Saturday, 10 June 2017

Celebration of Diaries - an Exhibition ...




I went to the Dear Diary Exhibition at King’s College, London in the Inigo Rooms of Somerset House … these will be jottings on various snippets of information I noted …
The Courtyard, Somerset House


Some of the work was copyright - so no photos … but I did note that people’s handwriting is difficult to behold – let alone read … especially through glass: nothing changes as time goes on!  (thank goodness for the typed or spoken word … spoken: perhaps not so much – dialects etc).


Exhibition Guide



I whizzed through, glanced at … picked out some salient points …  so please excuse this disjointed post …



The first ‘diary’ was the Almanac (c 1400 BC) … almanac in Arabic apparently means making a camel kneel: ‘al-munak’ … that’s what was written up …. ?!




There was a long hanging banner with some
of the works on display down the staircase

Almanacs … we bloggers and authors know and quite often refer to them … they record the calendar, weather, poems, sayings, astronomical and astrological information, other relevant aspects to the writer …



The word 'diary' comes from the Latin "diarium" (daily allowance), as too 'journal' - it is from the same root "diurnus" (of the day).



The first use of the word ‘diary’ occurred in 1581 … while Ben Jonson in 1605 coined the word to mean a daily record in his comedy ‘Volpone’.




Gentleman and Tradesman, Daily Pocket Journal
for the year 1754

Some diarists used code in their writings … Pepys - naval administrator and diarist - (1633 – 1703), Anne Lister – diarist, mountaineer and traveller (1791 – 1840), Charles Wesley – a leader in the Methodist movement (1707 – 1788) and Beatrix Potter –author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist (1866 – 1943) …



Anne Lister (aka "Gentleman Jack")



Anne Lister inherited from her landowning uncle … she wrote in 1803 ‘my library is my greatest pleasure … the Grecian history had pleased me much’.  She was known as “Gentleman Jack” … it is worth reading up about her






Anne Frank School Photo
in 1940

Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) kept a diary … Beatrice Webb (1858 – 1943) co-founder of the London School of Economics wrote a diary … and I can’t forget Anne Frank (1929 – 1945) who kept a diary …



But a film had been made in Germany in 1929 ‘Diary of a Lost Girl’ … it is a silent film … considered a classic … based on a controversial book first published in Germany in 1905.  I would like to read the book and see the film …



Diary of a Lost Girl - silent film:
original German poster
There are many items on display … in manuscript form … until that internet thing came upon us … then one of the first to embrace the new medium recording her thoughts for all to see was Carolyn L Burke …


… in 1995 she seems to have embraced the new technology and started sharing …


… the use of  ‘blog’ and ‘blogosphere’ first appeared as words in 1999 …




Western Mail Diary - cost 3 shillings

Carolyn observed that she was able to share her interests, she had an audience – a range of characters, ‘they’ became her therapist, her confidante, her intimate friend ….


… the momentum gathered and after several months alone by herself on the net … they started visiting … at the peak she had 100,000 hits and numerous followers … and critics ... 

I am sure she is still around … but she encourages others inwhat is apparently her last entry in 2007.









… the exhibition asks us to participate – I used pen and post-it note to add my tuppence to the board of experiences – yellow for online, blue for handwritten … guess mine = yellow!


So many can let others know what is happening in their world … refugees, a child’s view on a riot in Paris in 1968, a day in the life of a UNICEF worker in Yemen … and bloggers around the world …


… if you wish to participate – this is the site … I hope someof you will …

The art work appearing with Einsam's link ... 


There is a song, which I rather like: “Ephemera – Dear Diary” by Einsam: to be found here … Einsam means lonely


Lots of alternatives for diary keeping today … video, taped, via an app, online blogging or vlogging … and of course pen and paper …




Facsimile page of Anne Frank's diary
on show in Berlin

However I’m happy with doing what I do – I’d hate for my life to be out there for everyone to read … so boring, so illegible!, these posts at least keep me amused and a few of you – for whom I am mighty grateful …



Other links:  The Diary of a Lost Girl - the book

The Exhibition: "Dear Diary - celebrates diaries and their digital descendants" ... 


