Oh to be young

This set of diaries are singular. They are a brilliant example of the exuberant, identity-seeking, shy yet bold wonder of youth! Kathryn Anne Koon's (née Green) diaries were written during the diarist's teen years and early twenties, during her time at secondary school and into the third year of university in her home town of Manchester. They contain a vivid account of her formative years; with all the hopes, dreams and anxieties associated with adolescence. Unusually, they are formatted as correspondence, with the diary afforded a persona ('Carie') and entries addressed and concluded like letters. Although entries are not made [...]

2019-08-02T13:05:09+01:00By |Collections|

One life, and a couple

Joyce Hinshelwood's diaries start as Boots Home Diaries (1965-1982), moving into predominantly A5 diaries from a variety of distributors, including Kew Gardens, Australia Diary, and Collins. The diaries are kept as appointment diaries with some notes on the diarist's day-to-day life. Topics covered include: the weather, hair appointments, friends, letters and phone calls received and returned, reminders for birthdays and anniversaries, church times and events, very brief one word descriptions of the weather, a little on the comings and goings of pets, bingo, croquet, health and general well-being. Diaries: 1965-2004 Accompanying the diaries are a vast number of letters - [...]

2019-08-02T13:02:55+01:00By |Collections|

The splendour of the sky

Everyday nature changes, everyday diary entries are different, everyday people change. But the essence of each remains a constant refrain. This diarist wove her love of nature, note-keeping and life into one. Giovanna Maria Laws kept records of appointments to be fulfilled and of outcomes from fulfilled appointments: to the doctors, garage, dentists etc. The comings and goings of family members to the home are commented on frequently; as are the weather and household accounts. She also kept detailed notes on nature. 'Nina's Nature Notes', 1985-1999 (mentioned on the back cover is a 'circular rainbow' - defined by the MET office, [...]

2019-08-02T12:57:59+01:00By |Collections|

Tinker tailor soldier spy

This diary is written by a tailor who lived in Southsea ( where my mum lives! ) in the mid-1800s. The pocketbook is inscribed at the front with the name of Benjamin Ivison, 16 Port Royal Street, Southsea. It seems to contain more than one hand, the content indicating the Ivison was a tailor. The book is bound in blue leather, with the initials 'BI' engraved on the clasp. It includes a small pencil and a pouch sewn into the front cover.

2019-08-02T12:54:25+01:00By |Collections|

A Kind Lady

We have recently received a deposit of Lady Gladys Arnold Robertson (nee Ingalls) diaries. This lady swung between mother-hood, acting the ambassador's wife role, and opening and maintaining a hospital in her hometown in Virginia, USA. She lived a full life. The first volume from 1900, is entitled in gold 'My Trip Abroad' - it is an indepth account of the young and single Miss G. Ingall's travels in Europe March to June 1900 (sailing from New York and returning from Liverpool via Spain and Italy). The diarist married Lord Malcolm Arnold Robertson in March 1917. The travel journal contains postcards [...]

2019-08-02T12:52:14+01:00By |Collections|

A writer and a wit

We were recently gifted the diaries of the niece of an existing diarist in the archive. The spirit lives on! Both diarists are fascinating and ground-breaking women. Frances Muriel Hazelton is the niece of diarist, Irene Griffiths. Frances' diaries are primarily exercise books of different colours and size. The diaries cover the diarist's adolescence and her 19th and 20th years, in which the diarist worked at the BBC as a 'female newsroom attendant' and her entry in to St Hugh's College in Oxford in the 60s, no mean feat for a woman in male preserve..... The diarist writes infrequently and [...]

2019-05-31T13:18:23+01:00By |Collections|

CityRead 2019

The Great Diary Project has, this month, spoken three times at libraries in London: Brent Library, Kensington and Chelsea Central Library and finally, Richmond Library. The highlight of the events was the attendees; they asked insightful questions which really promoted discussion and ideas. Thank you. http://cityread.london/events/

2019-05-31T13:13:19+01:00By |Collections|

Diaries as order to the chaos…..

Diaries often have printed material at the front (and sometimes back, or between pages). Including recipes, household tips, lunar and solar movements, international dialling codes... this material is dubbed a 'paratext'. Paratexts = information Information = knowledge Knowledge (can be seen to) = a way of knowing the world Knowing the world, describing the world (can be viewed as) = a form of control over it. Diarists write about their lives. The narrative structure diarists give to their lives in the pages of their diaries provides some a sense of structure, even, perhaps, a sense of reality and control in [...]

2019-03-08T16:38:06+01:00By |Collections|