Manuscript Diary of John Kent Chandler, East India Merchant Fascinating, unique item
A stunning find and probably one of very few such diaries of the period that are not already in institutional collections. The diary contains 76 manuscript pages of entries and notes, 17pages of expense accounts, goods purchased, and travel expense accounts, plus blanks. John Kent Chandler (1831-1936), who lived to be 104, was from an illustrious New Hampshire family. The diary is unsigned but internal clues point to its authorship. In the first entry Chandler identifies himself as one of four passengers with his initials “JKC”. (Chandler references himself by his initials several times in the diary). The New Hampshire Historical Society has letters and other materials from John Chandler to his brother William, (in the William Eaton Chandler papers) which correspond with the dates of this diary. The diary includes accounts of visits to China on several voyages: Peking, Hong Kong, Canton, Shanghai, to Japan, including an account of the “War in Japan”, 1868, known as the The Boshin War; several voyages to, and stays in, Manila; Pelew Islands, Batavia, Dutch East Indies, the Van Diemen Straits, Singapore, Ceylon and finally India. He also includes accounts of expenses, goods purchased including porcelain, bronzes and metalware, Japanese ivories and curios, etc. There are also notes on “Southern Indian Railways”, “Coromandel Coast”, “Growing coffee in Ceylon”, and notes on “Tientsin to Peking.” Chandler describes each country commenting on the cities and villages he passes through, trade, social customs, Japanese tea houses, public baths, and the upheavals of the Boshin War, retribution for the murder of a British merchant, etc.
18.3 x 12.5cm.
In very good condition. Bound in contemporary black morocco with “Cash Book” stamped in gilt on spine. A well-made diary with very nice marbled endpapers. Entries are written in pencil and ink and are clear and legible. The metal clasp is broken and there is no key present. b33050950