Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Life at the Castle

Albert Gustave de Büren, the first son of Henri de Büren was born deaf. It appears that he was home-schooled, or in this case castle-schooled and kept a regular journal from 1870-72, roughly between the ages of 8-11. The pages are filled with wonderful observations and insights, as well as details that most adults would likely omit. It is a true gem and a wonderful window into what life was like at Vaumarcus during this time period.

Albert Gustave's Journal

I have translated a couple of sections below.

August 26, 1870
“This week the weather was cooler, the sun was almost always behind the clouds. We can’t go swimming anymore, the water is too cold now. Fall is fast approaching, the swallows will leave soon for warmer lands. We are picking pears now. Grandfather and father sell a great many. We also dry a portion in the oven that we will eat in the winter.”

September 17, 1870
“Many children in Sauges have scarlet fever, a very dangerous illness. They suffer terribly. Aunt Elisa goes and gives them herbal remedies. We have searched around for some toys and and games to send these poor children. We are also taking the same remedies, to keep up from getting sick, Lord willing.”

February 20, 1871
“We were very happy to find small flowers in the fields today announcing the start of Spring. Yesterday we saw butterflies who had left their chrysalis and flew happily on the breeze. As the weather warms, more inscects and flowers show themselves, God is bringing them back to life.”

March 20, 1871
“The last couple of days we have see a great many French because the war is finished. They are very happy to be returning home. The sick and wounded will stay in Switzerland unti they are well.”


  1. Nice family treasure! I have a diary my grandfather wrote when he was 15 years old, in 1915. I feel so lucky to have a snapshot of one year in his life.

  2. Was he actually mute? Many people have the misconception that deaf people are mute, which is why the term "deaf-mute" is highly offensive to the Deaf community. Best of luck!

    1. Liarra,

      He and his siblings were referred to as deaf-mute. I am sure is an antiquated term that is no longer used. As he passed long before I was born, I have no idea of knowing, but I doubt it. I will change the text above.

      Thanks, JF



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