Record of David Henry Mordecai's illnesses and schooling, mostly in Heidelberg, Germany, with some notations at Ems. With sporadic notations of weather, and mentions of South Carolinians Albert Rhett, William, John & Alfred Preston, Charles Boyd, Hammond, Legare, D.C. Seixas & others. References to museums, artwork and plays seen. Mentions of health and cures, the need for an operation (p. 73); stupidity of peasants vs. slaves (18); lynching (21), political situation in Kansas (30); doomed nature of American slavery (31); inevitability of Civil War (31-2); state support of SC College (56-57); women who "paint" their faces (111). With constant references to family, and some financial jottings. Some entries in German.
David Henry Mordecai's 1857 diary contains details of a trip through Turin, Milan, Venice, Vienna, Heidelberg, etc with frequent references to artists and specific works seen in Museums. A flare up of consumption triggers change of plans; before embarking for Egypt, he mentions various Charleston friends including Rhetts, Middletons, Prestons and Hamptons, trips to the opera and a life-changing event not described. With botanic specimens and notations in rear of book.
Nearly daily journal of travel through Nice, Monaco, Genoa, Leghorn, Rome (where she visited Harriet Hosmer and other sculptors' studios), Pompeii and Herculaneum, Florence, Mantua, Milan, Venice, Trieste (glimpsing Emperor Franz Joseph III), Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin and Paris, where the family stayed. Just after the family left Italy, the second war for Italian independence broke out, and she mentions Austrian troop movements and her sympathies for the Italian side. In Paris, she mentions Ransom Calhoun & Mr. Preston, Mr. Ogier, Dr. Horlbeck & family, "Miss Lewis, the poetess," Boston Editor Bigelow, and Senator Charles Sumner, with an allusion to his caning by Preston Brooks; with visit to a synagogue. Frequent references to beggars, family members, and detailed descriptions of artwork seen and admired. Diary begins very soon after the death of her brother, David Henry Mordecai, and she often references her sadness over the loss.