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Ezra Pabody Diaries

Identifier: M/A 0049
Click Image to View the Digital Collection
Click Image to View the Digital Collection

Description of Contents

The collection includes 7 diaries written by Ezra Fitch Pabody between 1882 and 1890. The journals chronicle everything about his daily life, school, family, church, exercise, nature, and explorations of the city. Ezra Fitch described many interesting historical events in Minneapolis. He noted the shooting of Jesse James, the killing of three bears at Lake Calhoun, the day he went with his Aunt Myra to listen to Mark Twain speak at the Grand Opera House, and the electric light mast at Bridge Square. As a fourteen-year-old, Ezra Fitch Pabody spent much of his time in the summer of 1882 catching insects, moths and butterflies attracted to the new electric lights. Pabody and his sister Nellie were great readers and used the Athenaeum and his school library to borrow books.


  • Creation: 1882 - 1890


Access Restrictions

The physical collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department’s open hours. All diaries from this collection are available in the Ezra Fitch Pabody Diaries in the Minnesota Digital Library.


Ezra Fitch Pabody (February 21, 1868-December 17, 1940) was a draftsman for Harry Wild Jones and contract manager for American Bridge Company. Pabody began keeping a diary in 1882 when he was 14 years old. In 1882, he lived with his parents Ezra and Emma (Brown), his sister Nellie and later his aunt Myra Brown in downtown Minneapolis. Pabody’s father owned a drug store and was active in city mission work with Westminster Church.

In 1885 Pabody’s family began building a cottage on Lake Minnetonka in Zumbra Heights. He drew plans and specifications for the cottage. The family traveled between their home in downtown Minneapolis and their cottage at Lake Minnetonka on the city’s streetcar system, eventually settling at the home on Lake Minnetonka.

In 1888, Pabody began to work as a draftsman for Minneapolis architect Harry Wild Jones. Pabody worked on plans for the city’s new Municipal Building for many months. He later worked for American Bridge Company and lived with his sister Eleanor and her husband Ward Benton.

In 1901 he was the member of the jury for the murder trial of Lannie Day, who was killed by Fred Hamilton in a drunken brawl at the West Hotel. Fred Hamilton was charged with murder, but the jury was divided over the evidence and circumstances of the case. Eight out of the 12 jurors wanted an acquittal. Instead of a hung jury, the jurors decided on a compromise, they found Hamiltion guilty of first-degree manslaughter. Hamilton was released from prison on October 7, 1904.

Pabody and his family are buried at the Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.


0.58 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials