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About this Site

Emilie Davis was an African-American woman living in Philadelphia during the U.S. Civil War. This website is a transcription of Emilie’s three pocket diaries for the years 1863, 1864, and 1865. In them, she recounts black Philadelphians’ celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, nervous excitement during the battle of Gettysburg, and their collective mourning of President Lincoln. The diary allows readers to experience the war in real time, as events unfolded for Civil War Americans. Emilie’s preferred spelling of most words has been maintained throughout, and judicious and careful annotations fill in some of the details left unexplained in the diary.

The diaries are part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania’s (HSP) collections. The originals were scanned as part of Pennsylvania State University and the Richards Civil War Era Center’s The People’s Contest, A Civil War Era Digital Archiving Project.

Support for the website project was provided by Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library. The Department of History, Department of Communication, and the Villanova Institute for Teaching and Learning (VITAL) provided financial support.

Team Emilie: The Emilie Davis Diaries transcription and annotation team. Front: Ruby Johnson ’13 MA, Rebecca Capobianco ’13 MA, Theresa Altieri ’12 MA. Back: Dr. Judith Giesberg, Thomas Foley ’13 MA, Jessica Maiberger ’12 MA.

The transcription and annotation team included:

  • Theresa Altieri ’12 MA
  • Rebecca Capobianco ’13 MA
  • Thomas Foley ’13 MA
  • Ruby Johnson ’13 MA
  • Jessica Maiberger ’12 MA

Preliminary transcription work was also completed by Jacqueline Beatty ’12 MA, Timothy English ’13 MA, Michael Fiorelli ’12 MA, Brent Freedland ’13 MA, Matthew Landis ’13 MA, Colin McNulty ’13 MA, Molly Rigas ’13 MA, Ryan Sheridan ’12 MA, and Kelly Smith ’12 MA.

Professor Michael Mafodda, Department of Communication, and Samantha Viani ’14 A&S were responsible for web design and development.

Dr. Judith Giesberg, Associate Professor, Department of History, served as project director.