Diary of Captain Samuel Tillinghast

Samuel Tillinghast

Captain Samuel Tillinghast (1711-1787) of Warwick, Rhode Island kept a shop, a sloop and, fortuitously for historians, a diary. From 1757 to 1766 Tillinghast recorded daily events--visits, illnesses, deaths, and most consistently, the weather--in a series of handmade journals created by interleaving blank sheets with pages from the popular Ames’ Almanack. The Library holds the volumes covering 1761 to 1766 (other years are kept by the Rhode Island Historical Society and the Newport Historical Society), and researchers have used Tillinghast’s regular observations of climatic conditions to understand the environmental history of Narragansett Bay. Our volumes also offer charming examples of 18th century children’s drawings, most likely made by Tillinghast’s grandchildren, who used the journals to practice their handwriting and artistic skills.




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