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Leaf from the Diary of George Combe Mann, describing the death of his older brother Horace Mann, Jr., 1868
- A single octavo leaf (approximately 6" x 7.75") written on both sides from the Diary of George Combe Mann. One margin a little irregularly cut, affecting a few letters but not affecting the readability of the leaf, old folds, near fine.Both Horace, Jr. and George were the sons of Horace Mann (died 1859), the Father of American Education, and Mary Peabody Mann, one of the illustrious Peabody Sisters, a reformer, teacher, and founder of a successful school for young children (her sister Elizabeth Putnam Peabody was a reformer and pioneer in the creation of kindergartens, and her other sister Sophia Peabody was a painter, and the wife of Nathaniel Hawthorne).Horace and Mary Mann had three sons: Horace Mann, Jr., George Combe Mann, and Benjamin Pickman Mann. The eldest, Horace Mann, Jr. was an accomplished botanist who studied and traveled with Henry David Thoreau. Mann also studied zoology with Louis Agassiz and was responsible for discovering over 100 plants species in Hawaii. Mann was named to head the botanical gardens at Harvard, but died of tuberculosis at age twenty-four before he could fill the position. His personal herbarium of approximately 12,500 sheets was purchased in 1869 by Andrew Dickson White as the first accession into the Cornell University Herbarium.The diary leaf in the 22-year-old George Mann's hand, covers two sides of one leaf, begins on November 11, 1868, the day of his brother's death, and continues on the other side, with entries through November 18th (the entry for the 18th may be incomplete).Mann's entry for November 11th, in a clear and readable hand, is exceedingly poignant:"At a few minutes before 2 p.m. Horace coughed a little harder than usual, and mother spoke to him. He answered 'I was trying to stop a hiccough,' adding, immediately, 'in the eastern provinces they say that is death.' She went out a minute, and returned to find him with his eyes fixed, gasping for breath. She called me, who tried to raise him a little, but he gasped five or six times, at intervals of a few seconds, and ceased to breathe.He had been comfortable all day. After his [d?]rain was driven out this morning he said he almost wished he had it to drive out again, it felt so deliciously. He wanted mother to be with him all the time, kept repeating how comfortable he was, and wanted to continue just as he was. He enjoyed the day, it seemed, as much as any one in his life, so perfectly calm and tranquil was he.But it was the calm which he now enjoys in full. His temperament made living hard, even in health, - an invalid, intolerable. But he lived better than we realized, and in his death I find an untold loss!"On the 13th he notes:"We had service here at 4 o'clock. Dr. Peabody officiated, and Mrs. Gould and Dr. & Mrs. Vaughan sang. Brigham staid here last night."On the 14th: "We went to Providence at 11 o'clock - mother, Aunt Lizzie, Mary Peabody, Dr. Gould, Ben and I, - where we found Aunt Lydia, the Messers and Arthur Knapp. It was a beautiful day and the short service at the grave was very satisfactory. We dined at Aunt Lydia's and returned at 4, getting home at 7 p.m. Everything was calm and quiet. It is all over!"On the 16th: "Mother's 62nd birthday. Went in to Mr. Brigham's office again."On the 17th: "Attended to Horace's accounts in the evening."The entry on the 18th is truncated: "Snow in the night and rain all day - Read 150pp. of Greenleaf on Evidence."Unique primary source material on the death of a promising young botanist.From the estate of Horace Mann, III (died 1978), the son of George Combe Mann.
      [Bookseller: Between the Covers-Rare Books, Inc. ABAA]
Last Found On: 2017-07-27           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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