Cover of the first edition: 1892

Over the centuries (millennia) diaries have offered unique accounts of given times, in a medium selected by the diarist … no other kind of document offers such a wealth of information about daily life, and the ups and downs of human existence.



Apart from exploring what motivates diarists, noting the ways in which paper diaries have been joined by phones and tablets as our means of keeping track of daily life … 


Stranger than fiction probably ... especially the historical details and facts that make up our understanding of earlier lives.

An Addendum - Mike from A Bit About Britain mentioned the Mass Observation Project conducted by Sussex University ... it looks fascinating: so here are two links ...

The Mass Observation Archive - gives an overview ... 80 years of social observation ...

The MOA is archived at the University's new facility in The Keep

I'm going out to the Keep sometime soon ... so now will ask about this collection ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

60 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

I adore diaries and letters and read them with very real pleasure. A snapshot into other lives, cultures, times...
I haven't kept a diary of my own since my anxt-ridden, self indulgent teens. At least in part because it would bore people to sobs.
Another fascinating post with links to explore. Thank you.

Annalisa Crawford said...

The authors of those diaries would have had no idea of them being so interesting and important so many decades/centuries after they were written (apart from Queen Victoria, I suppose) They are fascinating insights to every day lives that we can only imagine - the basis of a lot of social history research.

M. Denise C. said...

Hilary, my friend Kristine and I stumbled upon this exhibition on our way to the Courtauld Gallery yesterday. It was outstanding. I am now at Heathrow on my way home. I spent 2 weeks in London and 2 days of that was at Waterloo. When were you at King's College? Cheers, Denise

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - now I'm fascinated by diaries etc ... so much history and as you say others' lives, times and cultures ... I've never kept a diary - but this one seems to keep going ... my personal life would bore you all to sobs - as you say yours would ... good phrase 'bore to sobs'! Enjoy the links ...

@ Annalisa - I'm sure you are right that few of them would have known we'd be fascinated into researching into them all these years later - as you say - the basis of a lot of social history research ... and we wouldn't know as much about the Fire of London (1666) but for Pepys' diary ...

@ Denise - I'm glad I emailed earlier and hope you picked it up before you flew back home - though I know you will later.

Wonderful to see you found the exhibition on your way to the Courtauld Gallery - I'm assuming you saw the Bloomsbury Art and Design exhibition there ... which is on til the Autumn - so I hope to catch it later.

I visited the Wednesday before ... but looking forward to reading your posts on your visit over here ... must have been such fun - as too the visit over to Waterloo ...

Cheers to the three of you - enjoy the weekend ... Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Blogging isn't even twenty years old.
I'm glad I don't keep one as having it on display after I die sounds horrifying.

Debbie D. said...

It's always fascinating to read about the lives of others, especially from a historical perspective. Interesting to learn that blogging started in the late '90s. I'm about 10 years behind! The plot for 'Diary of a Lost Girl' sounds pretty risqué for early 20th century. It makes for a good story, though. Thanks for sharing your discoveries, Hilary. Have a nice weekend.

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

It used to be I felt like a voyeur when reading someone's diary, no matter from how long ago. I loved it, but wondered how I would feel if someone were to read my words long after I was gone. Illogical, maybe, but there it is. The blogs I read, and the blogging that I do is pretty much the fluff stuff, I don't like airing the dirty laundry, or at least very little. Diaries from the past, long before my time are very interesting, especially in that even though the way of life was so different, our internal struggles are so much the same.
Loved this article, and will definitely visit the project.
Andrea

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Fascinating! I was in London last weekend, but didn't know about this. Though I completely get the therapeutic value of keeping a diary or journal, the writer must surely make a conscious decision about whether or not it will be shared at some point, perhaps after they are gone. Is this a secret desire to be understood, forgiven - or something...??? Did the exhibition mention the Mass Observation Project? - here's a link for anyone who has not heard of it http://www.sussex.ac.uk/library/speccoll/collection_introductions/massobs

Another intriguing post, Hilary. Ta!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex - I know blogging is VERY new ... and exactly horrifying it would be ...

