Finding Aid of the Alice Kennedy Lynch Diary C015978

Finding aid prepared by Lacey Lieberthal
Society of California Pioneers
300 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA, 94107-1272
(415) 959-1849
August 8, 2012

Title: Lynch, Alice Kennedy Diary
Identifier/Call Number: C015978
Contributing Institution: Society of California Pioneers
Language of Material: French
Physical Description: 1.0 manuscript box (1 photostatic copy)
Date: July 19, 1857-January 1, 1865
Abstract: Photostatic copy of the Diary of Alice Kennedy Lynch, which covered July 19, 1857 to January 1, 1865, and was written in French. There is also a typescript of the diary, translated to English by Alice's son, Francis William Lynch, on September 7, 1930. The diary consists of short entries recalling various events in Alice's life and that of her friends and family members in San Francisco and on her husband's Ranch in San Luis Obispo County during these years.
creator: Lynch, Alice Kennedy

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

There are no restrictions on access.

Preferred Citation note

Alice Kennedy Lynch Diary. The Society of California Pioneers.


Gift of Francis William Lynch and Alice Clare Lynch, January 30, 1942.

Biographical/Historical note

Information on Alice Kennedy Lynch is limited to what can be discerned from her diary. Since the diary was written in French, she was probably from France. She lived in San Francisco, as did her mother, sisters, and brothers, so it appears as though they may have come to the United States and to California together. The sisters mentioned in the diary were named Lizzie, Kate, Delia, and Mary, and she had several brothers although names were not given.
Alice was born on January 17, although no year was given. She was married to James Lynch on November 27, 1856, when he was 31 years old. Alice and James had six children: James K. (born September 7, 1857), Francis William (also known as Frank; born August 18, 1861), Lizzie Kate (born March 16, 1864), Alice Clare, Henry W., and Katherine. James K., Frank, and Lizzie Kate were mentioned in the diary, but Alice Clare, Henry, and Katherine must have been born after 1865 when the diary closed. They were mentioned in James Lynch's Mortuary Record at the Society of California Pioneers.
The diary noted twice (entries on February 6 and February 20 of 1859) that Alice wrote articles that had been published, one for "the paper" and one for the "Bulletin." No other information was found.
Alice's husband, James, was a member of the Society of California Pioneers, joining in 1897. Her son, Francis William, was also a member, joining in 1919.

Scope and Contents note

Photostatic copy of the Diary of Alice Kennedy Lynch, dated July 19, 1857 to January 1, 1865, written in French. There is also a typescript of the diary, translated to English by Alice's son, Francis William Lynch, on September 7, 1930. Although the label on the folder that contains the typescript indicates that the diary was translated by L.W. Lynch, the end of the diary is signed "Translated by Frank W. Lynch."
Alice wrote the diary entries on Sundays (one or two entries on other days of the week if they were holidays such as Christmas or New Year's) and wrote about events of importance from the previous week. Most of the entries are very short.
The diary recalls Alice's life, her family, and her friends between the years of 1857 and 1865. She had many friends in San Francisco, and, since her whole family lived nearby, she also spent much time with them. It is unclear when Alice was born, but during these years, many of her sisters and friends married and had children. Also, many of her friends and their children passed away during this time.
Through the diary, Alice recalled events going on in the city, in addition to national and international news. For example, she mentioned the "laying of a telegraphic cable under the Atlantic" from Ireland to Newfoundland in August of 1858. She also discussed the American Civil War from time to time, and she mentioned the election of President Abraham Lincoln in the entry from December 9, 1860.
On January 23, 1859, she wrote that her husband decided to sell his company to her brother and also to sell their house. At this time, her husband began to travel often to look for a place for them to live. He settled on a Ranch near Tierra Redonda in San Luis Obispo County (James Lynch is included in Bancroft's California Pioneer Register, and Bancroft notes that this ranch was in Pleito [sic.]). James began working on the Ranch around July of 1859. Alice joined her husband there for the first time on June 1, 1860, traveling with her mother and son. For the remainder of the diary, Alice traveled back and forth between the Ranch and San Francisco.
The last entry of the diary is from New Year's Day 1865, although there is a final note: "Sunday, February 5," with no entry.

Existence and Location of Originals note

The Society of California Pioneers, 300 Fourth Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107.

Related Archival Materials note

The Society of Californa Pioneers also has:
Membership card: James Lynch. Arrived in California March 6, 1847. Joined September 6, 1897; Mortuary Record 1906-1933, p. 239: James Lynch; Membership card: F.W. Lynch, son of James. Action date December 6, 1919; Accounts/ledger (C005523): James Lynch; Honorary Membership Certificate (C019608): James Lynch, Associated Veterans of Mexican War; Manuscript (C058083): Scrapbook, Lynch Family Papers.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Lynch, James, 1825-1909
Pleyto (Calif.)
San Francisco (Calif.)
San Luis Obispo County (Calif.)
Women pioneers