Upon his death, A.S. Lyon left behind two manuscript diaries written during the period when he lived in London’s East End. The first was kept over the course of a full year in 1823. The second one includes intermittent reflections kept between 1826-1839. Lyon carried the diaries with him when he moved to Kingston, Jamaica. His descendants have preserved the diaries in a private archive.
The writing in the diaries chart Lyon’s attempts to become educated, start a business, and navigate illness and what he calls “dullness,” or what contemporary readers might consider to be a form of depression. Lyon failed in his business ventures in London and Paris, and ultimately moved to Jamaica where he had family and friends. Records of his life in Jamaica are scarce.
Photographs of the original pages of the diaries are published on this site along with transcriptions by Naomi Cream, a descendant of A.S. Lyon. For a detailed discussion of Lyon’s family and writing be sure to read chapter 3 of Strangers in the Archive (Kaufman, 2022).