Maurice Leyden Collection

Cover Image:
Maurice Leyden Collection
Diary of Maurice Leyden, December 30, 1871 - Image Source

Collection Facts

Dates of Original:
1860 - 1919

Historical Context

Maurice Leyden was born 1836 in Collamer, Onondaga County. He attended Cazenovia [New York] Seminary and high school in Syracuse, New York. He obtained his dental education under the tutelage of Dr. Amos Westcott. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Leyden enlisted in the 3rd New York Cavalry, rising to the rank of Captain. In 1865 he was transferred to the Fourth Provisional Cavalry and mustered out in 1869.

After his military service ended Leyden opened a dental practice in Rochester, Monroe County, New York. Here he resided with his wife Margaret, a Rochester native, and his two daughters, Maude, who died in infancy, and Blanche.

Scope of Collection

The diaries document mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century life in Rochester, Monroe County, New York. Leyden writes of day-to-day life with entries about the weather, family life and activities, his dental practice and business travel. Leyden, a member of the Republican Party, writes of his involvement in local politics. The financial accounts of family and business expenses provide additional insight into the cost of living at this time.

Of particular interest are entries concerning the Women’s Suffrage movement. Leyden and his wife, Margaret were supporters of the movement and friends with Susan B. Anthony. The diaries contain entries of attending lectures by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as well as other notable suffrage speakers. Leyden provides details of his wife Margaret’s involvement in the movement. Leyden writes of Margaret’s arrest along with several other women, including Susan B. Anthony for registering to vote in 1872, and Anthony’s subsequent trial for refusing to pay the fine imposed up her for the illegal registration.