Electa Jane (Jennie) Pease D'Ooge Journals

Digitally Explore the Complete Electa Jane (Jennie) Pease D’Ooge Diaries and Letters.

Jennie D'Ooge born in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1857, married to Michigan State Normal College Latin Professor Benjamin D'Ooge in 1885, she kept a daily journal from 1886 - 1934. Accounting of daily life in Ypsilanti, traveling with her young family to Europe in 1904, and summering in Northern Michigan, it is a comprehensive illustration of one woman's life over fifty years.  

  • Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1886 March to 1887 October

    The diary of Jennie Pease D’Ooge dated from March 1886 to October 1887 begins on D'Ooge's 29th birthday, eight months after her marriage to Benjamin L. D'Ooge. It documents Jennie's pregnancy with her first child, Ida Joanna D'Ooge, birth in February 1887, and early months of motherhood; Benjamin's appointment to the chair of Greek and Latin at the Michigan State Normal School in Ypsilanti, following the resignation of Joseph P. Vroman; the couple's summer visit to Grand Rapids and Macatawa Park; and their move from Ann Arbor to Ypsilanti. Jennie and Benjamin rent a house in Ypsilanti, attend the First Congregational Church of Ypsilanti, and get involved with the local community, while maintaining ties with Ann Arbor and University of Michigan society. Jennie chronicles her daily household, social, and recreation activities; her involvement with the University Musical Society Choral Union, Congregational and Presbyterian churches, a missionary society, and other local organizations; and the lives of a wide circle of family and friends. She reads extensively; studies German, French, and Latin; takes sketching and watercolor lessons; plays tennis; and regularly attends lectures and theatrical and musical performances. She also comments on world events, including labor strikes, debates over Irish home rule, and the construction of the Panama Canal. The telegraph, the telephone, steamships, and the railroad enable members of the Pease and D'Ooge families to communicate and to travel across Michigan and the United States and overseas. For more local travel, Jennie and Benjamin walk on foot, take streetcars and interurbans, and ride in horse-drawn phaetons, barouches, and other carriages, either rented from a livery or borrowed from a friend. The diary includes drawings, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera.
  • Diary of J.P. D’Ooge from 1887 October to 1890 June

    The diary of Jennie Pease D’Ooge dated from October 1887 to June 1890 chronicles the D'Ooge family's increasingly busy homelife, social engagements, and activities in the community, as well as the career of Jennie's husband, Benjamin L. D'Ooge, a professor of Greek and Latin at Michigan State Normal School in Ypsilanti. In July 1888, they move from Ellis Street to a rented house at 423 Ballard Street. The couple's first daughter, Ida Joanna, is joined by a second, Helen Irene, in May 1889. The diary records the children's milestones and daily occurrences, especially the phrases and mannerisms of little Ida that Jennie finds funny. Ida's "baby talk" provides a glimpse of the D'Ooges' parenting styles and values. Jennie regularly suffers from "bilious headaches," has a number of dental visits, and experiences pain after weaning Ida and again when beginning to breastfeed Helen, the children are occasionally afflicted with stomachaches or sore throats, and "La Grippe" briefly sweeps through the family during the 1889-1890 influenza pandemic, but overall the family is in good health.

    Ben publishes Colloquia Latina in 1888. He and Jennie appear to be gaining financial stability. They purchase real estate in Detroit and Grand Rapids, in addition to investments in Minneapolis and Sault Ste. Marie, and in June 1890 buy land on Normal Street on Ypsilanti, where they hope one day to build a home. Jennie sews some clothing for herself and her daughters, but more often she hires a seamstress or orders custom garments from a dressmaker in Pennsylvania. Jennie is again assisted by a live-in nurse during and after childbirth. The family employs a series of young women, including Phebe Crownover from the Industrial Home for Girls in Adrian, to help with housework and childcare. They adopt a kitten, followed by a puppy, whom they name Rab.

