Beginning in 1808, a young man begins keeping a secret, ciphered journal of his life with terse detail of his days. Astronomical observations, interpersonal relationships (to put it mildly), weather notes, and the minutiae of a planter's life in 19th Century North Carolina were collected into these volumes that were nearly lost, decoded in 1979 and mostly forgotten again. The Coded Life of William Thomas Prestwood.
“People talk a little more of the war, but very little. As always hitherto, it is impossible to overhear any comments on it in the pubs, etc. Last night, E[ileen] and I went to the pub to hear the 9 o’c news. The barmaid was not going to have it on if we had not asked her, and to all appearances nobody listened.”On May 28, 1940, George Orwell began keeping a war time diary. Printed in “full and in chronological order” by the Orwell Trust, 70 years after he wrote them, with selected historian’s notes. Pre-war entries are a little duller, focusing on topics like recipes (macon!), the weather, gardening and farming. (Previously)
A Day in the Life of a Blacksmith (start here) is the 1869-70 diary of an apprentice blacksmith in Medfield, Massachusetts, in blog form. Brought to you by the American Antiquarian Society and its new blog Past is Present.
Jean M. Fasse (Red Cross during WWII, and later the Special Service). Shirley Ann Thacker (WAVE). Just two of the interviews from the extensive collection of material (photographs, letters, diaries, scrapbooks, oral histories and posters) at the Women Veterans Historical Collection.
YOB: George Orwell's Blog, brought to you by The Orwell Prize.
"August 9, 1938: Caught a large snake in the herbaceous border beside the drive..." [more inside]
Diary Junction. "An internet resource for those interested in historical and literary diaries and diarists." Information pages on over five hundred diarists are included.
Alex Ramsey's journal gives an account of his journey westward to join the 1849 Gold Rush, a laborious trek of no more than twenty-five miles a day which ended in illness and disappointment. "I am now convinced that I done very wrong in coming here with the hope of bettering my pecuniary condition alone and I now declare and humbly ask God to enable me to perform my promise that if I am again permitted to return to a land of peace and quietude, that I will strive to be content." From the Wyoming State Archives' Document Photo Gallery.