What is the value of historical diary entries
Both kinds of personal texts rely on narrative, or storytelling, something which gives historians a useful, inspiring, and sometimes challenging threshold for the story they want to tell.
Diaries as historical sources
What does the hand-writing look like? Since many Mass Observation diarists wondered about the fate of their diaries, they were naturally interested in what happened at these familiar addresses. Transcribing with a computer and a word-processing program makes the work go faster and allows easy editing, duplicating, and excerpting. Activities Opener: Focus Discussion The Focus Questions for this activity offer students the opportunity to reflect upon the purpose of writing a diary and the intention of a writer to keep a diary. Being mainly notes to the self, they obscure as much as they explain. A recurring theme in these discussions was the extent to which an ordinary, private life might be or might not be interesting enough to record. What are some possible reasons this writer never used his name or referenced names in his family? They also gain important content knowledge. Is the content businesslike? Is the style typical of a particular time or place? What is it about? Only a minority of the Mass Observation diarists, already an atypical group in their interest in writing about their lives, made regular contributions over a period of at least two years. Historians focused instead on the topic collections and file reports, because these were short, indexable and legible. The idea of the archive as a place that can retain both tangible textual traces and more elusive private desires is now familiar to the British public from the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?
Moreover, letters and diaries each are given common shape by widely shared life events. As you examine the various forms of journal writing activities and implementation strategies, however, my hope is that all readers derive some benefit from this discussion, in accordance with the axiom, put forth by the Bradley Commission on History in Schools, that "variety is the spice of learning, just as it is of life.
Are some diaries more important than others? This helps the reader understand the complexity of the content and its emotional weight.
Perhaps more than any other kind of historical text, the personal writing we are considering reveals how people both embraced and resisted the time and place in which they lived.
Most, however, do not.
One disadvantage to using a primary source such as a letter or diary is
In what language is it written? Then they can communicate their understanding to their peers or an outside audience. Should Shakespeare be able? Most, however, do not. Some wrote for themselves, to capture their thoughts or feelings, and to preserve them for the future. It is striking that, for the first 30 years of its life, diaries were the least used material in the Mass Observation archive. As historical evidence, the diary remains stubbornly analogue. Nella continued to send entries for the next three decades. Being mainly notes to the self, they obscure as much as they explain. What is it about?
Feminine or masculine? Is the content businesslike?
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