    Outside of the house, the D'Ooges are heavily involved with the First Congregational Church of Ypsilanti. Jennie is elected secretary and treasurer of the Ladies' Aid Society and president of the Young Woman's Missionary Society, teaches the Sunday School infant class, and participates in the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor (YPSCE), Home Missionary Society, and Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). Ben steps down from his role as president of the Young People's Missionary Society (YPMS) but continues as deacon and becomes superintendent of the Sunday School. Both are also active in academic and arts organizations in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. She is a member of the Sappho Club, a music appreciation and performance group, and the Ladies' Literary Club in Ypsilanti, and he participates in University of Michigan alumni events and goes to Schoolmaster's Club in Ann Arbor.

    Jennie and Ben spend time with their siblings, parents, and extended family in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. They visit Detroit to shop or conduct business. Their summers are spent at a shared cottage in Charlevoix, where they boat, fish, and relax outdoors. In August 1889, a sailboat capsizes in Lake Michigan with Ben and his niece, Jennie Utterwick, aboard. They are rescued, but it is a frightening experience. Jen Utterwick dies of tuberculosis in December.
  • Book 07

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1896 December to 1899 July
  • Book 08

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1899 July to 1901 January
  • Book 09

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1901 January to 1902 March
  • Book 10

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1902 March to 1903 June
  • Book 11

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1903 June to 1904 May
  • Book 12

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1904 May to 1906 May
  • Book 13

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1906 May to 1907 November
  • Book 14

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1907 November to 1907 December
  • Book 15

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1909 January to 1909 June
  • Book 16

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1909 June to 1910 August
  • Book 17

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1910 August to 1911 May
  • Book 18

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1911 May to 1912 January
  • Book 19

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1912 January to 1913 March
  • Book 20

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1913 March to 1914 September
  • Book 21

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1914 September to 1915 October
  • Book 23

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1916 October to 1917 September
  • Book 24

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1917 September to 1919 September
  • Book 25

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1920 January to 1921 December
  • Book 26

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1921 December to 1922 July
  • Book 27

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1922 July to 1923 December
  • Book 28

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1923 December to 1924 December
  • Book 29

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1925 January to 1925 July
  • Book 30

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1926 June to 1927 May
  • Book 31

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1927 May to 1928 January
  • Book 32

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1928 January to 1928 December
  • Book 33

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1929 January to 1930 January
  • Book 34

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1930 January to 1930 December
  • Book 35

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1931 January to 1932 January
  • Book 36

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1932 January to 1933 January
  • Book 37

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1933 January to 1934 September
  • Book 38

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1934 September to 1935 February
  • Book 39

    Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1934 July to 1934 September
  • Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1893 July to 1894 June

    The fifth volume of Jennie Pease D’Ooge’s diary is comparatively short, spanning less than a year, from July 1893 to June 1894. It begins with Jennie and husband Benjamin L. D’Ooge’s two-week visit to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Jennie gives an almost-daily account of the fair’s highlights, disappointments, and novelties, and the accompanying overwhelm and frustration. She rides the Ferris Wheel, sees Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show, and witnesses the burning of the Cold Storage Building. She also makes a side trip with a relative to her hometown, Salem, Wisconsin, to visit her aunt Charlotte and old friend Lelia Runkel.

    Shortly after returning to Michigan, Jennie and Ben, along with their three children, travel north by train to their summer cottage in Charlevoix. Flora Cattermole, their hired girl, joins them to help with household chores and childcare. The summer is spent, with friends from Ypsilanti and elsewhere, fishing, sketching, picnicking, bathing in Lake Michigan, attending church and amateur plays, and boating. The D’Ooges and their friends Bastian and Helen Smits purchase a yacht together, christened the “Helen.” The family stops in Grand Rapids en route to Ypsilanti for a family gathering, or “Kring” in Dutch, with Ben’s mother, siblings, and cousins. The D’Ooges continue to rent 423 Ballard Street in Ypsilanti.

