The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Hill, David W.

David W. Hill Diaries

1 box 0.5 linear feet
Call no.: MS 496

A native of Swanzey, N.H., David W. Hill became a brass finisher in the years following his military service during the Civil War, working as a machinist for several concerns in Cambridgeport, Mass., New York City, NY, Newport, R.I., and Haydenville, Mass., through the mid-1880s.

The 13 pocket diaries in the Hill collection contain regular entries describing the weather, Hill’s work as a brass finisher, his travels, the state of his health, and miscellaneous mundane observations on his daily life.

Background on David W. Hill

Born in Swanzey, N.H., on April 4, 1838, David W. Hill worked as a farmer until 1859, when he signed on to become a brass finisher with the J.J. Walworth Manufacturing Co., of Cambridge, Mass. After marrying Harriet Lane in 1862, and having son the following year, Hill enlisted as a corporal in Co. I, 16th New Hampshire Infantry, in September 1862, serving with his regiment in the Department of the Gulf for the duration of its nine month term.

Following his military service, Hill returned to work as a brass finisher and machinist for a succession of concerns in Cambridge, New York City, Newport, R.I., and Haydenville, Mass., into at least the mid-1880s.

Scope of collection

The Hill collection consists of thirteen diaries documenting the life and mundane events of a brass finisher’s life during the post-Civil War years. Bound in leather and consisting of approximately 180 pages each, with three dates per page, the diaries contain a calendar, entries for each day of the year, and a few pages at the end for keeping track of Hill’s personal accounts. Hill records daily descriptions of his work, the weather, and any visits or out of the ordinary activities of the day. Hill does not miss a single day, though there is little change in his life from day to day besides the weather and the items he made while working. Hill also makes mention of when he is sick, which is often, because he frequently states that he has been visited by the doctor, or he has the chills and stayed in the house all day.


Hill, David W.: Diary (Cambridgeport, Mass.)
Vol. 1
Hill, David W.: Diary (Cambridgeport, Mass.)
Vol. 2
Hill, David W.: Diary (Cambridgeport, Mass.)
Vol. 3
Hill, David W.: Diary (Cambridgeport, Mass.)
Vol. 4
Hill, David W.: Diary (Cambridgeport, Mass.)
Vol. 5
Hill, David W.: Diary (New York, N.Y.)
Vol. 6
Hill, David W.: Diary (New York, N.Y., and Cambridgeport, Mass.)
Vol. 7
Hill, David W.: Diary (Cambridgeport, Mass.)
Vol. 8
Hill, David W.: Diary (Cambridgeport, Mass.)
Vol. 9
Hill, David W.: Diary (Haydenville, Mass.)
Vol. 10
Hill, David W.: Diary (Haydenville, Mass.)
Vol. 11
Hill, David W.: Diary (Haydenville, Mass.)
Vol. 12
Hill, David W.: Diary (Haydenville, Mass.)
Vol. 13

Administrative information


The collection is open for research.


Acquired from Peter Masi, March 2005 (2005-073).

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Goldstein, Nov. 2011.

Additional material on David Hill can be found in the David W. Hill Papers (MS 157), Milne Special Collections and Archives, University of New Hampshire Library.



Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: David W. Hill Diaries (MS 496). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms


  • Brass industry and trade–Massachusetts.
  • Cambridge (Mass.).
  • Haydenville (Mass.).


  • Hill, David W. [main entry]
  • Hill, David W.

Genres and formats

  • Diaries.

Link to similar SCUA collections

Acquired from Peter Masi, Mar. 2005.


Brass industry and trade--MassachusettsCambridge (Mass.)--History--19th centuryHaydenville (Mass.)--History--19th century

Types of material