@ Debbie - it is from our perspective of people from many eras ... well I have kept this up for over eight years - I'd have never have done it with a conventional diary. That book and film from Germany does seem to be a very interesting and risque story as you mention ... glad you enjoyed the post though ...

@ Andrea - reading the old diaries is fascinating ... I guess if I were 'long dead' I wouldn't mind someone finding my diaries -there won't be one though!

It's interesting reading different blogs - as we get a viewpoint of others' lives ... I don't think I could write any other way than the way I do - so no disclosures here! Glad you'll be looking through the links ...

@ Mike - thanks for this- I checked out your link and it needs updating ... as here: http://www.massobs.org.uk/12may

and the overview: http://www.thekeep.info/collections/mass-observation-archive/

I didn't see mention of this project - as I needed a decent amount of time there to look properly at everything - but we have it here and I've added it in to the post. Thank you so much for telling us about it ...


Thanks to the four of you - so glad this post resonated ... cheers Hilary

Joanne said...

I would have loved to join you for this exhibit. Quite fascinating. I love reading old diaries and letters on display. Went to an exhibit a few years ago about the making of Gone With the Wind and there were some journals on display. In Fort Worth, the Amon Carter has some diaries by Charles Russell, the painter. He writes and also has lovely drawings about his western travels. (rather neat handwriting too). Quite fascinating.

Out on the prairie said...

I remember a sister having a diary, which when locked made many want to see what was inside. Turned out to be very little that interested me, but fun to read secrets.

A Cuban In London said...

Fantastic. Thanks for the heads-up. I will be around that area tomorrow to watch a film at the ICA, so maybe I will pop in. I haven't been to Somerset House for ages.

Greetings from London.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It seems like an invasion of privacy, but think of all the history recorded in diaries.

Rhodesia said...

I used to love my diary but the blog has taken over!! I am now so sorry that I let my mother's diaries be burnt. At he time I felt that I would be intruding reading them. Now I regret it. So many things I now would like to know. Ce qui sera sera.

Great post well done Hilary. Diane

Botanist said...

Diaries give a great insight into how life was lived in times past. I wonder whether the plethora of blogs today will even be readable in a hundred years' time. Technology changes make old formats obsolete so quickly I suspect much of today's online material will be inaccessible in a decade or two.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joanne - it'll be on - if you jump a plane and come on over!?! That Gone with the Wind exhibition sounds as though it was a treat to visit ... the Amon Carter Museum looks to be really interesting ... Charles Russell, the early American West Artist, obviously is a brilliant artist; and with neat handwriting ... lucky chap! So pleased you enjoyed the post ...

@ Steve - I think we all had diaries with a little padlock - and I'm sure many were 'hacked' ... yes fun to read secrets ... bad boy!!

@ ACIL - oh that's great - I'm sure you'll enjoy it ... the ICA is nearby isn't it. Let us know please.

@ Diane - but well after the event and with the historical details it'd be so useful to each generation ... the recent ones would be intrusive wouldn't they ...

@ Diane - interesting that your blogs have taken over; oh gosh how sad - that you did that to your mother's diaries ... I can understand why though ... do things in haste, regret later on ... if my mother had had a diary I'd have loved to know more ... but sadly she destroyed everything so I too will never know.

@ Ian - yes diaries do enlighten us as to times gone by. You're right about digital technology and my posts are in written format too ... but whether bloggers will be around in a decade or two is an interesting thought.

Thanks so much for your comments and extra input ... fun to read about ... cheers Hilary

Maria said...

My goodness! Anne Lister wrote a 4 million word diary. Wow!
This is really interesting Hilary, thank you for sharing with us.

Susan said...

Without these diaries, our world and what we know about it would be so much the poorer. What an interesting exhibit!

Ann Bennett said...

Fascinating. I am a fan of reading diaries. Lots of nuggets of information are in them. I'm also fascinated with those who keep them. Such discipline they have.

