Horatio Nelson Taft Diary

The Library of Congress continues to digitize its collection and make it available online. One of the latest is the diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, who worked in the patent office. Taft was also unusually close to the Lincolns, since their children often played together.

Washington during the Civil War: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft, 1861-1865 presents three manuscript volumes, totaling 1,240 digital images, that document daily life in Washington, D. C., through the eyes of Horatio Nelson Taft (1806-1888), an examiner for the U. S. Patent Office. Now located in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress, the diary details events in Washington during the Civil War years including Taft’s connection with Abraham Lincoln and his family. Of special interest is Taft’s description of Lincoln’s assassination, based on the accounts of his friends and his son, who was one of the attending physicians at Ford’s Theatre the night Lincoln was shot, on April 14, 1865. Transcriptions for all three volumes have been made by Library of Congress staff and are available online along with the digital images.

I found his entries on Early’s raid on Washington quite interesting.

They also have a large collection of posters and other “printed ephemera” such as this one advertising a “shoot-in” (shades of the sixties!) for Berdan’s Sharpshooters.


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