About Diaries and Personal Journals

These sources potentially cover a range of documents generated by individuals on a daily basis in notebooks or loose sheets of paper. What these documents share in common is that they were generated as a running commentary on events, and so they can bring us closer to the observations and recorded reactions of individuals than publications prepared well after the fact. Examples are the two copied journal entries of the explorer Charles Francis Hall, which recorded oral history with two Inuit informants in the field. These documents can usefully be compared to evidence reported in Nourse’s compilation of the Narrative of Hall’s Second Expedition that was published 10 years later, reproduced in the books section of the archives.

Sunken ship