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Robert B. Loomis diaries

Identifier: Collection 463

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection is made up of the diaries of Robert B. Loomis (1832-1907) dating from 1852-1906. His diaries describe the weather, business transactions and his daily activities. They also include newspaper articles, folded to fit in between the small pages. A smaller portion of the collection are the diaries of his daughter Sarah J. Loomis (1857-1907), called Jennie. Her diaries date from 1878 to 1903 and, like her father’s, often describe the weather, people she came in contact with and daily events. The collection also includes the Will of Robert B. Loomis.


  • 1852 - 1906


Conditions Governing Access

To preserve the original diaries please use the digital transcripts available on the library's website.

Biographical / Historical

Sarah Jane Loomis was born in Boston, Massachusetts on April 2, 1857 to Robert B. Loomis (1832-1907) and Emily Goodhue (1826-1899). At age five Jennie, as she was called, moved from Boston to Washington DC with her family and in 1866 the family left Washington DC to relocate in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Jennie spent the remainder of her life in Grand Rapids.

The eldest of four children, Jennie had a brother and two sisters; William H. (1859-1929), Emily S. (1860-1854) and Alice F. (1868-1918).

Jennie was a life-long member of the Fountain Street Baptist Church and worked as a stenographer. She never married nor did her sisters. They lived together at the family home at 102 (later 126) Barclay.

Jennie died May 19, 1907 of pneumonia, four months after her father's death from pneumonia.


5.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection of dairies are mainly those of Robert B. Loomis (1832-1907). Born in Maine, he moved with his family to Boston, Massachusetts at the age of six. He married Emily Goodhue with whom he fathered four children. From 1862 to 1866, he lived in Washington D.C. and then moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan where he ran his own business and was involved in church, civic, and state affairs. He died in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1907. His diaries document his business activities, personal life and historical events, most notably the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The collection also includes a smaller number of diaries kept by Loomis’ daughter, Sarah J. Loomis (1857-1907), called Jennie. Born in Boston, Massachusetts Jennie moved to Washington DC at age five with her family and then to Grand Rapids in 1866. Jennie never married and spent the remainder of her life in Grand Rapids. She died in 1907.

Finding Aid for the Robert B. Loomis diaries
Jennifer Andrew
July 2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Grand Rapids History Center Repository

Grand Rapids Public Library
111 Library Street NE
Grand Rapids Michigan 49503 USA