Birgit said...

I have read The Diary of Anne Frank many times one being just before I visited where she his with her family from the Nazis. It was humbling to say the least especially seeing the church from the window just as she described. Love Louise Brooks and I would love to see this film as I have only seen clips. I have never kept a diary per se but have written down certain thoughts when I needed to get them out of my head.

Karen Walker said...

I loved my diary when I was a little girl - it had a key and I wrote my innermost secret thoughts. Then I began journalling in the 1970s.Now blogging. This must be a wonderful exhibit. Wish I could see it.

Betsy Brock said...

Fascinating stuff! I suppose most people who keep a diary of their most intimate thoughts would not want them read by the public at some point in the future. Haha. I kept one for a few years as a teenager and by college decided to throw it away so nobody would ever be able to read it! Wise choice, I think. Lol

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Maria - Anne Lister is a very interesting woman to learn more about. Just so glad you enjoyed the post and information ...

@ Susan - good to see you ... and as you say if we didn't have this knowledge to look through and learn about our earlier life - it was a fascinating exhibit ...

@ Ann - discipline to keep one up certainly ... while there can be lots of nuggets of interesting information in them or major sources of social history ... lots of other people who I didn't mention kept diaries of varying sorts ...

@ Birgit - I have never read Anne Frank's diary but having just heard a few very short programmes on her diary I obviously should - an incredible thinker - even though so young and in such circumstances.

The Louise Brooks film and the relevant book do look to be very stimulating ... one day! It's good writing things down help ...

@ Karen - I'm sure I had one of those diaries, but can't say even back then it enamoured me ... nor journaling ... so I admire anyone who does either ... but blogging I'm happy to do - the exhibit is fascinating ...

@ Betsy - I think that's right ... Rudyard Kipling insisted on his diary being destroyed by his wife on his death - she did it ... But yes I'd hate anyone to read my internal thoughts! You were probably wise to chuck yours in those days of youth ...

Cheers to you - it's interesting to read your thoughts on diary recording ... Hilary

sage said...

This sounds like a wonderful exhibit. I have nearly 40 years of journals (I never called them diaries, but started them the year I graduated from college) and have begun thinking what I should do with them when I am no more.

Fil said...

Diaries are fascinating, although like many of the others commenting here I'd hate for anyone to read mine after I'd gone so I've never kept one apart from daily journal ramblings which are slightly different and which get ripped up every so often ... It sounds like a brilliant exhibition Hilary.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Hi Hilary - It is interesting how much we've learned from others diaries, and I agree that it is a form of therapy. One of the best examples that you mentioned was Anne Frank. We envisioned some of the horrors of the Holocaust through her eyes. So sad that her short life ended in tragedy. Thanks for sharing this fascinating exhibit with us.

Julie

Becca said...

I feel like blogs are modern day diaries. It's neat getting to know other people's thoughts!

Nilanjana Bose said...

What an interesting subject for an exhibition! I enjoy reading journals and old letters. But don't journal myself - very boring life, would drive me insane to write it down :) that's why I prefer writing made up things instead.

Have a great week.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sage - how interesting you've kept your journal up for 40 years ... well perhaps these notes here have given you some food for thought for your decisions re the journals ... good luck in that direction ...

@ Fil - I agree with you re others in the public eye whose diaries are fascinating insights into life ... I can quite see your point in ripping out your own journalling rambles ... it was a fascinating exhibition ...

@ Julie - yes we do learn a lot don't we from other diaries ... Pepys being one ... but as you mention Anne Frank -thank goodness her father was saved and was able to piece her writings and thoughts back into a diary format for us. She was some young lady with some very interesting and important ideas of her time ...

@ Becca - in many ways they are ... and now there are so many of us writing blogs of different descriptions - which blogs can be ... I wonder how many will stay the course of time ...

@ Nila - yes it must have taken some gathering together - the old diaries and records with the very modern ... like you - life in my terms is very boring for others to read ... and I think you've made a very salient point -I'd be driven insane doing it ... so agree with you there. Your writings are great to read ...and as they amuse you and interest you ... write your ideas down ...

