The Name’s the Thing

I have been asked recently about the name of the diary archive.  Since it does not officially exist I can still change the name.

There is disagreement and confusion over whether ” journal” or “diary” is more accurate or inclusive.  I like to call my books “journals” as they are not merely records of daily activities, but this archive would be for all forms of self-recording, from journals to diaries to travel logs to letters.  We might include taped diaries – say those on cassette or reel to reel tapes.   I have quite a bit of all these various forms from my own family…going back over 100 years.

One of my readers keeps transposing letters – diary to dairy.  I admit I do the same.  Still, I think a “diary” archive sounds best.  I am loathe to name it for my unsupportive city.  Besides, to think we might some day have more than one archive is too much to hope for.

An alternative name is the “Anam Cara Diary Archive.”  (Pronounced Ah num car uh.) I stole this idea from a John O’ Donohue  interview.  He wrote a book by this title.  In Gaelic your “anam cara” is your soul friend, someone to whom you confess.  This sounds to me like the perfect name for a diary archive, yet who knows Gaelic?

A while back I thought I read that a non-profit could not be called “national.”  That may not be true.

In any case, the archive really has no name yet, but I strongly support having “diary archive” in the title.  I am open to all suggestions and will settle on a name when it becomes a non-profit.











7 Responses to “The Name’s the Thing”

  1. chassismae Says:

    There is a cool nonprofit that encourages kids to write called “826 National”; I think it’s based on their address.

    Have you contacted your local historical society, the Library of Congress, or National Archive just to ask questions? I know diaries are often used as primary source materials for historical research–and I see your archive being used that way in the future.

    My library offers workshops for nonprofits, mostly for grant writing, but there may be some for starting one up. Have you tried creating a group on That’s a good way to generate some interest.

    I always feel like I’m writing to “someone,” not just my present or future self (never anyone I know). So I like the sentiment behind the name you came up with, but because it’s unusual, it might make it hard for people to find when they search for it on the internet. Also, “cara” means face in Spanish, and is the feminine of “caro” which means expensive.

    I think diary is a good term. I use both journal and diary. Journal makes me feel more like a “real” writer 🙂 when I’m talking to someone else. A journal could also be a periodical, so if you had a “journal archive” some people might think they could find back issues of literary journals.

    I’m glad to see you’re back on the path!


    • Pc Says:

      I’ve been trying for a year to contact you, Ms. Manuel, re the Archive, but you have no contact information. You request feedback yet it’s impossible to get in touch with you, via a personal email.


  2. cynthiamanuel Says:

    Pc: As far as I know, you are the only one who has been unable to reach me. I feel like the good witch in The Wizard of Oz telling Dorothy that she always had the power to go home…”just click your heels”…no, seriously, all you had to do was write a comment and they send it to me. I guess I assumed the address was somewhere on this blog. I tried to find it and couldn’t. So, try But why not share your feedback with everyone?


  3. woodswoman Says:

    I have been a member of the National Association for Poetry Therapy, and it is definitely a non-profit. So I do think one can have a non-profit organization with the word “National” in it.


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      There seem to be several issues with my blog. Many comments have not come through to me. Hope to get problems ironed out soon. Wish I had known earlier that my mail was not coming through. So far we have failed to figure out what’s wrong. Thanks for the notice. Cynthia


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