Introduction

“The journal is now being written by Rosa B. Littlepage.”

With that New Year’s declaration 18 year-old Rosena Littlepage took ownership of a blank book previously used as a journal by “Brother” Junius and her mother Caroline and made it her own.[1]During 1853 she would write almost every day, expanding on their earlier efforts, recording Littlepage family life in King William County, Virginia, and her personal hopes and fears.

Keeping such a journal was a family tradition.[2] In a little over two years her mother would renew her journal keeping by beginning a set of volumes which would continue well over a decade. Number seven of that set (1864-1867) resides at the Virginia Historical Society (Mss5:1 L332:1). That volume provides the basis of the website Caroline’s Journal. This website is based on a previous Littlepage journal also residing at the VHS, (Mss5:1 L333:1). While containing entries by her brother Junius when he was a student at Delaware College in 1848 and her mother the following year, this journal is mostly Rose. This website, which will follow the same convention as Caroline’s Journal of presenting each entry as a blog post, may be considered a prequel to her mother’s narrative. While Rose’s daily entries certainly stand on their own, readers interested in learning more about the Littlepages and life in tidewater Virginia a century and a half ago are invited to visit Caroline’s Journal and explore both Caroline’s observations and the extensive background documentation.

Credit and thanks are due Littlepage descendants Dudley M. Eichhorn and Louise Eichhorn Schroeder for donating these two family journals to the Virginia Historical Society. Dudley arranged for the late Peggy Dinehart and her sister Beverly Pearce to produce transcriptions of both volumes. Without their painstaking work these websites would never have happened. Numerous readers of Caroline’s Journal have made comments and suggestions that have greatly added to the accuracy and overall quality of that project. Further, a team of volunteers is currently transcribing Caroline Littlepage’s first two volumes which were recently donated to the Library of Virginia. Thus, this website is very much part of a larger, collaborative work-in-progress, destination unknown.

Thanks to the staff of the Virginia Historical Society, especially E. Lee Shepard and Frances Pollard. The VHS has continued to provide valuable assistance and encouragement for these projects. Both the VHS and the Library of Virginia richly deserve our support.

  1. [1] Although the 1850 US Census records her name as Rosena, she and her family members preferred Rosa or, more consistently, Rose. We will call her Rose. Her likeness on the sidebar is a faux-color version of a black and white photo taken of a portrait made by itinerant Virginia artist John Toole in May, 1849. She would soon be 15.
  2. [2]References in journal texts suggest several members of the Littlepage family kept journals. Rose’s mother Caroline also suggests journals were kept in her Ellett family as well.