Thanks so much - the post is letting us give our own ideas as to what we do with our diaries and journals if we have them ... cheers and have a good week - Hilary

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What a great exhibit! I'd love to see it.

I've kept a diary on and off since I was in first or second grade. I'm like you, now "so boring...so illegible! HA!", but it's neat to see what was going on in my head when I was a teenager (I wrote daily then).

I'm not familiar with Anne Lister--looking her up now!

Pamela Wright said...

I used to love going to Somerset House for the special exhibitions when we lived in London so I'm sure this was as interesting as it sounds. I've always been fascinated by people who can write in a diary/journal every day of their lives - my dad kept a diary all his life, even if it was just a sentence or two, he wrote every day until he became ill. I envy people with that much dedication as it must be great to look back on your life in words. I'm afraid that I'm going to stick to the blogging as it's the most comfortable for me. Thanks for sharing your visit Hilary.

Christine Rains said...

It's amazing blogging isn't that old yet when it feels like I've been doing it for so much longer. I kept a diary since I was a girl, but nowadays I only have time to keep up with my blog. Such a fantastic exhibit! It's fascinating to read about the daily aspects of lives through the ages.

DMS said...

This sounds like an interesting exhibit. I have kept handwritten diaries on and off throughout my life. I keep them for myself and to get out emotions or things that are bothering me. My best friend has strict instructions to burn them and destroy them all immediately if something ever happens to me. I wouldn't want others reading them! As for my online blogging- I am okay with those thoughts being out in the universe after I am gone. :)

Thanks for sharing!
~Jess

Chrys Fey said...

I love diaries! But what's funny is that whenever I get one, I never know what to write in it. I feel as though it should be special, and my daily thoughts aren't special or important.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Keeping a journal is recommended for writers. I don't think mine will ever be famous. I wonder what those in the future will think of what we've all written today.

cleemckenzie said...

Diaries give us insights into history that our history books just cannot do. I've often thought we should have diaries as co-textbooks. Read the history and then read the personal experiences of people set in that context.

Jo said...

A very interesting exhibition. You have endless curiosity Hilary, I admire that.

Wrote a diary for a while, many years ago and then 9 years ago took up blogging.

Anabel Marsh said...

This sounds a fascinating rxhibition. I kept a diary for a short time as a teenager, then ripped it up as too embarrassing! Now, of course, like you I blog - making sure not to include anything that might cause embarrassment.......

As far as diarists go, my favourite is Pepys.

Murees Dupé said...

I love the outings you have and the places you visit, Hilary. I think it must be so wonderful to see such old documents having stood the test of time and being seen in these modern times. I used to own a diary, but it never felt right having my most private thoughts out there, for anyone to just read if they opened my diary. So that was quickly disposed of. But I do think it would be cool to see what people 100, or even 200 years ago struggled with, or what they thought worthy of writing down.

troutbirder said...

Perhaps that early 17th century writer who claimed anyone who writes without getting paid is a fool had a point BUT I enjoy writing thru my blogs story telling... and money has nothing to do with it. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elizabeth – oh gosh that’s industrious of you … but yes I can see looking back must be interesting to see what you were doing and thinking about … good source for your books I expect. Anne Lister is someone different for those times.

@ Pamela – I’ve been to odd ones at Somerset House, when I get up to London … and it was very well put together. I hope you were able to keep your Dad’s diary … and it’s available for the records somewhere. I can’t back track and write a diary –but I’m enjoying blogging.

@ Christine – yes to think that we are almost the pioneers of blogging is really amazing. You’re probably right to concentrate on your blog and your books … you have lots going on – it was a pleasure to see the exhibits and to learn some more – we’ve learnt lots from the diaries left through the ages …

@ Jess – well you’ve established what needs to be done to your diaries later on – which makes sense. No doubt you’ll be reiterating that instruction after this post? … yes I’m ok with what I’m writing via the blog or via the comments and have nothing that is worth chasing around the internet for!

