Samuel Sobieski Nelles Fonds

Series 2: Diaries and journals


Diaries and journals

Dates of Creation



12 cm of textual records

Scope and Content

Series consists of journals and diaries, 1846-1887, containing reflections/essays on various topics, predominantly religious and spiritual; daily activities and quotations .


Related Groups of Records within the Same Fonds

See also Series 7.


  • Diaries
  • Theology—Study and teaching

Box/File List

Acc. No. Box File Title Dates
1991.127V 3 29 Journal. “Book of Random Thoughts.” Wesleyan University, Mount Pleasant, Newburgh, Port Hope, Toronto.
Contains quotations, musings, small essays, daily plans, rules of conduct, character sketches, and a description of 1847 Conference held in Toronto (with remarks about figures such as Dr. Alder and the Ryerson brothers). Touches on wide range of topics (most of which deal in some way with self improvement), also comments on future of Canada, the Conservative party, limitations of creeds, scripture interpretations, analysis of aspects of Wesleyan Methodism—especially an interesting section on holiness
3 30 Journal. “Book of Random Thoughts on Speech. Public, or Private Conversation.”
Contains skeleton of sermon, advice on public speaking and conversation, critical profile of Mr. Gemly’s sermon in Port Hope, prayer, self culture, Christian evidence, logic, reading matter (especially Chalmers), remark about Egerton Ryerson. Writing marked by occasional tone of despair—Nelles very aware of his own shortcomings.
June 27,1847–March 30,1850
3 31 Journal. “Random Thoughts and Mental Records.” Toronto.
Contains a few quotations, some discussion of reading material. Most of journal concerned with self evaluation (state of his soul), with a general air of spiritual conflict. Discussion of state and church, relationship between scripture, reason, and nature, differences between unity and uniformity, tolerance for beliefs of others, good works, religious excitement. One of main themes is his aversion to creeds and suspicion of orthodoxy.
October 24,1848–February 3,1849
3 32 Journal. “Random Thoughts and Mental Records.” vol.2.
Contains thoughts on a variety of topics such as the Trinity, mysticism, the Reformation, revelations, moderation, the Holy Spirit, atonement, and the dangers of sectarianism. Makes a number of generalizations about human nature.
February 5,1849–July 19,1849
3 33 Journal.“Random Thoughts.”
Contains reflective essays on topics such as Chalmers, good and evil, and revelation.
3 34 Journal. “Random Thoughts.” London, Victoria College.

Contains longer reflective essays on religious and moral topics such as sanctification, the Gospel, salvation, faith, and catholicity.
August 10,1850-December 28,1859
3 35 Diary. Cobourg.
Detailed account of daily activities, readings and thoughts with good insight into family and college routines. Not as introspective as the early journals,but does have occasional statements of beliefs. Discusses Aylesworth controversy, doctrine of eternal misery, conscience and desire.
January 1,1866–January 13,1867.
3 36 Rowsell’s Diary.
As above. Most entries deal with family or college matters. Mentions petition against Professor William Kingston (mathematics and science).
January 30,1867–December 31,1867
3 37 Daily Journal.
As above. Discusses university question and Morley Punshon’s arrival. Shows close relationship with his children.
3 38 Journal Fragment.
Also includes notes from talk at Y.M.C.A. Hall, “Excogitatus”; notes from speech to Napanee Conference on education.
May 11,1881–May 23,1881
3 39 Journal. “Notes by the Way.”
Not as detailed as other journals. Mentions gradualness of revelation, university federation, policy of Toronto Mail.
January 1,1886–September 4,1887.
3 40 Journal. “Index Rerum.”
Gives some indication of Nelles’ interests and reaction to reading material.