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William B. Hadden diary

Ms. Codex 1819

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
Hadden, William B., active 1850-1870
William B. Hadden diary
Call Number:
Ms. Codex 1819
1 volume
The journal of William B. Hadden written during his three-month voyage from India to England on board the ship Gosforth spanning from April to July 1865.
Cite as:
William B. Hadden diary, 1865, Ms. Codex 1819, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Hadden was from Benholm, Kincardineshire, Scotland. He held the rank of segeant in a regiment and was stationed in East India for twelve years. Hadden probably served in the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment also known as the Black Watch. In the 1860s the Black Watch was stationed at Dagshai in the Himalayas and Bengal, East India.

Scope and Contents

A worn, marbled-paper covered volume comprising the journal of William B. Hadden. The journal was written during Hadden's three-month voyage from India to England on board the ship Gosforth during the month from April 3 to July 31, 1865. Above his first entry on April 3, 1865 Hadden wrote "Passage from India to England." Hadden noted the ship was overcrowded due to the number of soldiers leaving India. Hadden recorded his experiences on board, daily life, and passing time. He was returning to England after a twelve-year absence. In the journal he reminisced of his boyhood in Benholm, Kincardineshire, Scotland. Hadden recorded sailing conditions, passing ships, daily rations, laundry day, and his assignments of guard duty. He provided descriptions of amusements and distractions on board the ship including watching flying fish, porpoises, and whales; playing games of cards and dice; and reading, writing, and sketching. Hadden also wrote of his conversations on board, his dreams, and his writing case. He noted a man who jumped overboard, a widow pursuing his company, and a punishment at sea. Reading the volume from back to front is a fictional story with the heading Adventures amongst the Himalayan Mountains. The tale involves Hadden and a fellow soldier in pursuit of two young Indian women. The account describes altercations with the family of the girls and the consequences of the forbidden romance. Also included in the volume are fifteen drawings in colored pencil of sites including Dagshai, Baghdad, and the Cape of Good Hope. One drawing is labeled "Harvest House. Of all Scotland." There are also a few poems, a table longitude and latitude by place, and a list of words in Urdu with English translation are included in the volume.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  May 2017

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Donna Brandolisio

Access Restrictions

This codex 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.

Source of Acquisition

Sold by Ten Pound Island Book Company (Lanesville, Massachusetts), 2017.

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Controlled Access Headings

  • Codices (bound manuscripts)
  • Diaries
  • Drawings (visual works)
  • Manuscripts, English--19th century
Geographic Name(s)
  • Atlantic Ocean--Description and travel--19th century
  • Indian Ocean--Description and travel--19th century
  • English diaries--19th century--Specimens
  • English diaries--Male authors--19th century
  • Gosforth (Ship)--History--Sources

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Collection Inventory


William B. Hadden diary, 1865.