    Hinting at the Panic of 1893, Jennie remarks on Christmas Day 1893 that she is thankful for what she and her family have “when there are so many thousands starving and cold this winter” and notes that Detroit alone has needed $10,000 per week “to feed the poor who could not get work.”

    Jennie alludes to a marital issue in March 1894, which appears to have been resolved and left her feeling more grateful for her husband and family. The D’Ooges’ two daughters, Ida and Helen, attend kindergarten and play with classmates and neighborhood friends. Their youngest child, Leonard, is becoming more talkative and making progress with toilet training, but Jennie worries about him for reasons she does not specify. She meticulously tends to her children’s sore throats, earaches, colds, and croupy coughs with homeopathic remedies. When a young girl in her Sunday School class dies, Jennie is critical of her parents for attributing their daughter’s death to God’s will, rather than a lack of care on their part.

    Galusha Jackson Pease, Jennie’s aging father, is ill and frightened of death, which grieves her. She and Ben try to help her older sister, Ida Pease, sort out his business matters. Ida is their father’s primary caretaker, as well as landlady to several students from the University of Michigan who rent rooms in the Peases’ Ann Arbor home.

    Jennie has difficulty managing her household accounts on the allowance she is given by Ben. Flora leaves once again and is replaced by a succession of servants: Blanche Scott, Fannie Collier, and Mamie Dickerson. The young women are often unable to handle the laundry, so Jennie hires Mary James or, on one occasion, Wealthy Sherman, a Black woman, to come in and wash clothes. Mrs. Farnam (or Farnum) helps make and make-over clothing, but Jennie still spends many late nights sewing, mending, and darning.

    The pressures of her family concerns, household stressors, and domestic duties take a toll on Jennie’s mental health in this volume. She describes “the everyday grinding at the home-mill” and writes she “[is] happy as [she] used to be, one day, and the next – [she is] down-cast by a single word or look.”

    In addition to his position as Professor of Greek and Latin at the Michigan State Normal School, Ben gives public talks, reads a paper before the Philological Society at Ann Arbor, and travels to evaluate a school elsewhere in Michigan for the State Board of Education. Richard Gause Boone becomes president of the Michigan State Normal School, replacing John M. B. Sill.
  • Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1894 June to 1896 December

    Jennie Pease D’Ooge’s sixth diary spans two and a half years, from June 1894 to December 1896. She, her husband, Benjamin L. D’Ooge, and their children, continue to reside at 423 Ballard Street in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and spend their summers up north in Charlevoix. Jennie’s father, Galusha Jackson Pease, dies on August 15, 1894. Her elder sister, Ida Pease, who had been his primary caregiver, takes the loss hard and plans to build a cottage in Charlevoix. While the D’Ooges are occupied with numerous domestic, social, church, and professional responsibilities, they occasionally break away for fun activities, like a “family nutting-party.”

    The D’Ooges’ daughters, Ida and Helen, are growing more independent. Ida makes a solo overnight trip to her uncle Martin L. D’Ooge’s house in Ann Arbor, and Helen travels with her aunt Ida Pease by train to visit cousins Ed and Nan Codington in Bartow, Florida. Jennie and Ben’s son Leonard is described as “the best natured boy in the whole world,” although Jennie is frustrated that he continues to wet his pants. On March 26, 1895, the couple welcome their fourth child and second son, Benjamin Stanton D’Ooge, whom they call Stanton.

    Around the same time as her own baby’s birth, Jennie records the deaths due to childbirth-related complications of two other women with connections to the Michigan State Normal School, Helen Stirling Bowen and Hattie Jenness Coe. While breastfeeding Stanton, Jennie develops cracked skin, followed by a painful abscess and “ague in the breast,” requiring weeks of medical treatment.

