James Beebee Brinsmade Jr.’s diary offers intimate details of what life was like on Yale University’s campus in the 1840s. Brinsmade’s two-volume diary appears at auction today in the Printed & Manuscript Americana sale. A member of the class of 1845, his writings include everything from the typical freshman hijinks to campus political battles—a member of the Scroll & Key society, Brinsmade was unsuccessful in his campaign for class orator.
Rick Stattler with James B. Brinsmade’s manuscript diary from Yale University in the 1840s. Estimate: $3,000 to $4,000.
The diaries also include the first known reference to baseball at Yale. While Yale’s intercollegiate baseball team was not formed until 1872, Brinsmade launched an intramural club three decades earlier: “I proposed that we should get up a base ball club in our class. [Redford] entered into it finely and went right off and got the bats & ball made and this afternoon we had a glorious game on the green near the Methodist Church.” For more about the diaries and an interview with Americana specialist Rick Stattler, read the article in today’s New Haven Register.