Pitts Theology Library
Archives and Manuscripts Department

William Livesey
Diaries, 1822-1875

Descriptive Summary
Creator:Livesey, William, 1802-1875.
Title:William Livesey diaries, 1822-1875.
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 227
Extent:.6 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Abstract:Consists of nine bound diaries composed by Rev. William Livesey during the years 1822 and 1875.
Language:Materials entirely in English.
Administrative Information
Restrictions on AccessUnrestricted access.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction. May not be photocopied due to preservation concerns.
Citation[after identification of item(s)], William Livesey diaries, MSS 227, Archives and Manuscript Department, Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
ProcessingProcessed by Anne Graham, 2002; and Brandon Wason, 2015.

Biographical Note

William Livesey was born on March 8, 1802 in West Bradford, Yorkshire, in northern England. In 1822 Livesey converted to Wesleyan Methodism and received his license to preach in 1826. He sailed for America in May 1829 and accepted an appointment at Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In 1832 he married Sarah Crosby Johnson of Thompson, Connecticut. William and Sarah had one daughter. Both mother and daughter died sometime before 1848 when William Livesey married Ann Eliza Adams of Lucerne, New York. Ann Eliza was an abolitionist and met Livesey at the East Greenwhich Academy. The majority of Livesey's career was spent in the Providence Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Livesey became involved in the abolitionist movement and actively preached against the institution of slavery. In August 1846 he attended the first conference of the Evangelical Alliance, an organization that promoted cooperation among Protestant denominations. Livesey was among the eight hundred delegates attending the first meeting in London. He was interested in education and assisted in the creation of the Providence Conference Seminary as well as supporting the university at Middletown, Connecticut. In 1875 Livesey was serving in South Braintree, Massachusetts. As Livesey's health deteriorated he retired to the cottage in Martha's Vineyard he shared with Ann Eliza and their son, Olin L. Livesey (b. October 14, 1849). William Livesey died on September 2, 1875.

The following list shows many of his pastoral appointments in New England:

Portsmouth Methodist Church1829
Fairhaven Methodist Church1830
West Thompson Methodist Church1831, 1833
Eastford Methodist Church1834
Sachem Street Methodist Church (Norwich, CT)1835
East Main Street Methodist Church (Norwich, CT)1835-1836
Warren Methodist Church1840-1841
First Methodist Church (Taunton, MA)1846
Matthewson Street Methodist Church (Providence, RI)1848
Nantucket Methodist Church1849
Catham Methodist Church1850-1851
Centre Methodist Church (Provincetown, MA)1852-1853
Manchester Methodist Church 1854-1855
East Greenwich Methodist Church1857
Bristol Methodist Church1858
Woonsocket Methodist Church1859-1860
Thames Street Methodist Church (Newport, RI)1861-1862
Fairhaven Methodist Church1863-1864
First Methodist Church (Middleton, RI)1866-1868
Plymouth Memorial Methodist Church1869-1870
Quarry Street Methodist Church (Fall River, MA)1871
Cottage City Methodist Church1871-1872
Wareham Methodist Church1873-1874
South Braintree Methodist Church1875

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of nine bound diaries with an average of two hundred and fifty pages each. They were composed by Rev. William Livesey during the years 1846-1875. All entries are handwritten in pencil or ink. The first volume, "A record of my ministerial labours, mainly from memory," begins in the year 1922 and ends in 1853, although it is uncertain when the journal was actually composed. The end of the volume contains receipts and expenses for the years 1830-1853. The first volume describes ministerial activities and pertinent historical information about New England Methodism in the mid-nineteenth century. The second volume, "Journal of my voyage to and travels in England," contains long entries documenting Livesey's trip in 1846 from Warren, Rhode Island to attend the first Evangelical Alliance meeting in London. Much of Livesey's journal concerns debates between pro-slavery and abolitionist delegates, as well as attempts to bring a an anti-slavery resolution before the Alliance. He also describes his travels through Ireland and England, as well as a reunion with family members in Yorkshire. Included in the volume are two admission tickets to Evangelical Alliance meetings at the Freemason's Hall and Exeter Hall. The next seven volumes cover the period from 1870 to 1875. During this time Rev. Livesey served several counties in Massachusetts including Dukes, Essex, and Plymouth. The diary entries contain details of Livesey's pastoral activities as well as details from his day-to-day life and financial accounts.

There are two diaries for the year 1874. The first contains entries only for the month of January. The second volume begins with February and continues through December. Both volumes contain financial accounts for the entire year. The last volume consists of sporadic entries, the last of which is dated July 14, 1875.

Container Listing

11"A record of my ministerial labours, mainly from memory"1822-1853
12"Journal of my voyage to and travels in England"1846
13Untitled Diary1870
14Untitled Diary1871
15Untitled Diary1872
16Untitled Diary1873
17Untitled Diary1874 January
21Untitled Diary1874 February to December
22Untitled Diary1875

Last Modified: October 1, 2015 (bcw)