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

Item

Title
Diary of J.P. D'Ooge from 1901 January to 1902 March
Creator
Electa Jane (Jennie) Pease D'Ooge
Description
The diary of Jennie Pease D’Ooge dated from January 1901 to March 1902 chronicles the final months of her family’s two-year stay in Germany and their return to the United States. Her husband, Benjamin L. D’Ooge, on sabbatical from his teaching position at the Michigan State Normal College, completes his doctoral Arbeit (dissertation) and oral exam and earns a Ph.D. from the University of Bonn. Their four children – Ida, Helen, Len, and Stanton – attend school and befriend local children. The family, accompanied by Jennie’s older sister, Ida Pease, continues to rent rooms from Frau Taxer and Fräulein Cornetius at Luisenstrasse 38 in Poppelsdorf, a district of Bonn. The suit filed against the D’Ooges by their former landlords, the Meningens (or Menningens, Menningers), is settled in February 1901.

This volume is peppered with German words and phrases, as Jennie practices the language and describes local customs. Sewing and mending still demand a lot of her time, but she finds great pleasure in learning Schnitzen, or woodcarving, writing: “I am so interested in my Schnitzing that I can hardly stop long enough to attend to my family’s most pressing needs. It is the most fun I have had in many a day.” She also helps Ben correct his proof of Cicero: Select Orations for Ginn and Company, as well as his dissertation.

In April 1901, while Ben travels to Milan, Florence, and Rome, Jennie takes a 17-day solo trip by train to Berlin and Dresden, returning via Meissen and Leipzig. This is the longest she has been away from her husband and children, and she writes: “Such a luxury not to think of anything about work or anything but selfish pleasure. I wish that every mother could ‘run away from school’ this way, once in a while.” She visits numerous landmarks, enjoys long hours in art museums, attends several opera performances, and proudly economizes wherever possible. In Berlin, Jennie also spends time with Maude Jerome Sherzer, wife of MSNC geology professor William H. Sherzer. “She [Mrs. Sherzer] has had a hard time over here; and seems to be almost bitter against all married life in general. Thinks it is a ‘slave’s life’ and so it often is. But would we be as happy under any other conditions? I say No, a thousand times No.”

In June 1901, the D’Ooges leave Bonn, traveling by steamer down the Rhine River to Rotterdam, where they board the Holland America Line’s SS Statendam bound for New York. Once they recover from their seasickness, the travelers enjoy playing cards and shuffleboard, spotting whales and porpoises, reading, and resting. Jennie and Ben celebrate their sixteenth wedding anniversary at sea. The D’Ooges reach New York City in the midst of a heat wave, so, after just a brief visit, they take the train to Detroit and then on to Ypsilanti.

Jennie records the assassination of President William McKinley in September 1901. “In every city the day [of his funeral] was observed by stoppage of work & special memorial church services.” Otherwise, the normal rhythms of life resume: summer in Charlevoix full of sailing, swimming, dancing, German lessons, and socializing; setting up a new rented home in Ypsilanti, canning pineapple sent from cousins in Florida, and playing golf in the fall; and clubs, entertaining, church fundraisers, doctoring illnesses, and “the grind of house-work & mending” in the winter.

Jennie joins the Whist Club, is elected president of the Ladies’ Aid Society of Ypsilanti’s First Congregational Church, and participates in the Sketching Club at MSNC art instructor Hilda Lodeman’s studio. Ida and Helen formally join the Congregational Church in January 1902. “What a busy, rushing life!” Jennie writes, “The girls have no time to do anything.” The D’Ooges again employ young women as live-in domestic servants, including Harriet Biery, Bertha Thompson, Mabel Love, and Jennie de Boer.

Ben returns to summer school and his regular teaching duties, finishes his Cicero proof, gives lectures on topics such as Athens, Rome, and Pompeii, and travels on business to New York, New Haven, and Boston. He hopes for a position at Yale or Teachers College, Columbia University. Jennie agrees with a friend who says: “We have our heads up looking for a bigger town.”
Date Span
1901 January to 1902 March
Original Object Type
Paper journal
Subject
Ann Arbor (Mich.); Art and recreation; Baking; Berlin (Germany); Bonn (Germany); Books and reading; Charlevoix (Mich.); Congregational churches; Cooking; Diaries; Detroit (Mich.); Dresden (Germany); Etiquette; Families; Family recreation; Friendship; Germany; German language; Grand Rapids (Mich.); Holiday; Home economics; Manners and customs; Michigan; Michigan State Normal College; Motherhood; Music; New York (NY); Parenthood; Parenting; Recreation; Sewing; Social life and customs; Societies and clubs; Theater; Transportation; Travel; University families; University of Michigan; University towns; University women; Vacation homes; Ypsilanti (Mich.)
Collection Location
Box 9
Cataloger
Alexis Braun Marks, Katie Delahoyde
Date Digital File Created
January 2024
Relation
04.JD
Rights
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for educational uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the owner, Eastern Michigan University Archives (lib_archives@emich.edu).
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. In addition, no permission is required from the rights-holder(s) for educational uses. For other uses, you need to obtain permission from the owner, Eastern Michigan University Archives (lib_archives@emich.edu).
Item sets
D'Ooge Journals