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Florence May Graha Lyon Collection

Identifier: RH-A-3715

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of one brown journal, one maroon journal, and three “Lest We Forget” green journals, and a photograph.

The diaries account for 1886, 1890, 1911, 1912, and 1913. According to the Census the Lyons were likely in Milwaukee during this time frame. It appears based off the diaries that they stayed in one place over the course of the 1911-1913, however by the 1920 Census they were living in Texas.

The diaries show that Florence lost someone very close to her on September 1, 1911. Someone named Rex was killed in a cave-in or collapse of some sort. The person appears to have been her son, although no one named Rex is listed on the census as being related to her. Rex likely was a nickname for one of her sons. The loss heavily affected her and her husband and entries on both Christmas and the anniversary of Rex’s death were occasions of mourning afterwards in the diaries that we have. September 1st was also the Lyons wedding anniversary.

The diaries contain information about social and family life in the late 1800’s and then in the early nineteen-teens. The diaries also contain information about news topics which Florence heard about and what was happening with her husband’s job.

In the back of the 1911 diary a passage about cement and reinforced concrete appears. In the back of the 1912 diary there is a written note in the back about the increasing divorce rate in the United States. The end of all of the diaries contain various extra information including lists of marriages, expenses, and other miscellaneous information.


  • Creation: 1886, 1890, 1911, 1912, and 1913


Biographical / Historical

Florence May Lyon was born in April 30, 1856 as Florence May Graha and died on September 2, 1935. She is buried in the Fulton Street Cemetery in Grand Rapids, MI alongside her husband Fredrick D Lyon. He lived until 1945. Fredrick was a tailor and took control of a major tailor business according to Chapman’s history of Grand Rapids from 1881. In 1913 he lost his job as second deputy of the highway department. In the 1920 census his occupation was listed as Traveling Passenger Agent.


1 boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Description

The collection contains five journals. The collection takes up two folders. The brown journal is 6” x 3”. The maroon journal is 7” x 3”. The three green journals are 5” x 4”. The green journals are in good condition. The journals leather covers are slightly faded. The pages are clear and the ink has not faded. The maroon journal is also in good condition. The leather cover has some areas where it is heavily faded. However, the cover itself is structurally intact with no holes. The brown journal is in good shape and the leather is only slightly faded.


This collection was acquired through the Starring Endowment.

Florence May Graha Lyon Collection Finding Aid
Dylan Tibury
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Western Michigan University Archives & Regional History Collections Repository

Charles C. and Lynn L. Zhang Legacy Collections Center
1650 Oakland Drive
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5307 US
(269) 387-8490