1895 Handwritten Diary 14yr Old Pauline Lentilhon Robinson Bahlmann Newport Ri

1895 Handwritten Diary 14yr Old Pauline Lentilhon Robinson Bahlmann Newport Ri

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1895 Handwritten Diary 14yr Old Pauline Lentilhon Robinson Bahlmann Newport Ri:

I was so surprised when I finally found out who this 1895 diary was written by. There was no name written in the diary and all I could go on was that they lived in New York City, her 14 year old birthday was celebrated on August 10th and the fact that she was from a very wealthy family who seemed to be one of New York’s elite. In fact the diary mentioned many prominent and wealthy families during this time including the Vanderbilt’s. All of this information helped but I still didn’t know who she was. Then I thought I’d try and use a different clue that the diary possessed and that was the name of her Governess; Mrs. Bahlmann. Sure enough, I found our young lady and a whole lot more.

Our author’s name is Pauline Lentilhon Robinson daughter of Dr. Beverly Robinson and during the time this diary was written her governess, Mrs. Bahlmann, was also the governess of many of the wealthy families in New York. One of those families included Edith Wharton the Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short story writer and designer. In fact Bahlmann also became Wharton’s literary secretary and confidante. Of course by 1895 (the date of this diary) Edith Wharton was already 33 years old and a published author. Our author Pauline was just 14 but still being tutored by Bahlmann. When I first discovered this I found an amazing book written by Irene Goldman-Price titled “My Dear Governess; The Letters of Edith Wharton to Anna Bahlmann.” So I ordered this book to use it for my research. I am including the book with this sale. There was a photo of the Robinson girls in the book and also lots of information about them. I scanned the photo above and also scanned a photo of Anna Bahlmann. The other photo I scanned shows Bahlmann (sitting) and some of her other students. I want to quote a portion of the book which talks about Pauline (the author of this diary) and her family…..

“In the middle 1890’s, among Anna Bahlmann’s favorite pupils were the four children of Edith’s old friend, Anna Foster Robinson and Dr. Beverley Robinson. Bahlmann prepared the sons, Beverly and Herman, for school, then took charge of lessons for their younger sisters, Pauline and Anna. Young Beverley would become a lawyer. Herman also studied law, but he was never happy; in the early summer of 1903 he went out to the end of Long Island and shot himself. Bahlmann was closest with Pauline Robinson (the owner of this diary) who never married, and who visited and corresponded with Anna for the rest of her life. Pauline also followed Edith Wharton’s career closely over the years, championing the author whenever New York society’s opinion seemed to chastise Wharton for her books.”


“January 1st,

Studied all morning and part of afternoon. Played. Eat dinner. Miss Wingate came. Was not able to eat ice cream, had to dress for Derby’s. At Derby’s lots of fun. A magic lantern. Ice cream and J. D. and dancing. Virginia Reel with L. Mahan Waltz.”

“January 22nd,

Studied. Had French and music. Went to school. Examination in Mythology. Went to Mrs. Brooks and Miss Bunninger’s. Are going skating tomorrow. John Dix is better and very ill at Groton with measles and pneumonia.”

“February 3rd,

Went to church. Heard Bishop Courtney preach. Went to Waldorf with Aunt Victorine. Saw her dresses. Had lunch. Said lessons. I staid home. Played on hay. Uncle La Victorine, Uncle Charlie came to dinner.”

“February 16th,

Went to see skating in park. Got hot chocolate. Came home with Louise. Went to see the fire in park. Went to Saint Valentine’s kettledrum. Horrid time. Went to Anne Derby’s dinner for C. Drayton. Lots of fun.”

“February 27th,

Studied French and music. Studied. Went to school. Had history and Latin trial exams. Came home had hair washed. Hate to have it done. Awful. But it has to be.”

“March 5th,

Studied. Went out with mamma. Had French and music lesson. Went to school, Saw Frederica. She looks much nicer with her wig than with her short hair. So nice to have her back. Had German lesson. Louise came to dinner.”

“March 15th,

Studied. Breakfast late. Had French and music after studied drew pictures for the baby. Went to school. Recited Gray’s Elegy. Came home. Painted a little vase. Had nails fixed. Dressed. Went to dancing school.”

“March 24th,

A black Sunday. All went wrong. Said verses hymn and all sorts of things are wrong. Am very bad so if anyone could have this let me say that I will try to be better and more cheerfully during my hour of trial.”

“April 18th,

Rose in the Ring. Baby Anna has developed that horrid disease the mumps. I am forced to stay away from school and cannot have the girls on Saturday to lunch. Mumps is such a silly disease.”

