Diaries and Journals?
I had a document sitting on my desk the other day that I was due to return to the owner. This document was in a plastic bag to help protect it and well… it got me thinking. One of the things that I’ve found myself repeatedly accessing, when conducting research for the show, are the diaries and journals of those who made history or were a witness to it. The people who wrote these documents confided their most personal private thoughts and feelings, many times including their emotional hurts.
In most instances these historical records were not written with an eye toward the future. I wonder if these people would be horrified to learn that their diary or journal had been reproduced, sold on Amazon or kept in a University library for anyone to peruse. Would they be upset, angry or flattered? Some obviously would not mind, though others I suspect would be terribly embarrassed… maybe even a little hurt.
From a historical research perspective, I am extremely grateful to be able to have the privilege to access these documents. It helps me better understand what these people went through, endured and witnessed. I feel it opens an unfiltered window to the past and helps me to get to know them better.
In a previous blog I wondered about the loss of the art of writing. Perhaps it’s time we all kept a diary or journal. Maybe one day in the far far future a historian or researcher will get just a little bit excited over one of ‘our’ journals. I’ve experienced that excitement myself. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if they found something of value to help them better understand us and our time period?
I’m thinking that tonight… after my recording session… I will take a little time to write about my day. Maybe you should as well…