Elwyn's Diary

a virtual museum

by Gina Giuliano

For details on how to purchase the 1998 reprint of West Shokan: Eden of the Catskills by Elwyn Davis (1930), click below:

Elwyn C. Davis (1890-1976) was a lifelong resident of West Shokan, in the Town of Olive, Ulster County, New York, whose extensive collection of papers was donated, after his death, to the Olive Free Library. In addition to letters, cards, newspaper clippings, photographs, etc., Elwyn kept a diary every day of his life, from age 16 in 1906, almost until his death in 1976.

In 2003, I started to transcribe the diaries. Shortly afterwards my mother decided to transcribe them as well (and has made a lot more progress than I have)! Recently, my sister and I have begun to scan and photograph the end pages, which is where Elwyn kept his annual financial records. Here is a sample of the diary project.

One date, through the years

Feb. Tuesday 9, 1915 Clear cold crisp day, wind in North. Some clouds. Cold windy night. Homer Davis papered in our hall. John & I went to Brown Sta. P.M. with car. Dr. Hibbard treated my hand with the xray high frequency current. John took supper with us & we played 5 games dominoes against Homer & father.

February 9, Sunday, 1930 Fair early, becoming overcast toward evening a driving young blizzard howled out of the west. Wrote news items. Attended service in PM.

February 9, Wednesday, 1944 Zero A M. 20 degrees at 12P M. Partly overcast raw easterly winds, light snow flurries. Moderated somewhat P M. I worked alone today. Mother attended Ladies Aid quilting at Mrs George Terwilliger's. I went down to P. O. A M and finished filling out an $ 18.75 defense stamp book also bought a $ 37.50 series E War bond–matures in 10 yrs.–draws 2.9% int. at fare value $ 50.00. I drawed cut logs and top wood of beech tree cut yesterday. Took over big load manure and broke evener and had to leave unloaded. Supples took away another load of logs A M.

Events: small - and large

June 6, Friday, 1930 Continued warm breezy, alternating sunshine and shadow A.M. Thunder showers all afternoon, drenching rain. Pa and I planted two pounds Evergreen sweet corn behind barn, finished just as the first shower dropped over south mountain. Wrote up account evening regarding the instituting of Olive Rebekah Lodge.

June 6, Tuesday, 1944 Partly to mostly cloudy, warm sunshine and light showers—brisk southwesterly winds. Ollie helped (led Molly) cultivated corn patch above 3 corner lot, both ways. Received letters from Mariam and Bob, mailed May 25. THE LONG AWAITED "D" DAY INVASION AGAINST HITLER'S OCCUPIED FORTRESS EUROPE OPENED.

Here's a source for archival preservation products

Here's a source for books about Ulster County and the Catskills