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Emily Tillinghast Potter diary

Ms. Coll. 1088

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
Potter, Emily Tillinghast, 1896-
Emily Tillinghast Potter diary
Date [inclusive]:
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1088
1 volume
Diary written by Emily Tillinghurst Potter between December 1912 and January 1913. She describes her journey with her family from Sri Lanka to India.
Cite as:
Emily Tillinghast Potter diary, 1912-1913, Ms. Coll. 1088, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Emily Tillinghast Potter was born April 27, 1896 to Joseph John and Zaidee Alice Hedges Tillinghast at Milton, Massachusetts. She had two sisters, Anna Hedges (1897-1980), and Zaidee (1902-1999). Emily married Allen Potter (1895-) of Boston, Massachusetts on October 30, 1920.

Scope and Contents

This ruled diary with a burgundy, leather cover was written by Emily Tillinghast Potter spanning approximately one month from December 1912 to January 1913. Emily, who was sixteen years old, described the journey with her parents and her two sisters, Anna and Zaidee, from Sri Lanka to India. For each daily entry, Emily recorded the date and city at the top of the page. The Tillinghast family visited Buddhist temples, bazaars, gardens, and palaces traveling by train, boat, rickshaw, and elephant. In Sri Lanka the family stayed in the following cities, Nuwara Eliya, Trincomalee, Kandy, and Colombo. While in Kandy Emily noted her visit at the Temple of the Tooth and declared it was "spooky by night." Emily and her family visited Trinity College, the Episcopal Mission in Kandy, and stayed with principal Alexander Garden Fraser (1873-1962) and his family where she noted details of her surroundings and conversations. Journeying through Sri Lanka Emily described a drive through the jungle where she saw monkeys, jackals, and elephants. Emily observed the Christmas decorations in Colombo and recorded the family's celebration of the holidays in Sri Lanka. The family voyaged across the Indian Ocean and continued their journey in India where they traveled to Madurai, Tanjore (now Thanjāvūr), Madras, Mount Abu, and Jaipur. They visited missions in Madurai and Ahmednagar. In Jaipur Emily described the Raja's palace and wrote of the caged Bengal tigers kept there. The last short entry is dated January 13, 1913 at Agra. Three small sketches drawn in the diary illustrate Emily's descriptions of sites and happenings. There are two printed activity itineraries with notations laid in the volume dated June 13, 1913. These itineraries are from Emily's return trip from Japan to Honolulu, Hawaii aboard the S. S. Chiyo Maru. The first leaf of the diary bears Emily Tillinghast's signature with "The west end series of note books No. 3377" printed on the page. The journal is written on the first thirty leaves; the remainder is blank.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

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

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Donna Brandolisio

Access Restrictions

This collection is 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 inside front cover: Addison & Co., Stationers, Printers, etc. Madras

Source of Acquisition

Sold by Kevin Jackson (Izmir, Turkey), 2015.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Diaries
  • Manuscripts, American--20th century
  • Sketches
Geographic Name(s)
  • India--Description and travel--20th century
  • Sri Lanka--Description and travel--20th century
  • American diaries--20th century--Specimens
  • American diaries--Women authors--20th century

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Collection Inventory


Emily Tillinghast Potter diary, 1912-1913. 1 volume (+ 2 leaves).