Project Participants and Acknowledgements

This website would not be possible without the generous financial support of the Francis and Ruth Redelmeier Professorship in Rural History.

Founder and Project Director

Catharine Anne Wilson

Catharine Anne Wilson, F.R.S.C. holds the Francis and Ruth Redelmeier Professorship in Rural History and teaches Canadian History at the University of Guelph. Her passion for diaries began when she read her great, great grandmother’s diary and used it in her award-winning article “Reciprocal Work Bees and the Meaning of Neighbourhood,” Canadian Historical Review, which has been reprinted in six anthologies. She is now using hundreds of diaries to write a book on barn raisings and quilting bees and they inspired this website. Research for her book was funded by a Social Science and Humanities Research Grant. More is available about Cathy and others working on Rural History at

Current Team Members


Past Team Members                       




We benefitted greatly from the expertise of various individuals at the McLaughlin Library, University of Guelph and College of Arts, University of Guelph.

Kathryn Harvey, Chief Archivist of Archives and Special Collections Universityof Guelph, reviews diary donations and cares for original diaries in the University of Guelph collection. The archives have many other collections of interest to rural scholars including farm magazines and cookbooks.

Adam Hammond, holder of the Michael Ridley Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Digital Humanities, has guided and encouraged this project from its inception.

Wayne Johnston, Head of Research Enterprise & Scholarly Communications, coordinates technical assistance.

Heather Martin, University Copyright Officer, advises on licensing and copyright issues as they arise.

Melissa McAfee, Special Collections Librarian, has advised us on website design and best practises.

Paul Forrest, Media Design & Producer in the College of Arts, looks after artistic design. 

We would like to thank the following repositories and individuals for making diaries in their possession available for this project.

The Archives of Ontario

Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph

Buxton National Historic Site & Museum

Don Carpenter

Dufferin County Museum & Archives

Gail Spanier, Laure Jansen & Catharine Wilson
Grey Roots County Museum and Archives

Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol

Markham Museum

Middleville and District Museum

Norwich and District Archives

Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA)

Queen's University Archives

Simcoe County Archives

Toronto Public Library

Uxbridge Historical Centre

Wellington County Museum and Archvives