Journal of Emma Riggs
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Journal of Emma Riggs
Amerikan Bord Heyeti (American Board)
Memorandum Books
Title page reads “Emma Louisa Riggs” (daughter of Elias Riggs and Martha Dalzel, born 1847). First entry dated Nov. 1 (no year, but likely 1862 based on later dating) from Malta. Emma reports that the family has been in Malta for three weeks, and that she has been sick for the previous four months. On Nov. 10, Emma describes her daily activities, which include arranging pressed flowers, sewing, reading, and playing games. She has a “bad pain” in her side which prevents “writing or doing anything else,” though a week later she is going for walks with her father. She describes the family’s efforts to educate her brother Charlie (born 1855): “Papa his Arithmetic, Mamma his Spelling, reading, hymns and verse, Jamie his History and I his Geography.” Emma details her daily life, including making “a basket of beads” with Margaret and Ellen, Michael’s quarrelling with neighbors (“he threatened to go away but I don’t believe he will”), donkey rides, trips to town, visits with friends, the weather, and various outings (to St. Elmo, the prison and hospital on Malta). She is frequently in poor health. On Dec. 10th the family leaves Malta for Alexandria, a 7-day journey. In Cairo Emma writes that they spent a night in Mr. Ewing’s house, and that “a good many of the missionaries live in the same house…given them by the Viceroy of Egypt.” In Alexandria the family stayed with the Watson and Dales families before lodging in a boarding house. The first entry with a firm year dating is January 1, 1863 it’s New Year’s Day, and after visiting the Patterson family, Emma and her father go for a donkey ride in the desert. On Jan.20 she writes, “Said Pasha is dead & Ismail Pasha has succeded him. The people are having a grand illumination this evening to welcome him.” Around Feb. 18 the family boards a Nile boat, arriving at Thebes on March 6th, stopping at Denderah March 9th, Gizeh on March 11th, and visiting a number of historic sites en route and in the area, eventually reaching Cairo around April 1st, and returning to Alexandria a week later. By April 20 they are en route to Smyrna. On Apr 21, on a ship off Rhodes, the family interacts with a pasha who has “engaged two berths in our cabin” and “wanted his whole harem to come down.” They arrive to Smyrna on Apr 24, staying with the Doddses, and by May 10th are en route to Constantinople, arriving shortly thereafter and reuniting with friends and family.
A handwritten account of Emma and the Riggs family's time in Malta and Egypt (including a long Nile tour), eventually returning to Smyrna and Constantinople, where the diary ends. Handwritten in pencil. Small bound notebook with black faux-leather cover and metal clasp, with marbleized endpapers. Some smudging and fading, but generally legible.A clipping of an inked Egyptian Isis symbol is pasted inside. Three inclusions: a newspaper clipping with information about Old and New Testament, and two hand-drawn maps ( Plan of the Temple at Edfos & Plan of the temple at Denduah )
Issue Date
Malta, Bournabat, Alexandria, Cairo, Rhodes, Smyrna (İzmir, Turkey), Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey)
SALT Research
Print, Handwriting
Number of Scanned Documents
29 plus 3 inclusion
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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