This typed transcript of a diary kept by Delaware College student Joseph Cleaver for the period 1853-1854 describes student life at the college, the curriculum, and Cleaver’s involvement in the Athenaean Literary Society.
The entries are, with a few exceptions, daily and written in a narrative style. Cleaver related his everyday routine as well as various experiences at the college, such as making new acquaintances, attending lectures, and becoming involved in student organizations. He documented many of the pranks played by the students over the course of the year, with frequent references to faculty and others who lived in Newark near the college.
Two letters are tipped into the bound volume: one undated from Miss Florence C. Hall, niece of Joseph Cleaver, and a second, 1950, from Miss Jane C. Clark, a "distant cousin," both of Delaware City. The diary, edited by William Ditto Lewis, was published in Delaware Notes and later by J.H. Furst Co. in 1951. In his foreword of the book, editor William Ditto Lewis noted that the original manuscript of Joseph Cleaver's diary has "perished."