The Fithian Diaries

Occasionally someone will ask me how they can read the diaries of Philip Vickers Fithian. (A curious gentleman at the Philadelphia Roundtable last night asked me about this). A good portion of them have been published and can be found in the following volumes:

Hunter Dickinson Farish, ed., Journal and Letters of Philip Vickers Fithian 1773-1774: A Plantation Tutor of the Old Dominion (University of Virginia Press, 1968). This volume includes the rich and detailed diary Philip kept while he was a tutor on Robert Carter III’s plantation on Virginia’s Northern Neck. (While I was in Pittsburgh last weekend my friend Eric found an old hardback copy of the diary at a University of Pittsburgh used book store)

Robert Greenhalgh Albion and Leonidas Dodson, ed., Philip Vickers Fithian: journal, 1775-1776, written on the Virginia-Pennsylvania frontier and in the army around New York (Princeton University Press, 1934). This diary, as the title suggestes, cover his years in the backcountry and as a chaplain with the Continental Army in New York.

John Williams, ed., Philip Vickers Fithian: Journal And Letters, 1767-1774; Student At Princeton College, 1770-72 (Kessinger Publishing, 2007; originally publised by Princeton University Press, 1908). This volume contains random letters and diary entries from Fithian’s years at the College of New Jersey.

All of the Fithian papers and diaries are located at Princeton University’s Firestone Library. There is much material in these papers that is not published.

In conjunction with an article I published about Fithian in 2003, the Journal of American History put hundreds of pages of Fithian’s writings on-line. The site, which is part of the journal’s “Teaching the JAH” feature, includes the article and study questions suitable for the high school and undergraduate classroom. I will try to get a link to these writings on the book website soon.

Fithian’s diaries make for great reading. I am always amazed how many people I run across who have read them.

2 thoughts on “The Fithian Diaries

  1. Hey John, believe it or not, I had not seen the teaching component for your 2003 article until now. It looks fabulous, and I plan to use it in my classes next year.


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