Alfred A. Benitz Page last modified:
Photo of the diaries

1873 - 1877

Photo of the diaries

Laguna Yacaré &
“Los Palmares”
Day-books 1884-1904

Photo of the diaries

1901, 1904, & 1908

Photo of the diaries


Photo of the diaries


Alfred's Diaries & Day-Books

Alfred at Los Palmares, 1902

Los Palmares, 1902

Alfred began keeping a diary as a teenager in Oakland (California), a habit he continued until the day he died.  However, there are curious gaps in the diaries, there are traces of pages torn out, and his biography includes quotes from diaries which are now missing.

For many years Alfred recorded his activities in estancia day-books and may not have kept a personal diary; but the day-books do not cover all the missing years nor do they hold a record of his travels.  Why do we have detailed journals of most trips but not of his first trip to Europe & US in 1893, nor of his costliest, longest, and most adventurous trip of all: his safari in east Africa in 1910?  Apart from trips, why are there are no estancia day-books nor personal diaries from 1905 to 1925?  We suspect, (i) later Los Palmares day-books were not saved because Alfred was so often absent and/or had not written them (e.g. see 1902), (ii) diaries that could be embarassing were destroyed (e.g. the safari was not men only).

And what happened to Los Palmares? After 1904, he seldom mentions it.  His interest in it is not clear.  He visited it in October, 1927, and had a chance encounter during a trip to Campo Winter in 1929: “Echevarria of Los Palmares was on train” – Was it a chance encounter?  After Alfred died (1937), a map published in 1938 by the Registro Gráfico de la Provincia de Santa Fe labels Los Palmares as owned by “Sucesión de Alfredo Benitz” - i.e. in probate.

Regardless of the gaps, Alfred’s diaries and day-books provide us an impressive record of his doings and that of the family.  He recorded the family’s arduous journey to Argentina, many of his trips hunting and travelling about the world, and his more mundane daily activities.  His estancia day-books from Laguna Yacaré & Los Palmares are at first glance a boring daily record of who worked, rain (or lack of), indian troubles, and cattle movements — but as you read an image emerges of life as it was then, lived at the speed of a horse.

We have transcribed the diaries as written (verbatim), without correcting any errors in grammar and spelling; nor did we alter terminology that today is considered unacceptable or offensive.  Note that Alfred often left out possessive apostrophes, e.g. “Alfreds” should be “Alfred’s”; we did not add the missing apostrophes.  To aid the reader with Spanglish terminology, unfamiliar names (people & places), and old measures (weights, distances, currencies, etc.) we have provided a set of: Reference Pages.  We recommend you have them available — they will open in a separate window or tab.

Available Diaries
PDF files only;  Δ Transcription only
PDF & Tran. in Progress;  PDF & Transcription.

Years Subject Years Subject
1873-74Oakland (first diary) ----ΔJohn Todd’s Recollections
1874-75Journey to Argentina 1920Trip to UK & Europe
1876La California, year 2 1922A ride across the Andes
1877La California, year 3 1925Trip to UK
1884-85Laguna Yacaré day-book 1927-349 trips to Campo Winter
1888Laguna Yacaré day-book 1926The TL & El Rincón
Laguna Yacaré day-book
  & Dict. of indian terms
1927 The TL & El Rincón
1891-99Los Palmares day-book 1928 The TL & El Rincón
1899-02Los Palmares day-book 1929 The TL & El Rincón
1901 Hunt: Cañada del Rey, w/Todd 1930 The TL & El Rincón
1902Los Palmares day-book 1931 The TL & El Rincón
1902Hunt: Sta Fé, Sgo del Estero, Chaco 1932 The TL & El Rincón
1903Los Palmares day-book 1933 The TL & El Rincón
1904Los Palmares day-book 1934 The TL & El Rincón
1904Trip to Europe & USA 1935 The TL & El Rincón
1908Hunt: Yukon, with J.Todd 1936 The TL & El Rincón
1910 African safari, with J.Todd 1937 The TL & El Rincón

¡Thank you!

Special thanks are due to Stuart Pryor for providing us Uncle Alfred's diaries, David & Susan Horner for allowing us to copy Uncle Alfred & Auntie Olga”s photo albums, and lastly, those who transcribed the diaries — for the long tedious task of deciphering Uncle Alfred's scrawl: Jane Baggott, Jorge Cáceres, Michael Mohr-Bell, and René Benitz.

© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)