Texas Joins the Battle
Diary of Mariana Thompson, July 30, 1861

Although accession data is lacking, this 1860s diary by Mariana Thompson of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is almost certainly that of the woman who grew up to be Mariana Thompson Folsom, one of the first suffragists in Texas. Mariana grew up in a Quaker household in Pennsylvania and Iowa. The diary records her thoughts from ages 16 to 18, from going riding and eating ice cream with her friends to meeting good-looking boys to her dreams of going to college and her sadness over the Civil War.

Mariana did go to college, receiving a degree from St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, then becoming a Universalist minister. Universalism is a creed that rejects the idea of hell, believing it incompatible with the idea of a loving God. Instead, Universalists taught that every person would eventually go to heaven. Even the worst person would have the opportunity to be punished, learn, and be saved. Closely associated with Transcendentalism and Unitarianism, beleivers included several well-known women: Louisa May Alcott, Clara Barton, and Susan B. Anthony.

When she was 26, Mariana Thompson married Allen Perez Folsom. A few years later, she became a lecturer in the cause of women's suffrage. The Folsoms moved to Texas in 1881, when Mariana was 36.

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Page from Mariana Thompson's diary

Mt. Pleasant July 30, 1861

I am sixteen years old today
and I have always thought that when I
got that old I should be a
young lady and I would keep
a journal, take care of my own
clothes. But how different I feel
from what I have always expected.
I do not feel much nearer a
young lady than I did three
years ago. And as for keeping a
journal I think I shall try that
and I suppose this shall be the
first of it. I do not expect to
record the incidents of every day
life yet I will try to write
down all I can remember from time
to time as I write and record
all the most important events.
This has been quite an exciting
day here. I have formed many
new resolutions today and this

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Mariana Thompson Diary, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 24, 2011