Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany

Farlow Reference Library of Cryptogamic Botany



LEVI-LINCOLN THAXTER, 1821-1883
Diaries

 

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:

Levi Lincoln Thaxter, son of Levi Lincoln and Nabby Howe Thaxter, was born in Watertown, Ma. 1821. He married Celia Laighton in Appledore House, Portsmouth, NH, on September 30, 1851. Celia, the daughter of Thomas Laighton and Eliza Rymes, was born in Portsmouth, NH in 1835. Thomas was interested in starting a hotel and approached his friend, Levi Lincoln Thaxter, the son of a wealthy banker, to convince his father, to advance them a loan for the project. Levi, a Harvard graduate, tutored for the three Laighton children throughout the winter that the hotel was built.

Levi soon lost interest in the business and agreed to dissolve his partnership with Thomas. However, Levi's growing interest in Celia convinced Thomas to send her to school in South Boston where their relationship developed. In 1851 16-year old Celia and 30-year old Levi were married in the parlor of the new hotel.

Celia's first child Karl was the first baby born on Appledore. He was delivered by a mid-wife and may have suffered birth injuries that left him with a slight limp. John was born two years later in Newburyport, MA and Roland four years later in Newtonville, MA, where the family had settled.

Levi devoted a great deal of time to his elderly parents in Watertown while Celia's parents wanted her and the children on the Shoals in the summers. In the fall of 1855, Levi and Oscar were caught in a storm while sailing back from the islands. They were lucky to escape with their lives and Levi was so shaken that he refused to return to the islands.

As the children grew, John and Roland traveled with their father, who had developed an interest in ornithology (bird watching), and Karl remained with Celia. It was during this period that Celia became famous for her poems. After being the center of attention on the island during the summers she found it increasingly difficult to resume her role as wife and mother during Newtonville winters. She chose to spend eight winters on the lonely and isolated islands to be close to her brothers, Oscar and Cedric.

Levi agreed to return to Appledore during the summer of 1879 so Celia had all members of her family together for the first time in many years. The reunion ended tragically when Levi's friend, William Morris Hunt, was found drowned in a pond after a storm.

In 1881 Levi moved to the home of Mme. Monet at 98 Charles St. with his widowed sister Lucy Titcomb. Later that summer Levi moved to the newly named Champernowne Farm. In 1882 his health declined dramatically. Roland, in medical school at the time, stayed with him for five months. On May 31, 1883, Levi Lincoln Thaxter died of chronic peritonitis. He was buried in the little Congregational Cemetery at Kittery Point. Robert Browning wrote the epitaph on his gravestone.

 

PROVENANCE:

This collection was a gift of the Hubbard family, descendents of Levi Lincoln Thaxter.

 

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE:

This collection consists of three diaries written by Levi Lincoln Thaxter chronicling trips that he took with his sons John and Roland 1860-1875.

 

CONTAINER LIST:

1. "R.T.'s typhoid/malaria bill". Bill for treatment, 4 March 1875 through 12 March 1875 received of payment Drs. Boderbauk and Anderson, 16 June 1875. One loose sheet, blue columned paper, handwritten, 22cm x 20cm, dated 1875.

2. "Bill from Blumhill Hall to Mr. Thaxter & Sons for boarding and lodging" 12 December 1874. One loose sheet, buff lined paper, handwritten, 18.5cm x 23cm, dated 1874.

3. "Bill from Blumhill Hall to Mr. Thaxter & Sons for boarding and lodging" 5 March 1875. One loose folded sheet, buff lined paper, handwritten, 25.4cm x 20.3cm, dated 1874.

4. Portion of Levi Lincoln Thaxter diary from Kingston Jamaica. Beginning 29 December 1874, mostly undated. White lined paper, handwritten, 14cm x 22cm, 27 sheets, originally tied in signatures, no binding/cover remains.

5. Bound diary/botanical notebook belonging to Levi Lincoln Thaxter. Begins 6 July [1860?]. First fully dated reference is for 5 May 1861, last entry 1 June 1871. Correspondence tipped into the work however dates from 1865 through 1875. Piece includes tipped in letters, notes, clippings, and specimens.

Bound in boards with leather spine and corners, overlay of marbled paper, edges of pages have same marbling. Paper is blue unlined, handwritten entries, 7 tied signatures of 5 sheets each (70 pages total), 16.5cm x 20.5 cm.

5. Bound diary/botanical notebook belonging to Levi Lincoln Thaxter.

 

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