1891 and 1897 Diaries of a Successful Indiana Entrepreneur, Banker, Husband and Father

  • $1,655.99
    Unit price per 
Tax included.

On offer are two diaries of a successful American businessman written six years apart, in 1891 and 1897, following his life as an entrepreneur, husband and, eventually, father. What makes these diaries extra special are the newspaper articles and ephemera the author has included with some of his entries which relate and give context to the events about which he writes. 

The author of these diaries is John Franklin Wild (1861-1937) was an American entrepreneur and financier. He was born in Noblesville, Indiana, where he began his career partnering with his father, Leonard, and working at his dry goods store. John eventually opened his own dry goods store in Anderson, Indiana in 1884. In 1891, Wild became a banker in Anderson, creating a firm  called Campbell, Wild & Co. In 1901, Wild moved to Indianapolis with the banking business and bought out Campbell’s interest. The bank became J.F. Wild & Co. The firm was prominent in the government and municipal bond trading markets. In 1891, Wild married Mary “Minnie” Hannah (1865-1947). Together, they had three children: John Jr., Frances and Forrey. At the end of their lives, John and Minnie moved to California to be near their daughter. 

The first 7 months of the 1891 diary deals with his work in his dry good business and the social events that occupy his life.

“Arrived at store at 7:35. Worked all day. Closed store at 6. Went to party at Music Hall took Mattie Chittenden Home and retire by 2:30 AM…” [Jan 2, 1891] [NOTE: Attached to the entry is one of the many newspaper clippings he included in his diaries. This one details all of the guests at the party].

"Arrived at store at 6:40. Worked all day store at 6. Back to store at 6:45 and wrote until 8 then back home. Wrote letter to Minnie retired at 10:00. Edd came at 10:20 so I got up and chatted until 12 & then to bed . Weather cool" [Mar 6, 1891], [NOTE: Attached to this entry is a newspaper clipping entitled A BIG MERCANTILE DEAL – Mammoth Dry Goods Establishment of J.F. Wild Sold to Malott, Long & Co of Kokomo. This clipping describes the size and extent of his business and marks the change in business direction from dry goods merchant to bond trader / financier]. 

On Aug 3rd, he notes the sale of his stock:

“Sold stock of my dry goods to Black & Thalman for $12,500…” [Aug 3, 1891]

“In Chicago all day. At 8 P.M. was married to Miss Minnie Hannah 89 Evergreen Ave. By Rev. Ziegler. Remained at Hannah’s all night. Retired at 1 A.M.” [Sept 9, 1891].

The 1897 diary is equally packed with Wild’s notes about his daily life and accompanying ephemera. Some excerpts follow: 

“Anderson all day. Uptown all morning. Sold our house to Dr. Heath this morning. At home all afternoon. Took care of Frances while Minnie and John went to the “Sousa Band” concert. After supper went up to store. There until 11:45 then home. Len and Lena at our house all night. Sleighing fine” [Jan 30, 1897].

“Up at 5:50. Went to Anderson on 6:35 A.M. train. Went after horse and carriage. Drove back. Left Anderson 9:15 A.M. Arrived Indianapolis 6 P.M. Stopped at Ingall’s 1 hour, fed. Lena and Mrs. Donner came down from Anderson today and are at our house. Lena, Mrs. Donner and Minnie went to theatre this evening to see Nat Goodwin in “An American Citizen.” Home at 12. Retired at 12:30” [Mar 17, 1897].

“Went to Lebanon on 7:10 A.M. train to examine W. Main St. Indianapolis before buying the bonds. At Lou’s for dinner. Home on 1:49 P.M. train. At office balance of morning. Minnie and I went to “Shrine” party at Scottish Rite Cathedral, 8:30 to 11:45 P.M. then home” [May 7, 1897].

“Went to Tipton on 7 A.M. train. Then Mr. Porter and I drove across to Windfall to examine property in regard to some street improvements. I went to Anderson on 3:36 P.M. train. At Anderson all evening until 9:50 P.M. train then home (collected some delinquent Anderson bonds). Lottie Wild came down from Noblesville this evening to see us in regard to working for us. Minnie employed her and she will come as soon as we return from Winona. We talked until train time. I went down to station with her and she went home on 12:45 train. Then home and retired [May 15, 1897].

“43 Woodruff Place Indianapolis Ind. Up at 7. Minnie’s “water broke” at 7:30 A.M. I then telephone for Dr. Kimberlin who came right out. Made an examination and said Minnie would not be sick until afternoon or evening. Pains began to come regular at 2 P.M. At 3:30 we telephoned Dr. and he came at once. A fine baby boy was born at 6:58 P.M. Minnie got along very well. Rose Wisehan is nurse. Retired at 12:30” [Sept 26, 1897].

As well as the multiple newspaper clippings that relate to his daily entries that Wild has included, other pieces of ephemera are ribbons from the Masonic Order (Scottish Rite) as well as a photocopy of a picture of Wild and an article detailing the sale of his bank building in 2008.

For a historian, these two diaries paint a fine picture of the daily life of a quite successful businessman and financier. The newspaper clippings that are attached flesh out the social side of life in this mid-west state. For genealogists, the detailed lists of people who attended the various social events highlighted in the press provide and excellent source of information about people and relationships in that area a century ago.

Both diaries have leather covers and measure 5.75x3.5 inches. They both have 365 pages and are both 100% complete. Overall G. 

Please don't hesitate to contact us for more information or to request photos. (Kindly include the SKU, listed on this page above the price, in your e-mail so we can more easily answer your questions.)

We Also Recommend