John E. Lewis diaries

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The NYG&B has digitized the transcripts of the diaries of John E. Lewis, a New York resident who wrote in his diaries every day for seventy-seven years and captured life in New York during the era.  Mr. Lewis began writing his diaries on January 1, 1880, as a nineteen-year old young man, and continued to write until his eyesight was too poor to continue, at age 96.  He chronicled many major events in New York State and the nation, from the crash of Wall Street and the end of Prohibition, to the festivities for the commemoration of Henry Hudson’s voyage on the Hudson River.  Many people, places, and events are mentioned in the diaries, including the famous individuals Mr. Lewis heard speak at lectures in and around New York City.  Although there is no evidence that Mr. Lewis traced his genealogy, his diaries provide detailed information on his family members, and even an annotated index identifying every person mentioned in the diaries, with biographical information.  The transcripts of the diaries have been digitized and are in the eLibrary.  Images of actual pages of the diaries may be made available to members by request to