    Jennie is busy with housework and childcare, aided at times by seamstress Mrs. Farnham, washerwoman Mary James, postpartum nurse Amy Jones, and others. Over the course of this volume, the D’Ooges employ several young women in succession as live-in domestic servants, including Mamie Dickerson, Addie Wheaton, Minnie Ellenbush, Minnie Krause, and Carrie Smith. Jennie struggles to balance household duties but is likewise frequently frustrated by the young women she employs, who often fail to meet her standards. After a year of difficulty managing the family’s finances on her allowance, she cedes control over the purse to her husband, “leaving a state of debt & disaster to be settled.” Later, she begins managing the household accounts again, allocated one hundred dollars a month for everything but Ben’s expenses.

    Ben continues to teach Latin and Greek at the Michigan State Normal School, in spite of the “great rumpus” about Normal president Richard G. Boone’s administration. Some faculty members ask to resign, and Jennie hopes Dr. Boone will resign instead. She is distressed, among other things, by the poor manners and enormous appetites of Boone’s children. Outside of his regular teaching responsibilities, Ben spends much of 1895 completing his edition of Viri Romae, which is published by Guin & Co. in October and proves a success. The following summer he teaches classes and tutors Latin students in person and by correspondence. In addition to promoting his book, Ben is elected vice president of the Charlevoix Summer Home Association, as well as trustee and chorister at Ypsilanti’s First Congregational Church.

    Jennie notes “great excitement over the N.Y. election,” when Republican Levi P. Morton defeated Tammany Democrat David Hill for the governorship in 1894, “and great victories for the Republicans all over.” She also discusses the “Great Freeze,” back-to-back cold snaps in the winter of 1894–1895, which devastated agriculture in the southern United States (directly impacting her cousin Ed Codington in Bartow, Florida) and disrupted transportation and supply routes nationwide.
  • Diary of J.P. D’Ooge from 1890 June to 1892 March

    "In her diary spanning June 1890 to March 1892, Jennie Pease D'Ooge documents her daily activities and thoughts, family and community news, and memorable moments with her young children. She has pasted numerous clippings from newspapers and periodicals into the front and back of this volume, including poetry and articles on diverse topics (e.g. parenthood, the population of Michigan towns and cities, Richard Wagner, how men and women try on shoes differently), some serious and others humorous. Throughout the book, she encloses newspaper articles pertaining to her family or topics of interest to her, as well as fabric swatches and other ephemera.

    Jennie and her husband Benjamin L. D'Ooge continue to be busy raising their children, improving their rented house on Ballard Street, and maintaining a large familial and social network. They travel via ship on the Great Lakes to their cottage in Charlevoix each summer, along with many other Michigan State Normal School faculty families. After learning she is pregnant for a third time, Jennie worries about managing her household and parenting responsibilities. Her elder sister, Ida Pease, is an invaluable source of support for her. A son, Leonard, is born in April 1891, joining daughters Ida and Helen. His eczema concerns Jennie, as do the children's occasional illnesses, which she treats with homeopathic remedies. The 1890-1891 influenza pandemic, ""La Grippe,"" surges in spring 1891 and again in winter 1891-1892.

    Jennie remains active in numerous religious and secular organizations, including the Ladies' Aid Society, Young Woman's Missionary Society, Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor, and Sappho Club, but resigns some of her leadership positions. Her husband, Benjamin L. D'Ooge, steps down from his role as superintendent of Sunday School and begins teaching a class in Italic dialects at the University of Michigan. The D'Ooges' domestic servant from the Industrial School for Girls in Adrian, Phebe Crownover, returns home, and her place is taken by Emma Johnson, who is replaced shortly thereafter by Lillie Nicholson in November 1890.

