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Harry A. Joslyn Collection (DeKalb County)

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Harry A. Joslyn Collection (DeKalb County), 1860-1905 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Harry A. Joslyn Collection (DeKalb County), 1860-1905

ID: RHC/RC/183

Extent: 1.25 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 08/08/1986

Subjects: Cortland (Ill.), Diaries-- 1840-1869, Diaries-- 1870-1909, Family farms, Farm life, Joslyn, Harry A., Sycamore (Ill.)

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Harry A. Joslyn Collection (1860-1905) provides excellent documentation for the study of rural life in DeKalb County, Illinois during the second half of the nineteenth century.  The bulk of the collection consists of a series of 39 diaries (1865-1905) written by Harry A. Joslyn of Cortland and Sycamore.  Diaries for 1890 and 1891 are missing.  Daily entries vary in length but generally include information on family life work activities, politics, weather, and social life.

Two additional diaries were written by Harry A. Joslyn’ s sons, James and William.  There are two folders of financial records, estate documents, bills, receipts, and business cards.  One volume contains tax collector’s records for the years 1860-1862.  More detailed biographical and genealogical information is available in Box 1, folder 1.

Collection Historical Note

Harry Alanson Joslyn (1816-1906) was born in Genesee County, New York, the son of Phineas and Lorinda Joslyn. He came to DeKalb County in 1837, established a claim for his father in Cortland township and returned with the family the next year to settle in the Cortland area. Harry purchased land for himself and farmed it until 1854 when he quit farming to open a general store in Sycamore, in partnership with H. H. Rowe (Kimball Dow joined the firm in 1855.) In 1858, Joslyn was appointed Deputy Sheriff and served in that position six years and then was elected Sheriff for one term (1864-1865). He returned to farming in the Cortland area from 1867 to 1883 then moved to the edge of Sycamore and later moved into town. Joslyn also served six years as tax collector for Sycamore and taught in the Ohio Grove school for one year. Harry Joslyn married Lucy Ann Waterman in 1841; the couple had five children. He died at his home on Exchange Street in Sycamore, Illinois on January 18, 1906.

For more detailed biographical information see Box 1, folder 1.

Subject/Index Terms

Cortland (Ill.)
Diaries-- 1840-1869
Diaries-- 1870-1909
Family farms
Farm life
Joslyn, Harry A.
Sycamore (Ill.)

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection are held by the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: William H. Joslyn

Acquisition Method: William H. Joslyn donated the Harry A. Joslyn Collection to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on August 8, 1986.

Related Materials: Researchers should consult the Center’s Guide and Vertical File Manuscript Collection for information on other family collections.


Box and Folder Listing


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Box 2
Folder 1-20: Harry A. Joslyn Diaries, 1865-1889, 1892-1905


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