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

A Finding Aid to the Esther Vincent Byrne Diaries, 1918-1960

Descriptive Summary

RepositoryMartha's Vineyard Museum
Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
(508) 627-4441
Call NumberRU 449
Creator Byrne, Esther Vincent, 1897-1979
TitleEsther Vincent Byrne diaries
Extent1 box + 1 oversize folder (0.514 cubic feet)
LanguageThe materials are in English.
AbstractThe collection consists of diaries created by Esther Vincent Byrne between 1918 and 1960 and one school certificate issued to Esther Walker Vincent. Esther Vincent Byrne, 1897-1979, was a beloved resident of Edgartown and a homemaker.

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, Record Unit 449, Esther Vincent Byrne Diaries.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Deborah Rogers in 2006.(Accession no. 2006.080).

Publication Information

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Gale Huntington Research Library
59 School Street
P.O. Box 1310
Edgartown, MA 02539
(508) 627-4441

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by Insley Julier in August 2013 and completed by Lara J. Ullman in May 2014. Finding aid was machine-encoded by Nathaniel Janick in March 2015.

 Creation of this finding aid was sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Related Materials

Related Material

The museum holds an oil painting and a drawing of Thomas Nevin Jernegan Dexter, see accession numbers 1950.006 and 1936.019 respectively.

Controlled Access Headings


  • Diaries
  • Certificates

Geographic Name(s)

  • Allston (Boston, Mass.)
  • Edgartown (Mass.)
  • Framingham (Mass.)
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)
  • Meriden (Conn.)
  • Oak Bluffs (Mass.)
  • Vineyard Haven (Mass.)
  • Wareham (Mass.)

Personal Name(s)

  • Byrne, Andrew J., 1890-1956
  • Byrne, Elizabeth
  • Byrne, Esther Vincent, 1897-1979
  • Strahl, Bernice
  • Strahl, John Laurie, 1891-1921
  • West, Grace Vincent


  • Daily Life--Massachusets--Edgartown
  • Housewives--Edgartown--Diaries
  • Housewives-Martha’s Vineyard--Diaries
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--1920
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--History, Local
  • Martha's Vineyard (Mass.)--Social life and customs

Biography/Historical Note

Esther Walker Vincent was born in Edgartown on July 20, 1897, to John Pierce Vincent and Etta Mayhew Vincent. Esther Walker Vincent had one older sister, Grace Vincent West. Esther attended local schools in Edgartown and participated in the Edgartown Federated Church Choir. At the age of 20, Esther Walker Vincent married John “Laurie” Strahl, whereafter she began her career as a dedicated homemaker. Their only child together, Bernice Strahl, was born on June 14, 1918. The family briefly relocated to Meriden, Connecticut before returning to Edgartown in 1920. Laurie died on March 16, 1921 from phthisis pulmonalis.

In 1922, Esther Vincent Strahl married Andrew J. Byrne. Andrew Byrne served in the Massachusetts state police for eight years as a sergeant. Between the years of 1926 and 1937, the family moved to several areas in eastern Massachusetts while Andrew was assigned to the Commonwealth Armory in Boston, and later in Framingham. During this period, Esther Vincent Byrne’s youngest daughter, Elizabeth “Betty” Byrne was born on April 1, 1928.

In 1937, Esther and her family returned to Edgartown, where her husband worked as a contract carpenter. In addition to her role as homemaker, Esther was an active member of the Unity Club at the Edgartown Federated Church. On July 28, 1951, her eldest daughter, Bernice Strahl, married Anthony Duarte. The following year, Esther’s granddaughter, Deborah, was born on February 20, 1952. Esther’s older sister, Grace died on June 6, 1956. On January 3, 1958, her husband Andrew died suddenly in their home. Esther died on August 25, 1979 at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital after a longer period of illness. She was 82 years old.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of 21 diaries created by Esther Vincent Byrne, documenting the daily events of her life between the years of 1918 and 1960. The diaries provide insight into the lives of homemakers on the island. They also reveal the challenges encountered by islanders during the Great Depression and Second World War, and the effects those events had on family dynamics. This collection also contains one certificate issued to Esther Walker Vincent in 1911, permitting her progression into high school.


The collection is arranged chronologically.

Collection Inventory


Public School Certificate, 1911 


Diary, 1918 


Diary, 1919 


Diary, 1920 


Diary, 1922 


Diary, 1923 


Diary, 1924 


Diary, 1926 


Diary, 1927 


Diary, 1929 


Diary, 1932 


Diary, 1933 


Diary, 1934 


Diary, 1935 


Diary, 1936 


Diary, 1937 


Diary, 1938 


Diary, 1939 


5 Year Diary, 1941-1945 


5 Year Diary, 1946-1950 


5 Year Diary, 1951-1955 


5 Year Diary, 1956-1960