@ Chrys – yes I think I can echo your thoughts – if I had a great philosophical mind then it’d be worth keeping a diary … but that is not the case.

@ Susan – I know … that idea of keeping a journal is recommended for anyone wishing to make writing a career. It’d be interesting to come back in 100 years and see what was going on – wouldn’t it?

@ Lee – you’re right there - we learn so much from diaries from the past and that social history is essential to our knowledge today.

Certainly for relatively recent history that would work – and what an interesting idea … a diary as a co-text book against the history book … it would certainly work for nature type books …

@ Jo – I just enjoy looking at exhibitions and keeping my brain occupied. Blogging is different to writing a diary … I’d rather blog …

@ Anabel – yes I can quite see why you ripped your diary up as being too embarrassing … I just don’t think I got that far … The blog is relatively benign and like you I’m fairly careful with what I put out there …

Pepys let us know about life in the latter half of the 1700s … while naturalists recorded natural history, perhaps on particular subjects – birds, plants, sea-life etc … all there for us to glean information from today and to see the changes.

@ Murees – thanks so much … delighted you enjoy these vicarious visits with me – we are lucky here in the UK there is much on offer. Well done for deciding to destroy what you’d written and not write a diary as such … your blog gives us an insight. I know I’d love to come back and read more into life covering the areas that interest me over the eras …

@ TB – in the 17thC so many would not have been paid, or would have struggled to get their dues … blogging has given us an outlet of storytelling, or an essay on daily life … yes – no money around here!

Thanks so much everyone – you’ve given me some other ideas here to expand on this post … take care and have good weeks – finally a day of summer sun down here … cheers Hilary

Gattina said...

I started a diary when I was 13 and wrote until 17, then I stopped. It helped me to understand my son in his teenage years, and also later I found it interesting how I thought and what my plans were. Now my Blog is sort of diary !

Lynn said...

I think our blogs are a like diaries of sorts, but I admire these written ones.

Lovely post!

Robert Bennett said...

I actually tried to write a diary once. Unfortunately, I was younger and the contents were actively used against me by my family members. I think it's why I turned to fictional writing. It's a way that I can get out the pent up energy and imagination and filter it into a good story that, while cathartic for me, might be fascinating for the reader and not translatable to material that can be used to abuse.

Liz A. said...

Speaking of Anne Frank, the anniversary of her getting a diary for her 13th birthday was just yesterday...

I tried to write a diary when I was younger. It didn't take. I love being able to type. But writing thoughts down is said to help people deal with them.

Lon Anderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Lange said...

The history of the diary is interesting. I'd never thought much about it, but we really can learn much in the way of history and human nature through them, can't we? I for one, don't think your history is boring. I do like hearing about your adventures and musings. But I have to agree, don't know that I'd want my life splashed about for all to see years down the road. The personal stuff, anyway. :) Have a great week!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - well that's good it helped with your own son so that you could understand his teenage years ... and then seeing your plans for your future - yes now the blogs ...

@ Lynn - blogs are like diaries aren't they ...but the regular ones written down must be so disciplined ...

@ Robert - I think we've all probably tried to write a diary - certainly for me it was of no avail.

That's terrible that your diary was used that way - I wonder to how many others that has happened - cruel. I can quite understand why you turned to fictional writing as you obviously love writing stories and describing things. I'm glad you're finding it cathartic and yes we do find your posts very interesting to read ... just appalled at the abuse scenario you mentioned.

@ Liz - oh did Anne Frank receive her first diary yesterday 13th June ... I see her birthday was 12th June - so perhaps then. I'd looked because I wanted to read about her father being the only survivor and being able to put her diary into its present state - and have it translated for publication in 1952.

Thank goodness for typing I say ... my writing is dreadful ... and I know that a lot of people find writing things out helpful in clarifying decisions or problems ...

@ Lon - good to see you ...and I'm so pleased you've visited and left us a comment.

How interesting that you're thinking of starting up writing a diary again after being here. Incredible you've your own personal Magick journal - you must be very committed to your ideas and writings etc - I'll be over shortly.

