Each of the three diaries is a separate bound book; these are fragile with loose or absent covers.
Volume I consists of a commercially-produced “Album of Love” that Walkup used to record inscriptions from friends and family members. There are a number of sentimental illustrations reminiscent of those found in nineteenth-century ladies’ books. On several pages throughout, Walkup drew rectangular “calling cards” wherein her friends signed their names. Walkup has made notes so as to remind herself of the signers’ identity at various points. Each entry is from a different person, but generally they are legible and easily read. The entries are not in chronological order, however, and not all are dated. One entry from 1883 is from Walkup’s ten year-old daughter, Mary. Another entry of note is a poem addressed to “Friend Carrie” from her future husband, Teeple, dated April 14, 1861. It is a farewell poem before Teeple departs for his army service. The latest dated entry is from 1922, but the majority of the inscriptions are from 1861-63. Several pages appear to have been cut out from the book.
Volume II contains the main diary itself, the bulk of which consists of copies of letters Walkup wrote to Teeple while he was away at war. The span of the diary covers her months at the Northwestern Female College, from March 1864 and ends in 1865, although the entries after November 5, 1864 are written in shorthand. The diary is also paginated. The entries take the form of letters to her sweetheart, A.V. Teeple, a Union soldier.
This volume of the diary gives a good view into the daily life at the college. Topics covered include an instance of thievery, which Walkup chalks up to the girls’ lower-class upbringing (see entry for March 27, 1864, pp. 14-15). Walkup notes with amusement how the school cook eloped with a handy man, leaving the women in want of their breakfast (June 10, 1864, pp. 79-80). She also writes of how some girls skirt the college’s strict rules about leaving campus and having gentlemen visitors (May 28, 1864, pp. 69-70). Another time girls are suspended for writing notes to gentlemen on Sunday, an activity Walkup participates in regularly but apparently to no ill end (June 21, 1864, pp. 89).
Walkup’s diary also lends insight into life on the northern home front for a woman during the Civil War. Walkup speaks of the other women at the college with beaus away at war, including one unfortunate girl who receives news of her lover’s death (May 1, 1864, pp. 43). Walkup also becomes friends with another girl whose fiancé is in the same regiment as Teeple, and although Walkup does not care for the girl’s pretensions, she maintains a close friendship with her because of their special bond (April 10, 1864, pp. 27-29). She notes how male students at Northwestern enlisted in the Union war effort (May 5, 1864, pp. 47). Walkup also provides detailed commentary on a Copperhead convention near her downstate home (September 1864, pp. 142-3), thoughts on the effects of emancipation on “lazy Southerners” (September 30, 1864, pp. 136-7), and the Presidential election that fall (November 5, 1864, pp. 156).
Volume III is the journal of A.V. Teeple documenting the major events of his life after the war, including his marriage to Walkup, his real estate businesses, some war-time reminiscences, and the birth of their first child in July 1871. The journal covers the period 1866-1871.