Diving into Ethel’s Diaries

This week, I spent time flagging Ethel’s many diaries. Each diary needs a flag that has the volume number and the date range. There are about 130 of them total, I think. They start in 1893, are written somewhat sporadically until 1907, then very consistently from 1907 until 1968.

I’ve probably flagged about 90 out of the 130, so this task is to be continued next week. You can see my progress in the photos below. I still need to turn all the flags sideways, since having them stick up means the shoebox top doesn’t close all the way. It was convenient to
be able to see the previous flag as I was going through this process, though. I also need to fill in the volume numbers in the first box, as I was hoping some of the missing diaries would turn up (there are a few obvious breaks in the chronology where one diary should be), but no such luck so far.

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Trying to read Ethel’s handwriting (see photo below) has been a bit of an adventure, even when all I need to find is the date. However, due to Ethel’s diligence in keeping her diaries, I was able to look at the first entry of the next diary in order to find what the last date in the previous diary should be, which made it a bit easier.

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She was religious about recording the weather; that’s how she starts each entry. She then writes about what she did that day, which often includes visiting friends and reading. Sometimes there is a list of purchases on the last few pages of a diary.

Below is a sampling of some of the notebooks she used. They are all different shapes and sizes and styles, but she only ever used a pencil to write.

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Until next week!