In the attic at the Homestead is a copy of the handwritten will of Margaret Floy Washburn. (See Second Cousin. Notable First.) In the Codicil to the will she writes…”I direct that one thousand dollars if such a sum be left after payment of bills and bequests be used for the printing in suitable form of the manuscript entitled “The Diary of Michael Floy, Jr….” Michael Floy, Jr. was the brother of Jane Thacker Floy Mather’s grandfather, James Floy.
Margaret died in October 1939. At that time she had written an introduction to the Diary as well as a postscript.
Soon thereafter, Richard Brooks, the head of the English Department at Vassar, undertook the project of editing the manuscript. Interestingly, for help with some of the mathematics in the diary he called upon, and credits, Grace Murray Hopper, assistant professor of mathematics at Vassar College. This is the Grace Murray Hopper who would go on to become an US Navy Admiral, a leading pioneer in computer languages, and posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Diary was published by Yale University Press in 1941 with the title “The Diary of Michael Floy Jr. Bowery Village 1833-1837”
A copy of the published diary is in the bookshelf at the far end of the Keeping Room on the ground floor of the Homestead. The diary itself contains daily events, much centered on work at his father’s nursery. In the diary Michael records stories of cats and canaries, prize-winning dahlias, falling in love, theological obser-vations, mathematical equations, and each day, the weather.
But where are the original diaries?
In a box in the attic is a brown-wrapped package addressed to Mrs. Edward R. McPherson, Stephen Mather Road, Darien, Conn-ecticut. It is from the Vassar College Library, Poughkeepsie, New York. In the package, the three volumes of Michael Floy’s diary.
Below: Pages from the original diary in Michael Floy, Jr.’s hand…
“She has consented to be mine…never did I feel greater joy and I returned to the place of prayer and poured out my soul to God…”