This post is the first in a series of transcriptions of the Log book of Earl W Baker of Poughkeepsie from 1917. I don’t know much about him other than his ancestors dumped a huge box of genealogy records and I was left to pick it up. This log book full of the thoughts of a man from Dutchess County (albeit not so Northern) from 100 years ago seemed interesting. I should have remembered that I was working on this and posted them on the corresponding dates, but hey. I’m doing it now (thanks, Emily). Like many efforts to keep a journal (*cough*or a local history blog*cough*), Mr. Baker does well out the gate but then by March is not posting but once in a while. Here’s the first entry and the quote that he transcribed on a page before that entry. My notes are in parenthesis.


There is no wealth but life.
Life, including all its powers – of love, of joy – of admiration.
-Ruskin

(Published in 1860, John Ruskin “Unto This Last” an essay/book about economy that changed Gandhi’s life when he read it)

Log of Earl W Baker 1917

Jan 20, 1917

This Diary shall be the record of my daily struggle for Self-Mastery. In it, I shall set forth Plans, Ideas, and Ideals, the lessons of Experience, gleanings from print, impressions of the passing Day.

To the End that I may have, in daily contact with my Life, an incentive, inspiration and goal: a reminder of past failures with the causes thereof. And a Viewpoint toward Life which shall be in Harmony with my real Ambitions and Purposes, and not in compliance with minor and incidental gratification.

‘Humanum est errare.’ (To err is human) I will analyze my failures; sound my blunders. And where I meet with Success, I will credit myself only with that part due to foresight and not with the success due to whim of chance or outside aid.

Now for my Ideals. Simply Honor & Personality. To Live each day as if it were Doomsday, wisely, thoughtfully, unselfishly – To Live each day to the very full – at the very Top of Perfection – my self at its Utmost Best – Alert – Responsive – Volatile. – To embody Energy, Courage, Enthusiasm and Hopefullness (sic)

– To be Gracious, Interested, Tactful, and Kind.

For this Year – This Slogan To Give my Best to Each Passing Moment.

‘Deo Juvante’ (with God’s help)

1917 Baker Log, page 1

1917 Baker Log, page 1