59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum

A Finding Aid to the George Haskell Willoughby Diaries, 1879-1886, 2008

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard Museum, Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
Call NumberRU 431
Creator Willoughby, George Haskell, 1855-1930
TitleGeorge Haskell Willoughby diaries
Date1879-1886, 2008
Extent1/2 box
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection contains three diaries, 1879-1886, kept by George Haskell Willoughby of Edgartown, Massachusetts, which describe the weather, daily chores, social encounters, excursions and provide detailed household accounts. A 2008 biographical sketch of Willoughby and transcripts of the diaries are also included.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use and Reproduction Restrictions

Requests to reproduce material from this collection should be directed to the library's staff. Reproduction fees may apply.

Preferred Citation

Martha's Vineyard Museum, RU 431, George Haskell Willoughby Diaries.

Acquisition Information

Gift of George Haskell Willoughby's great-granddaughter, Liz Willoughby Fitzsimmons in 2008. (Accession no. 2008.042)

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Insley Julier January 2013. Machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick April 2014.

 Processing of this collection and creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, and West Tisbury through the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act. Machine-encoding of the finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Index Terms

Family Name(s)

  • Willoughby family


  • Diaries
  • Transcripts

Geographic Name(s)

  • Chappaquiddick Island (Mass.)
  • Edgartown (Mass.)
  • Rumney (N.H.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Fitzsimmons, Elizabeth Willoughby


  • Agriculture
  • Daily life
  • Weather

Biography/Historical Note

George Haskell Willoughby was born August 14, 1855 in Lowell, Massachusetts to Edward Kendall Willoughby and Georgianna Richards Willoughby. He was the youngest of four children, including, Ella, Mary and Edward Oliver. After his birth Willoughby's parents moved to Woburn, Massachusetts, where Willoughby grew up. On April 21, 1878, George Willoughby married his first cousin, Maria Ann Downing. In 1879 the couple moved to Martha's Vineyard, settling on Chappaquiddick, where they ran a farm and raised vegetables, poultry and bees. They sold eggs and often bartered for other provisions. Willoughby also spent time hunting, trapping, clamming and fishing. George Willoughby and Maria had six children, Walter Irving, Leo Alfred, Mona Helen, Violet Ada, Elroy Kendall and Hattie Edna. In 1883, the family moved to east Rumney, New Hampshire. By 1885 they had returned to Martha's Vineyard. Willoughby worked as a gardener and landscaper. Eventually the couple separated, with George Willoughby splitting his time between New Hampshire and Edgartown. Maria remained in Edgartown until she died in 1925. George Willoughby died in 1930.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection contains three diaries kept by George Haskell Willoughby, 1879-1882. The 1882 diary also contains some 1885-1886 accounts. Willoughby makes brief daily entries in the diaries recording the weather, his work, property repairs, excursions, fish, fowl and game he has captured, social encounters, provisions purchased and other daily household income and expenses. The collection also includes a biographical sketch of George Willoughby and typed transcripts of the diaries created by Willoughby's great-granddaughter, Elizabeth (Liz) Willoughby Fitzsimmons in 2008.


The collection is arranged chronologically.

Collection Contents


Diary, 1879-1880 


Diary, 1881 


Diary, 1882, 1885-1886 


Biographical Sketch and Transcript, 2008