Every spring though fall, from 1871 to 1882, Samuel P. Avery, often accompanied by family or friends, set out on European art-buying trips, dividing his time between London, Paris, the Low Countries, and Germany, with occasional excursions through Switzerland, Austria, and northern Italy. Avery tirelessly made the rounds of artists' studios and shops purchasing paintings, prints, photographs, textiles, and fine examples of the decorative arts. The five black-and-purple leather-bound diaries became the repository for his accounts of his daily business activities for twelve years. These blank books were originally purchased at Webster and Larkin Stationers, Piccadilly, and each contains approximately 150 to 200 pages. Avery made entries in the diaries, on a daily basis with a running record of accounts in the back of each volume.
Illustrated: first entry in Samuel P. Avery Diaries, Wednesday, April 12, 1871