Diary of Henry Flynt, 1723-1747

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Content Notes

This diary, effectively a commonplace book, documents Flynt's daily activities and personal reflections from 1723 to 1747. Many entries concern his dealings with family members, business associates, acquaintances, ministers, and political officials. The diary includes a list of books Flynt loaned to others from 1723 to 1743 and detailed financial entries from 1724 to 1747. These entries provide information about the costs of goods and services, as well as Flynt's consumption habits; they detail where he traveled, what he ate and drank (including, apparently, many pounds of almonds), what he read, and many other aspects of daily life. The diary also contains entries related to Flynt's land holdings and other investments, as well as copies of meeting minutes from several sessions of the Harvard Board of Overseers.
  • The Harvard University Archives also holds a typescript of the diaries of Henry Flynt. This typescript, compiled and edited by Edward T. Dunn, includes a transcription of the diary in the Harvard University Archives as well as a transcription of Henry Flynt's commonplace book, held at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This transcription, which also includes an introductory essay and an index, is entitled: The Diary of Tutor Henry Flynt of Harvard College, 1675-1760 (3 vols.).

Biographical Notes

Henry Flynt was born to Josiah and Esther (Willet) Flynt in Dorchester, Massachusetts on May 5, 1675. His father, who was minister of Dorchester, died when Henry was five years old. Henry earned his A.B. from Harvard College in 1693 and his A.M. in 1696. He then preached in Connecticut for several years before returning to Harvard, where he had been offered a position as Tutor. Flynt stayed at Harvard for the rest of his life, serving as Tutor from 1699 to 1754, as a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation from 1700 to 1760, as Secretary to the Board of Overseers from 1712 to 1758, and as acting President from 1736-1737. He was a fixture of 18th-century life at the College, and was referred to as 'Father Flynt' in his later years. Henry Flynt died in Cambridge on February 13, 1760.