“April 19th,

Stayed home. Did French and music and went out to park. Went out in carriage. Walked. Came home. Louise afraid to see me. She went to dancing school. I couldn’t go. I am a plague and tired wretch.”

“May 26th,

Was looking forward to going to Groton but oh! Alas, Mr. Billings refuses to take me. Very disappointed. Went to dine at Cambridge.”

“May 30th,

Decoration Day. Went with baby to Cambridge but Mrs. O’Connor asked me to go to Howe’s. Saw the procession. Very nice. Expect Louise.”

“June 15th,

Unexpected surprise! Boys telegraph, “Come today.” Papa too. The boys look fine. Played tennis. B. and I against H. and L. Got beaten. Had ginger ale. Went to bed early.”

“June 19th & 20th,

Left at one for Newport. Mrs. Harris and little Donald came in train with us. Not a bit sick. Eat ice cream, eggs and bread….House very nice. Nice room. Unpacked all day. In afternoon went to take a nice walk on cliffs. A fog overhung the sea which was very rough.”

“June 26th, 27th, & 28th,

“Went a great deal on the bicycle. Took lunch. Aunt Lilie, Cousin Pauline, and Miss Bahlmann came to see mamma. Went again on bike. Could not go to Buffalo Bill’s. Very disappointed. Queer discovery. Bad…..Morning went on bicycle. Hope and Miss Tyler came to see Mamma. A grand fiasco of the dancing class. Afternoon went to d-c. Very stupid time. Herbert and Robert Noyes, only boys there. R.W. very nice looking. Came home….Rain all morning. Played ½ hour piano. Wrote a resume of the Tale of Two Cities. Mr. Wentwell came to lunch. Mama went out to lunch. Afternoon walked with Carrie Kane and Miss Bahlmann on cliffs. Rode on bicycle evening.”

“July 14th,

Went to church. Bishop Coleman of Delaware preached. Text, “Esapera–be opened.” Afternoon rained. Went later to see Aunt Lilie. Shocked about Marie Lentilhon’s runaway match. God help me never to do such a thing.”

“July 25th,

Went on bicycle. Went to Casino concert which I enjoyed. Ice cream soda too. Went to dancing class. Wallace and Herbert there. Lavie V.N. Hope Tyler’s grandfather very ill.”

“July 29th & 30th,

Went in bathing with the baby. Water rather cold. Came home. Afternoon had an English lesson with Miss B. Went to Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt’s house. Went on bicycle when I came home….Went to beach. Did not go in bathing, too cold. Mamma went to New York. Afternoon were to go out in carriage but rain prevented. I made a cake. I do home I can do my hair alone.”

“August 2nd,

Went out to see yacht race off Bateman’s Point. Went to lunch at Lucy Kearny’s. M. P. queer. Rather good fun. Came home. Uncle L. and Aunt V. and Uncle Charlie came to dinner.”

“August 7th, 8th & 9th,

This certainly was a black day in my calendar. Expected Miss N. to wash hair. She did not come. I’m in a great state of nervous. Tired, cried. Agony of mind. D.C. not as nice as usual. P.E. O.G. I hope for the best. God grant it….Staid home all morning. I’m in a dreadful state. Had hair washed. Aunt Lilie came to dinner so did Aunt Vic. Took a walk with baby. Hair quite fluffy all day. Disappointed about birthday…..Morning went on bicycle. Drove around the Ocean Drive with Virginia Gammell. Came home afternoon. Had a beau-t-i-f-u-l time on Mary Hannan’s yacht. H.W. D. In better spirits today.”

“August 14th,

Went in bathing. Good fun but seaweed. Aunt Vic went to Marblehead. Went with Cousin Stockton on board “New York.” Went to walk on cliffs with Louise and Herman. After tea played Whist. H. and L. against B. and L.”

“August 27th,

Went on bike a good deal. Went to Fadden’s to get roses for baby to give to Gladys Vanderbilt. Wemer (?) was beaten. Oh! Woe is me. Went to Mrs. Jones and Marion Low’s with Louise. H. W. D.”

“September 4th,

Went to Casino. Herman was beaten by Cyrus Hatch 6-1 and 6-4. Disappointed. Went to Huyler’s. Came home to German lesson. Heard had to have hair washed tomorrow. Furious. Disappointed about casino concert. Baby had Betty. Eat ice cream and cake. H.W.D.”

1895 Handwritten Diary 14yr Old Pauline Lentilhon Robinson Bahlmann Newport Ri:

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