Scope and Contents
This is a small manuscript notebook with a metal clasp, written by Scottish novelist Catherine Sinclair in 1845. It relates the last moments of her sister Helen, as indiciated on the title page: "Private Memorials of Helen Late Mrs Stewart of Physgill - Written for her children at the request of Mary Stewart by her Sister Catherine Sinclair".
The notebook opens with the following words from Catherine Sinclair: "Having attended my sister Helen through the last two months of her very protracted illness, I was requested to send during that time a daily report, to our family circle, of her progress, describing what, in the near approach of Death, she said and suffered, in order that the constant sympathy and prayers of all might might [sic] attend her."
Helen and Catherine's mother died very soon after her daughter's death: "These mournful records are now returned to me, blotted by the tears of our Mother whose heartfelt grief hurried her first to the grave, leaving us the twofold sorrow of mourning (as we shall do) for both while life and memory remain".
Enclosed in the notebook are also a printed letter with illustrations replacing certain words created by Catherine Sinclair (printed in Edinburgh in 1863), and two newspaper clippings relating to British writer May Sinclair, although it is not clear how it relates to the notebook because she was not related to Catherine Sinclair.