Coming Soon: Babb, Thomas (1841-1915). Diaries and Notes, 1905-1912

The Babb Family Association has contracted with the University of Illinois to digitize the Diaries and Notes of Thomas Babb so that they may be used for Research and an in depth view of an English Immigrant who came to America and lived “The Dream”. Until now the little known manuscript has lived in obscurity with no good way of sharing its extensive 8 volumes of data detailing as many years of his life. I’ve been waiting anxiously to get a copy of this manuscript and one of our members served as the lightning rod for the arrangement. Thanks Zach!

The process takes about a month, so stay tuned!

Scope and Contents:

Thomas Babb is a member of the DNA Lineage known as the Potters of Staffordshire. He was born in 1841 in Staffordshire, England, but moved to the United States in 1860. Settling first in Ohio, where he was married, Babb moved to Mahomet, Champaign County, Ill., in 1861. Babb spent the next two decades acquiring and farming several hundred acres of land throughout the county, before starting a hog and grain business in 1880. These businesses flourished, and in 1897 Babb began splitting his time between Illinois and Texas, where he owned a cattle business. After his wife’s death, Babb traveled throughout the world until his own death in 1915.

These diaries document Babb’s daily life during his travels. Book A, dating from Aug.-Nov. 1905, describes a return trip to Great Britain, while Books B-D record a lengthy trip around the world from July 1908 through Apr. 1909. Books E-F trace Babb’s travels in Italy, Egypt, and the Middle East, Sept.-Nov. 1909, and a 1910 journey through Texas. Book G begins with a visit to England in 1911, and ends with a trip to Texas, where he remarried in early 1912. Finally, Book H is a record of a trip to the West Coast and back during Sept. and Oct. 1912.

Ann Gibbons of Champaign, Ill., and Ruth Cole of Hull, Ill., donated these diaries to the Survey in 2001.

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