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Benjamin Browne Foster Diaries

Identifier: SpC MS 0765-sc

Scope and Contents

The diaries of a student and Civil War soldier. Included are 58 handwritten diaries by Benjamin Browne Foster from the years 1847 when he was 15 years old until 1853 when he was a student at Bowdoin College. The diaries are numbered 10 through 77 and a few of them are missing (15, 16, 26, 44, 55, 67-70). Journal no. 18 includes Benjamin's account of his attending a performance by Tom Thumb. Included in the journal is a copy of the pamphlet "Sketch of the life, personal appearance, character and manners of Charles S. Stratton, ... known as General Tom Thumb" printed in New York by Van Norden & Amerman in 1847. Included also is a photocopy of a typescript "Reminiscences" (p. 23-61) by Benjamin Browne Foster. In it he describes his service in the Civil War. Included also is a photocopy of a typescript "A diary of the American Renaissance" which contains portions of the diaries by Benjamin Browne Foster. It was published as Down East Diary by Benjamin Browne Foster and edited by Charles H. Foster. Some of the pages of the typescript are missing.


  • 1847-1974
  • Majority of material found within 1847-1853


Restrictions on Access

No restrictions on access.

Restrictions on Use

Information on literary rights available in the repository.

Biographical Note

Benjamin Browne Foster was born November 23, 1831, in Orono, Maine, the second in a family of six children. During his youth he lived in Weston, Maine and in Boston and Newburyport, Massachusetts. He attended Bowdoin College and graduated in 1855. He was admitted to the bar in Maine in 1858 and practiced in Bangor, Castine, and Lincoln. When the Civil War began he enlisted. He married Sarah Gibson Howell from New York in 1863, and after the War he practiced law in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1873 he moved to New York City and practiced law there. He died in 1903.


5 Folders (61 items)

Language of Materials



The diaries of a student and Civil War soldier.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The diaries and typescript "Reminiscences" were a gift of Charles H. Foster. The typescript "A diary of the American Renaissance" was a gift of Thea Wheelwright.

Existence and Location of Copies

Publications: Foster, Benjamin Browne. Down east diary / by Benjamin Browne Foster ; edited by Charles H. Foster. [Orono, Me.] : University of Maine at Orono Press, 1975. Available for use in the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department, University of Maine, Orono, Maine.


No finding aid - see Special Collections librarian for assistance.

Guide to the Benjamin Browne Foster Diaries
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Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States