Katherine Johnstone Brinley Wharton (1834-1925)

Historical Society of Philadelphia Call Number: MS.Coll.1861

The Wharton diaries are the most extensive in this study. When writing, she used every square inch of available paper, incorporated headings on each page, and pasted images or used calligraphy to decorate her pages.

Diaries 1856-1922

Tuesday April 8, 1856: went to Thornbeck’s Concert, rides omnibus

April, 1856: goes to Burd Monument. “it is certainly most beautiful. Every time I see such things I admire them more.” [Burd Family Monument in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 19 S. 10 th St. Philadelphia, PA]

Burd Monument

St. Stephen's Church

Sunday April 20th, 1856: “A journal is a great pleasure, but I earnestly hope no one will ever get hold of this!”

Saturday April 26, 1856: Goes to Navy Yard; goes on board the Susquehannah and saw the Wabash? “the great ship they are now building.” Went with her mother, and her friends Marjie and Mary [note that women were taking trips to the Navy Yard]

Vine Street Wharf

Monday May 5, 1856: “After my music lesson I went to the Academy with coz. Tom”

Wednesday May 14, 1856: Blind Asylum listed as a heading on page, but she cut the entry out. She cut a lot of entries out of her journal…probably going back and being embarrassed by what she wrote, or fearing someone else would read it.

Blind Asylum Images

Monday May 19, 1856: “We left the house at 4 o’clock and drove first to Girard College…I went to the college years ago but do not remember much about it. It is a noble building, and as Mrs. Duane is director, we went into the school rooms. There are 300 boys there. The view from the roof is most beautiful and Woodstock [she visited Woodstock a number of times] looked very pretty in its nest of trees. We then drove to Fairmount. The afternoon was delightful and as I sat once more under waving trees with the sound of rushing water in my ears, I longed for my dear Newport and thought how glad I’d be to get back.”

Image Source: http://www.brynmawr.edu/iconog/schwarz/48-11.jpg

Fairmount Park links:


Fairmount Park Images

City of Philadelphia: Fairmount Park

Saturday May 24, 1856: “Marjie and I went out early and by 12o’clock we had accomplished a great deal. We were at 7th and Chestnut and we walked to Walnut in order to get an omnibus and ride up to Ida’s…That was certainly a most remarkable omnibus. At one time 16 people including children were in it and a spirit of kindness seemed to pervade everyone.”

Summers in Newport, RI June-Sept. When she’s there, attends Trinity Church (Episcopal)

Image Source: http://www.rootsweb.com/~rinewpor/postcards/TrinityChurchFrontLater.jpg

Newport Historical Society

February 23, 1857: goes to see an Opera, doesn’t like it very much.

April 28, 1857: friend Elizabeth Meade marries Caldwell Biddle at St. James' Church (Episcopal)

April 30, 1857: visits Norristown for a weekend. “Quaint N[orristown] is always amusing"

May, 1857: mentions visit to Germantown

Germantown, PA

July 13, 1857: Her 20 th birthday (she was born July 13, 1837)


Some of the books she read in 1857:

Lectures on Life of Women (from French)

Story of My Life – A.C. Anderson

Cottage Lecture on Philgrim’s Progress-Vols 1 and 2

Voltaire’s Charles XIII

Life in India-Rev. J.W. Dulles

Infant’s Progress to Eglar

Stories from Italian Poets

Wuthering Heights

Jane Eyre

Life of Charlotte Bronte

Rellstab’s 1812

Henry Esmond Thackeray


1891 Social Register

Wharton, Mrs. Henry (Kate Brinley)

Wharton, Miss Fanny

Wharton, Miss Mary Chestnut Hill, PA

Wharton, Miss Emily

Wharton, Mr. Thomas I


1891 Blue Book Register

Wharton, Mrs. Henry, Gtn. Av. C. Hill


Correspondence Addresses:

February 22, 1919: 913 Pine St., Philadelphia, PA (letter from Henry Wharton, American YMCA US Army)

May 11, 1915: Alverthorpe (house in Chestnut Hill, Newport, Philadelphia?) (letter from cousin Dick B., in the army guarding German POWs)

April 24, 1900: Main St. Chesnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA (her return address)