Elizabeth Riggs' Journal (Smyrna, 1851)
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Elizabeth Riggs' Journal (Smyrna, 1851)
Amerikan Bord Heyeti (American Board)
Begins on Elizabeth’s 12th birthday. The Riggs children, “Mr. Benjamin’s children and William Johnston” all go for a walk, passing through “Turk town,” skirmishing with Turkish boys, going to a mill, and watching camels being fed. On subsequent days she describes flying kites, experiencing earthquakes, receiving visitors, taking French lessons, various people’s health, the comings and goings of her parents, weather. A number of missionaries visit the family, and Elizabeth details where they have been and where they are going (Athens, Mosul, Aintab, Beirout, Constantinople, Salonica, Jerusalem), and by which ships. On April 8 (1852) Elizabeth writes that “at last the contract for our house in the country is made, and we think of moving week after next,” and on April 22 she indicates that they have moved to the country the previous Tuesday. Elizabeth describes various encounters with animals, such as being given a pet bird, seeing swarms of locusts, feeding a kitten (and drowning its siblings), and bringing home a hedgehog (which young Emma refers to as a “pitchfork”). The diary ends in October, shortly after the birth of the newest Riggs child, James.
Elizabeth's diary from age 12 to 13, taking place entirely in Smyrna (both in town and in the family's country home ). The time is seemingly a peaceful and enjoyable one, with the family receiving many missionary visitors, little illness reported among the family, and the safe birth of a new child, James Riggs. While Elizabeth's earlier diaries were heavily preoccupied with religious musings, Elizabeth's faith is rarely mentioned in this account. Explorations of the countryside in the company of her siblings and other children, walks in the hills and to the sea, and observations and interactions with animals and plants characterize the diary. Handwritten in ink, very legible, no inclusions.
Issue Date
Smyrna (İzmir, Turkey), Bournabat
SALT Research
Print, Handwriting
Number of Scanned Documents
Open Access
Rights Holder
United Church of Christ (UCC), American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT), SALT Research
Accrual Method
On deposit at SALT Research from UCC and ARIT


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