In the spring of 1854 seventeen-year-old Adeline Elizabeth Hoe began to keep a daily diary. Filled with six months of the details of a young girl’s life, the diary offers a wonderful window into the mind of an educated young woman from a well-to-do family living in Lower Manhattan in the turbulent decade before the Civil War. Her meticulous record of the elegant music, dances and literature she and her sister enjoyed is juxtaposed with her matter-of-fact relation of epidemics and sudden deaths, conveying a vivid picture of mid-nineteenth-century life. Author Helen Davidson, a descendant of Adeline, transcribed the diary with her husband, Richard Davidson. Helen wrote the novel Prelude, while transcribing Adeline’s diary, re-imagining the life of this spirited young girl.