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Malinda E. Beiler Lapp diary

Ms. Codex 1722

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Lapp, Malinda E. Beiler, 1895-1985
Malinda E. Beiler Lapp diary
Call Number:
Ms. Codex 1722
1 volume
Pocket calendar from the year 1917 containing the daily diary of Malinda E. Beiler Lapp, who was part of the Amish community at Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Cite as:
Malinda E. Beiler Lapp Diary, 1917, Ms. Codex 1722, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Malinda E. Beiler Lapp, a young Amish woman, was one of five children born to Menno S. and Anna Z. Beiler at Gordonville, Pennsylvania. Malinda married Jacob K. Beiler on November 15, 1917. They had one daughter Mary B. Lapp in 1918.

Scope and Contents

A printed pocket calendar from the year 1917 with daily entries in pencil by Malinda E. Beiler Lapp. The diary depicts a year-in-the life of a young Amish woman living in Gordonville, Pennsylvania. The calender is bound in cloth with a fold-over tab closure and marbled edges. The title reads: The excelsior diary, 1917, followed by printed front matter with topics such as: monthly sunrise, sunset, and moon tables; weights and measures; interest and wage tables; first aid; and combinations of colors. "Malinda E. Beiler, Gordonville, Pa." is written on the page opposite her first entry on January 1, 1917. Each entry begins with a brief observation of the weather, followed by daily activities and events. Malinda described her days in succinct brief entries. An entry on Sunday, June 3, 1917, follows: "Fair. Josiah and I were at Aunt Lydia's for dinner and at Sims for supper, at Amos Lapp's at the singing. Samuel H. Beiler died this eve. I went to Dan's from the singing." Her notations of the day include chores: cleaning, sweeping, sewing, butchering, canning, dying rags for rugs, quilting, etc. She specifically mentioned sewing her wedding dress, a purple dress, and white shirts for her brother. Malinda also worked in the garden and on the farm. She noted planting various fruits and vegetables, mowing, stripping tobacco, husking corn, preparing for market, and white washing the house. Malinda made note of deaths in the community and when the funeral was held she recorded the person's age. She wrote who from the community attended dinners and where she had dinner. Names of families she mentioned include Beiler, Esh, Herr, Lapp, Stoltzfus, and Zook. She wrote of Amish meetings, community singing, communion services, and weddings. Malinda also recorded when couples were "published" including herself and Jacob K. Lapp. The word published is used to publicly announce to the Amish community that you are soon to be married. Malinda E. Beiler and Jacob K. Lapp were published on November 11, 1917, and married four days later. Malinda traveled to Lancaster and County for shopping and visiting other families. At the end of the volume there are some accounting notations by Malinda. She entered money she received from her father, costs for fabric, the length of time to pick potatoes, and hours she helped her brother Josiah.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  December 2015

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Donna Brandolisio

Access Restrictions

This codex is available and open for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Custodial History note

Label on the verso of the last leaf reads: L. B. Herr, bookseller, Lancaster, PA.

Source of Acquisition

Sold by Ian Brabner, Rare Americana (Wilimington, Delaware), 2015.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Codices (bound manuscripts)
  • Diaries
  • Manuscripts, American--20th century
  • American diaries--20th century--Specimens
  • American diaries--Women authors--20th century
  • Amish women--Pennsylvania--Lancaster County--20th century
  • Amish--Pennsylvania--Lancaster County--Social life and customs

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Collection Inventory


Malinda E. Beiler Lapp diary, 1917. 1 volume.