In the course of transcribing this manuscript for publication, I have incurred many debts of gratitude to numerous individuals and institutions. First I owe a special thanks and appreciation to Dr. Edward Marolda, Senior Historian and Dr. Regina Akers, Archivist both of the Naval Historical Center. Dr. Marolda's excellent work: The Washington Navy Yard an Illustrated History (Naval Historical Center, Washington, DC, 1999) which included Dr. Akers' article, "An African American's Reflections first introduced me to Michael Shiner."
Mr. Glenn E. Helm, Director of the Navy Library, took a generous interest in this project and made the resources of that wonderful institution available. My thanks to him and Ms. Alexandra McCallen for her technical help in making the manuscript web ready. Patrick Clancey, Naval Historical Center volunteer, has lent this project his superb technical expertise, valuable insights and organizing ability. Ms. Gail Munro, Head of the Navy Art Collection, Navy Museum, Washington Navy Yard generously contributed the information for the notes on Shiner's 1822 visit to the 4th Street Ebenezer Methodist Church, the Reverend Yelveton T. Payton and Methodist church practices. The expertise of A. Davis Elliott of the Navy Department Library and library volunteer Nancy Hopkins was essential in preparing this online edition.
My thanks once go to my former boss and mentor Dr. Vincent Vaccaro, now Senior Civilian Personnel Advisor, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, retired, for his support, sage advice, help and encouragement in this project. Thanks also to Mr. Stephen Payton at the Washington Navy Yard who assisted me with some of the early research on Michael Shiner.
The staff of two great conservatories of knowledge in Stockton, California: The Cesar Chavez Central Library and The University of the Pacific, Holt Memorial Library were essential to this transcription. Over the last two years I have made extensive use of their wonderful book collections and their old but still functioning microfilm readers. Thanks to the efforts of their respective staff, these old machines have been preserved allowing the microfilm of to be transcribed for the Naval Historical Center's web site.
Mr. Wayne Hinton of Genealogytrails.com kindly helped edit an earlier version of extracts from Michael Shiner which was posted on his District of Columbia web site. I also want to thank the Library of Congress, Manuscript Division staff who were exceptionally accommodating in making it possible for me to obtain the microfilm of the Michael Shiner manuscript used in this transcription and for answering my questions regarding the manuscript history and provenance. Dr. Joseph E. Bisson, San Joaquin Delta College answered many of my questions for and gave me numerous insights into the political and racial issues of the nineteenth century.
My thanks to Congressional Cemetery which is the final resting place of many early Washington Navy Yard military and civilian employees whose names are recorded in the Diary. The Cemetery website http://www.congressionalcemetery.org/ is superb and simply one of the best tools for research on Washington Navy Yard and District of Columbia..
My particular thanks must go to Mr. Charles W. Johnson of the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., as he has done on many previous occasions; he once again graciously gave me his valuable time and unrivaled knowledge of the incredible NARA archival resources. Essential as well to the preparation of this transcription of Michael Shiner's Dairy were the wonderful staff at the Martin Luther King Library, Washingtoniana Division, Washington, DC. Two other NARA employees provided kind help and advice, Mr. Robert Ellis Archivist, explained and interpreted the legal background of Shiner’s 1836 petition and Chris Killillay Archives Specialist helped secure important images of Washington Navy Yard station log. I want to thank MLK Library Archivist Mr. Ryan Semmes for his knowledge and kindness in answering my many questions and the help of his superb staff in locating documents relating to the probate of Michael Shiner's estate.
In the course of updating the introduction and notes I owe a special debt to Leslie Anderson, Alexandria Public Library Reference Librarian whose 4 February 2014 C-SPAN presentation, The Life of Freed Slave Michael Shiner first documented Michael Shiner’s 1836 petition for freedom.
During the last year, I had the great pleasure of consulting with noted author and fellow Shiner scholar Tonya Bolden, whose Capital Days Michael Shiner’s Journal and the Growth of Our Nation’s Capital is now in publication. Capital Days seamlessly uses the Diary as a framework to chronicle the story of Michael Shiner and the history of the District of Columbia for young adults. Her research and insights contributed greatly to my understanding of Michael Shiner.
This is for Gene Kerr Sharp uxori meae carissimae.
John G. Sharp
February 10, 2015