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LIVESEY, WILLIAM, 1802-1875.
William Livesey diaries, 1822-1875

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/ghs5k

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Livesey, William, 1802-1875.
Title: William Livesey diaries, 1822-1875
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 227
Extent: 0.6 cubic ft. (2 boxex)
Abstract:Consists of nine bound diaries composed by Rev. William Livesey during the years 1822 and 1875.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

May not be photocopied due to preservation concerns.


[after identification of item(s)], William Livesey Diaries, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Anne Graham, 2002; and Brandon Wason, 2015.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

William Livesey was born on March 8, 1802 in West Bradford, Yorkshire, in northern England. In 1822 Livesey converted to Wesleyan Methodism and received his license to preach in 1826. He sailed for America in May 1829 and accepted an appointment at Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In 1832 he married Sarah Crosby Johnson of Thompson, Connecticut. William and Sarah had one daughter. Both mother and daughter died sometime before 1848 when William Livesey married Ann Eliza Adams of Lucerne, New York. Ann Eliza was an abolitionist and met Livesey at the East Greenwhich Academy. The majority of Livesey's career was spent in the Providence Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Livesey became involved in the abolitionist movement and actively preached against the institution of slavery. In August 1846 he attended the first conference of the Evangelical Alliance, an organization that promoted cooperation among Protestant denominations. Livesey was among the eight hundred delegates attending the first meeting in London. He was interested in education and assisted in the creation of the Providence Conference Seminary as well as supporting the university at Middletown, Connecticut. In 1875 Livesey was serving in South Braintree, Massachusetts. As Livesey's health deteriorated he retired to the cottage in Martha's Vineyard he shared with Ann Eliza and their son, Olin L. Livesey (b. October 14, 1849). William Livesey died on September 2, 1875.

The following list shows many of his pastoral appointments in New England: Portsmouth Methodist Church (1829), Fairhaven Methodist Church (1830), West Thompson Methodist Church (1831, 1833), Eastford Methodist Church (1834), Sachem Street Methodist Church [Norwich, CT] (1835), East Main Street Methodist Church [Norwich, CT] (1835-1836), Warren Methodist Church (1840-1841), First Methodist Church [Taunton, MA] (1846), Matthewson Street Methodist Church [Providence, RI] (1848), Nantucket Methodist Church (1849), Catham Methodist Church (1850-1851), Centre Methodist Church [Provincetown, MA] (1852-1853), Manchester Methodist Church (1854-1855), East Greenwich Methodist Church (1857), Bristol Methodist Church (1858), Woonsocket Methodist Church (1859-1860), Thames Street Methodist Church [Newport, RI] (1861-1862), Fairhaven Methodist Church (1863-1864), First Methodist Church [Middleton, RI] (1866-1868), Plymouth Memorial Methodist Church (1869-1870), Quarry Street Methodist Church [Fall River, MA] (1871), Cottage City Methodist Church (1871-1872), Wareham Methodist Church (1873-1874), and South Braintree Methodist Church (1875)

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of nine bound diaries with an average of two hundred and fifty pages each. They were composed by Rev. William Livesey during the years 1822-1875. All entries are handwritten in pencil or ink. The first volume, "A record of my ministerial labours, mainly from memory," begins in the year 1922 and ends in 1853, although it is uncertain when the journal was actually composed. The end of the volume contains receipts and expenses for the years 1830-1853. The first volume describes ministerial activities and pertinent historical information about New England Methodism in the mid-nineteenth century. The second volume, "Journal of my voyage to and travels in England," contains long entries documenting Livesey's trip in 1846 from Warren, Rhode Island to attend the first Evangelical Alliance meeting in London. Much of Livesey's journal concerns debates between pro-slavery and abolitionist delegates, as well as attempts to bring a an anti-slavery resolution before the Alliance. He also describes his travels through Ireland and England, as well as a reunion with family members in Yorkshire. Included in the volume are two admission tickets to Evangelical Alliance meetings at the Freemason's Hall and Exeter Hall. The next seven volumes cover the period from 1870 to 1875. During this time Rev. Livesey served several counties in Massachusetts including Dukes, Essex, and Plymouth. The diary entries contain details of Livesey's pastoral activities as well as details from his day-to-day life and financial accounts.

There are two diaries for the year 1874. The first contains entries only for the month of January. The second volume begins with February and continues through December. Both volumes contain financial accounts for the entire year. The last volume consists of sporadic entries, the last of which is dated July 14, 1875.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 "A record of my ministerial labours, mainly from memory," 1822-1853
1 2 "Journal of my voyage to and travels in England," 1846
1 3 Untitled Diary, 1870
1 4 Untitled Diary, 1871
1 5 Untitled Diary, 1872
1 6 Untitled Diary, 1873
1 7 Untitled Diary, 1874 January
2 1 Untitled Diary, 1874 February to December
2 2 Untitled Diary, 1875