The diary of A.J. Van Nuys recounts the trip of A.J. and Lizzie Van Nuys to Benson, Nebraska. The diary contains brief daily entries along with some accounting of expenses. The diary includes entries from May 4-July 11 of an unidentified year in the late 19th or early 20th century. The names written inside the front cover are Mr. & Mrs. A.J. Van Nuys of Belle Mead, New Jersey and 831 Main St., Benson, Nebraska. Written inside the back cover in the same handwriting is the name Miss Della Mankwood, 2520 Downing Ave., Denver, Colorado.
The following description and selected transcriptions were provided by the seller and have not been verified by Archives & Special Collections staff:
"May 4th, train from Haggerstown to Niagara. Stayed at Temperance Hotel and took an auto ride to Goat island to Canada and down to whirl pool rapids to Queens Park and Prospect Park. Train over Grand Trunk to Chicago and great sights at Port Huron. Then on to Jamison Iowa where Arthur and mama meet us and we all take trolley to Benson and dinner with Mama. A beautiful country to pass through, and the finest train was the Overland Limited. On May 12 we took the trolley to Omaha and Bellevue to see the effects of the cyclone. Buildings torn to pieces and twisted, and other building were entirely swept away. Some people did get hurt; no one killed. Heavy rain and showers for days. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas called and Mrs. Markwood was here. (Miss Della Markwood lives at 2520 Downing Ave. Denver, Colorado.)"
"May 24, Tonight we all go to the school commencement night. Next day Lizzie and I go to Omaha alone and shop. Later in the day we go to King Park and then to Lake Manawa and a ride into Iowa. We take a nice ride and eat at the Calumet. Then we all went to a party at Mrs. Thomas's and we stayed all night until the next afternoon. Got home to Mama's in the afternoon and then we all went to hear Dr. Loveland at night and a choir of 34 voices and a sermon on Brotherly Love. Next day we go to Krug Park and hear a Dixie Land band play. By June 5 we have gone to Omaha 15 times! Now I go sightseeing and go to Hanscom Park, Library, Museum, YMCA building in Omaha, top of New York Life, Post Office, Auditorium and the Deaf Institute. June 18, now we have gone to Omaha 23 times! Now we are off to Fort Crook and Florence where the waterworks for Omaha are." (and here he goes into great detail about Fort Crook and the water works.) "June 20, we go to Chautauqua and see Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde; an impersonation. Then a wind storm comes along and lifts away the tent and this breaks up everything - Very Windy."
"We went to hear an address by the Hon. H. T. Burdick of Virginia on Temperance saying although the United States is the greatest country on earth that we were under the control of King Alcohol who cost our country annually the sum of $1,200,000,000, and there was even more cost in crimes committed from its use. I have been giving speeches on Temperance for about 15 years yet I never abuse the drunkard," etc. Then we went to hear Capt. Jack Crawford and the Carolina Jubilee Singers, the most harmonious group I have ever heard. On July 3rd I got to go to South Omaha to the Stock Yards to see them kill and dress meats. Finally got to go travel through the corn fields of Iowa before starting to pack the trunk for home."
On the way home they go through Vincennes, Indiana, and Illinois, arriving at Cincinnati and over the Allegheny, eat at Cumberland, West Virginia, pass through Harpers Ferry and arrive at Washington DC, where they stay at the Metropolitan Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street. "We go to the Capitol library building, the Monument, White House and the Treasury and start for home at 1pm. Pass through Baltimore over the Susquehanna and Wilmington and arrive Philadelphia. Get home to Belle Mead at 6:21pm and Addie and Clair (his two daughters) meet us there and take us home. A nice day, July 11."
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