Thanks for letting me know where you are ... and you too peace and happiness ..

Cheers to you all - thanks so much for visiting and leaving comments ... Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen - missed you off - sorry! I'm glad you found this interesting and yes we've learnt so much over the years from people writing things down in a methodical manner for a period of time. I quite agree the personal stuff would be a real bore to read - well mine would be ... but I enjoy the blog and have taught myself so much - just having the blog and being allowed to develop it whichever way I wish to go and visit many others - fascinating ... cheers Hilary

Jean Davis said...

When I think of diaries, I think of private and personal musings. A whole exhibition of them seems highly ironic. But yes, we can learn a lot from them, especially those from the past.

FinnBadger said...

Fascinating. I love the cover of the exhibit guide - it would make good mail art :)

Jacqui Murray said...

I never kept a diary--wasn't interested. I am intrigued that Queen Victoria kept one, especially since I feel I know her based on the PBS series on her life.

Sherry Ellis said...

Diaries are fascination snapshots of a person's life. When history is infused into them, the stories become even more interesting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jean - yes that's what I thought ... but since the internet things have moved on a pace ... the range in the exhibition was quite broad, but we weren't overwhelmed - a sufficient display to give a good insight ... and we do learn ...

@ Phillip - I expect you see mail art everywhere you look - rather like I see blog posts all over the place ... very disconcerting! But useful as I always have things I can write about ...

@ Jacqui - I tried to keep a diary as one does in one's early teenage years - failed dismally. That's great the producers did such an excellent job for you about Queen Victoria ...

@ Sherry - the diaries they mentioned or showed and those that I've thought of since ... and noted afterwards - all open my eyes ...

Thanks for the visit ... and your thoughts on diaries ... cheers Hilary

diedre Knight said...

Illegible handwriting is the one thing that I felt kept my diary safe from prying eyes ;-) I think of diaries as unintended memoirs of life and times transcribed from the heart of the writer. While I do feel a sense of guilt when reading them, I find diaries of yore to be irresistible.
Every time I read your posts I feel as if I've been on a fabulous journey - thank you, Hilary!

Click said...

It's interesting that you mention people writing diaries in code.

When I was a teenager my diaries would get read if they were found at home so I adopted my own code using Tolkien's runes from the back of The Lord of the Rings so that no one could read them.

Even now I use an Elvish script to write notes to myself at work that I don't want people to read!

Cait @ Click's Clan

Kim Blades said...

Wonderful interesting post Hilary. I used to write a diary entry nearly every day from when I was about 6 to 14. But stopped then for some reason that I have forgotten and haven't written a diary since!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diedre - the trouble with illegible handwriting is - that even I can't read my own at times! I love the idea of the early recorders of nature and the seasons ... those are totally absorbing ... I can read a bit at a time. The diaries that are available to us now - open our eyes to the different eras ... or a specific time ... as the Great Fire of London 1666 via Pepys ...

Thanks so much re the complement ... I enjoy writing things up - I learn so much and too have repeat journeys!

@ Cait - yes I was fascinated by so many writing in code - and I guess we probably all thought about doing that ... or tried it ... I'd forget the code! Interesting you used Tolkien's runes and even now use the Elvish script ... fascinating - what fun and frustrating for peering work colleagues!

@ Kim - I expect you stopped when you realised your writing wasn't secret and life was more interesting and thus difficult to write about, no time to write or when people might peek ... many of us fall into your category ...

Cheers to the three of you ... have good weekends - Hilary

Kim Blades said...

Hi Hilary. I've just read all three of your new posts again and thoroughy enjoyed them all again. What a lot of research you must have done. My mother as a child was the spitting image of Anne Frank.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Kim - thanks so much for re-reading my recent posts ... I do what I can with the information I have available - so I appreciate that you give me credit for the posts. Interesting that your mother as a child looked so like Anne Frank ... she looked a really lively child - so so sad ... but thankfully her father survived and was able to piece together her diary into a publishable format - for which we have access to today ... cheers Hilary