A primary source document from 1878 on how to observe a total solar eclipse. It includes a template for drawing the corona, and government instructions for observing the eclipse both with your eye or a camera. The template is on page 31 with an example on page 33.
James Fenimore Cooper’s recollections of the 1806 eclipse. The article is a detailed description of his experience viewing the eclipse.
Maria Mitchell, the Vassar astronomer who headed an all-female expedition to Denver for the 1878 eclipse, also brought Vassar students to the 1869 eclipse in Iowa. Here is an essay she wrote about that experience.