Historian George W. Martin Review

“Diaries are a tool for history, both for recording events and providing context: showing not only how contemporaries viewed the event but sometimes how opinion began to change. And one such tool for the history of nineteenth-century New York City is The 1854 Diary of Adeline Elizabeth Hoe.

Miss Hoe . . . later merged two prominent New York families by marrying DeWitt Clinton Lawrence . . . [T]he diarist’s great-granddaughter, Helen Davidson . . . has added to the Diary a useful Foreword on the historical events of 1854 . . . [with] . . . notes [on] the Dodworth family’s brass band, the artist William Sidney Mount, the Hoe family’s ties to the Harper and the Dodd, Mead publishing houses, and on the sinking of the steamship Arctic . . .

In Prelude, Davidson has written a novella sparked by a hint of romance in the Diary. Adeline’s tone often seems to soften when she writes of a Mr. Joe Stewart. Yet little is known of him, leaving Davidson free to imagine what might have been, a fantasy founded in part by Adeline’s later marriage to Mr. Lawrence, about whom good is not always spoken.”

— George W. Martin, Historian and Author of CCB: The Life and Century of Charles C. Burlingham, New York’s First Citizen, 1858–1959