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Cheney was born in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard University in 1821. While at Harvard, he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. Cheney lived in Concord, MA for many years and was the subject of a lengthy memorial by his old Harvard classmate and fellow member of the Concord Social Circle, Ralph Waldo Emerson. The handwritten diary is an account of Cheney’s daily activities from January 1, 1824 through January 10, 1825. Entries include his law studies; numerous social engagements; and his reflections on politics, religion, and current affairs. On August 25, 1824, Cheney attended the Commencement exercises at Harvard where the Marquis de Lafayette was the guest of honor. Cheney was also in attendance the following day at the annual meeting of Phi Beta Kappa where Lafayette was again honored. On August 28th, Cheney recorded that he met and shook hands with Lafayette at a reception held at the new State House in Boston. Inside the diary was a souvenir paper doily commemorating Lafayette’s visit showing an engraved portrait of Lafayette and George Washington. The doily was transferred to the Marquis de Lafayette Memorabilia Collection.