went to Brooklyn this afternoon and Maria and I went out for a ride. Harry and I went to [cousin] Rand’s after tea…
N.Y.C., Mon., February 21, 1881
Snowed all the forenoon but cleared off very nice this afternoon. I commenced making my blue wrapper. I am not going to study tonight. I am too tired.
N.Y.C., Thurs., Feb. 24, 1881
It has been very cold today. Ida is teaching again. Maria was over this afternoon.
N.Y.C., Friday, Feb. 25, 1881
I wrote to Mother today. I have come down in the parlor to study, but I can’t seem to get my mind settled to it, so I will write a little and go to bed. It snowed all the forenoon but cleared off very nice this afternoon.