    The advent of the Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Street Railway in January 1891 makes intercity travel faster, easier, and more affordable. Jennie enjoys a stroll in the sunshine with her children or an evening walk on her own, but she also uses the ""motor"" for travel within Ypsilanti, especially when it is muddy or she is tired. Jennie's sister and their father, Galusha Jackson Pease, live in Ann Arbor, and the two households have regular contact. Ben's brother, Martin L. D'Ooge, a professor at the University of Michigan, and their mother and siblings from Grand Rapids and elsewhere make frequent appearances in the diary. Jennie and Ben correspond by mail and telegram with more distant relatives. Jennie's maternal grandfather, Obil Deuel, dies in southern California in September 1891, leaving much of his $7500 estate to his four grandchildren."
  • Diary of J.P. D’Ooge from 1892 March to 1893 June

    "Jennie Pease D’Ooge’s March 1892 to June 1893 diary chronicles her daily life in Ypsilanti, Michigan, local visits to Ann Arbor and Detroit, and summers in Charlevoix. She and her husband, Benjamin L. D'Ooge, co-parent their three children, with support from a hired domestic servant, Jennie’s sister and father in Ann Arbor, and neighbors. Their daughters Ida and Helen attend kindergarten and have playdates with neighborhood friends, and their son Leonard learns to walk and talk. Jennie notes that it is challenging to keep more than a basic record of events and activities in her diary, because the children demand so much of her time and attention.

    This fourth volume is the first in which Jennie does not give birth to a child. Hashes appear to mark when Jennie is “sick,” i.e. having a menstrual period. In late October 1892, following about two months of feeling tired and unwell, she is “taken sick” and must call for the doctor. Beyond this acute episode, Jennie regularly reports fatigue, backaches, and “bilious” headaches, perhaps migraines, among other ailments. She treats herself and her children with homeopathic remedies, and her knowledge is such that a friend nicknames her “Dr. D’Ooge” and comes to her when the doctor is unavailable.

    While Jennie tries to minimize her church and club responsibilities and delegate work to others, she remains active in numerous organizations. Her activities include: fundraising for the First Congregational Church’s new parsonage, teaching the Sunday School infant class, attending and presenting on musical topics at Sappho Club meetings, and giving papers to the Young Woman’s Missionary Society. Jennie finds little time to read during this time period, but she frequently attends academic lectures, musical and theatrical performances, teas, picnics, and dinner parties. She and Ben become close friends with the new pastor of their church and his wife, Bastian and Helen Smits, and spend many evenings playing Logomachy, a word game created in the 1880s. The two couples consider purchasing a yacht together in Charlevoix.

    Diary entries and accounting ledgers in the back of the book reveal much about Jennie’s personal finances, her attitudes toward women’s economic autonomy, and how she and her husband view their respective roles within the household. Ben pays Jennie an allowance, which she feels she “at least” earns through her household work. Additionally, she maintains her own investments, collects interest on cash she has loaned her husband and others, and receives more than $1500 from her maternal grandfather’s estate. Following disagreements with Jennie and Ben over her behavior, Lillie Nicholson, the D’Ooges’ domestic servant from the Industrial School for Girls in Adrian, quits. For the time Jennie is without a “girl,” Ben pays her $2.50 a week to either hire someone to do household chores or to do them herself. Jennie records these payments and expenses carefully in her diary. The additional work is taxing on her body and she is relieved to welcome back a previous servant girl, Flora Cattermole. The D’Ooges are having the kitchen and bathroom of their rented house at 423 Ballard Street plumbed for hot water, which Jennie anticipates will save steps and labor.

    Friends returning from Europe give Jennie accounts of being quarantined due to the 1892 cholera outbreak in Hamburg. She remarks upon the historic second inauguration of President Grover Cleveland in March 1893. On April 12, 1893, Ypsilanti is struck by a cyclone. The D’Ooges’ neighborhood is spared, but for months the “cyclone district” remains a point of interest for visitors. The World’s Columbian Exposition, or World’s Fair, opens in Chicago on May 1, 1893, and Jennie and Ben, along with many in their circle, make plans to attend during the summer."
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