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Excerpts from the diary of Elizabeth Babcock Leonard

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This diary was written by Elizabeth Babcock Leonard (1810-1892). What makes it unusual is that it is written from the perspective of her only child, Eliza Leonard (1841-1933). Elizabeth was the wife of Theodore Leonard, a businessman and mill operator. The family first lived in Boston and soon after the birth of their daughter purchased a home in nearby Dudley. But only months later, in late 1842, a "great embarrassment" with Theodore's business--it probably was forced into bankruptcy--led to their return to Boston. By 1848 they had relocated to Greenfield, in Western Massachusetts, where Theodore, his fortune restored, had purchased the Greenfield Manufacturing Company. He ran the company until 1872. The Leonards settled into the life of the community. Prosperous and active, Leonard, Elizabeth, and, later, Eliza, all became central figures in Greenfield. Leonard, for example, participated in the town's assistance of its soldiers during the Civil War and was one of the group of prominent persons that formed the Prospect Hill School; Eliza later served on the boards of the newly created public hospital and the animal welfare society. A street in the town is named after them; their first home was located there. Eliza never married.


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