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

Adam Doan, Systems Developer at the University of Guelph Library, maintains the infrastructure of the website     


Past Team Members

Jodey Nurse assists in the collection and copying of diaries for this project.

Sarah A Kelly populates the website with text and images.Jacqui McIsaac assists with historical research on the diarists and is our photographer.



Julia Barclay, webmaster, manages social media, prepares diaries for publication, and maintains the website.Lisa Tubb blogs, interviews participants and prepares material for publicity.

Charles Buck, webmaster, manages social media, prepares diaries for publication, and maintains the website.


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 for making diaries in their possession available for this project.

The Archives of Ontario

Archival & Special Collections, University of Guelph

Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre

Buxton National Historic Site & Museum

Dundas Museum and Archives

Dufferin County Museum & Archives

Elgin County Archives

Glengarry County Archives

Guelph Civic Museum
Grey Roots County Museum and Archives
Harrow Early Immigrant Research Society
Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol
Leeds and 1000 Islands Historical Society

Leeds & Grenville Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society

The Museum of Lennox and Addington

Markham Museum
McMaster University Archives
Mennonite Archives of Ontario Conrad Grebel University College
Middleville and District Museum
Niagara Historical Society
Niagara-on-the-Lake Museum
Norwich and District Archives
Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA)
Prince Edward County Archives
Queen's University Archives
Simcoe County Archives
Tavistock and District Historical Society
Toronto Public Library
University of Western Ontario
Upper Canada Village
Uxbridge Historical Centre
Waterloo Region Museum
Wellington County Museum and Archives