A backwards season

September 18, 2012 · Collections, Manuscripts ·

Is it global warming, or isn’t it? In a new acquisition for our collection, in 1827 Richard Bacon of Simsbury, Connecticut, may have thought so. In May he wrote: “The first part of the month quite warm + pleasant the latter part quite cold + the season backward.” In May, that trend continued:” The spring may be said to be quite cold and backwards hay was very short altho not scarce as was anticipated in consequence of a few warm days in April” and he complained of “many rainy days this month.” It sounds almost like Connecticut’s spring 2012.

The book covers 1827 to 1831. Many months Robert gave only a summary of the weather; for others he recorded nearly daily. And that was not all he recorded. On June 2 someone named Charles, who was 18, died at 8:00 in the evening; on June 20, the heifer went to the bull. One of his more interesting entries was made in September, which had been a very rainy month. He wrote, “My self at Granby at work on the locks on the night of the 19th about 10 o’clock fell into the Salmon Brook on the upper side of the culvert & was drawn thro the Center Timbers + with the asssitance of J. Ennis got out almost unhurt.”

Do modern scientists look at diaries such as this one to help measure climate change? I know they sample ice cores and things like that, but what about written materials? Anyone know a scientist we could ask?

To read the entire diary, visit our research center and ask for Ms 101628.

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