A Speaking Engagement for the National Diary Archive
On October 10, 2011 I gave a presentation before the “Auntie Stone Questers” of Fort Collins about the National Diary Archive project. There were about a dozen women present. The focus of their group is on the history, collection and preservation of antiques. They are also involved in the preservation of historic structures. Each month a guest speaker is invited to lecture on a particular specialty within this almost unlimited field.
I began my talk with my own 47 year background in journal writing, then a little about my mother’s, great-grandmother’s, and great-great-grandmother’s diaries, ending with my current interest in establishing an archive. I illustrated what can be learned from studying old diaries by reading from a few I brought with me. I talked about some famous diarists and published diaries. My lecture emphasized why I believe old diaries should be preserved in an archive.
I gave this presentation in a local antiques flea market. Afterward I asked the owners if they had any diaries for sale. Interestingly, they said that in all the years they had been buying antiques they had never run across ANY journals. All they had was some sort of accounting book from a store.
Several of the women in the group brought family heirloom diaries and ephemera. We discussed where you might find old diaries…eBay, if nothing else.
I also mentioned the value of saving old letters, a subject I have not yet covered on this blog. Letters, I think, are more common in a family’s hand-me-down treasures. Keeping a journal requires ongoing dedication to a sometimes difficult task, a commitment many cannot make. Now that we are in an age where letter writing is nearly extinct, it is all the more important to save those old letters we find.