Suggested Readings and Links

The Rural Diary Archive's International Collaborations

The Canadian Letters and Diaries Project
Giulia Rovelli is a fixed-timed researcher of English Linguistics at the University of Bergamo.  She is currently working on the Canadian Letters and Diaries Project (CanDL) in collaboration with the Rural Diary Archive and with the McLaughlin Library at the University of Guelph. The Canadian Letters and Diaries Project (CanDL) aims to investigate Late Modern Canadian journals, letters, etc., written by both adults and children in Canada in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. This was a crucial time in the history of the country and in the development of the Canadian variety of English.

Women on the Move Project
Marie Ruiz
 is an Associate Professor of British history at the University of Picardie Jules Verne, France. She is the Chair of an EU-funded international network, Women on the Move, that partners with the Rural Diary Archive. The network focuses on making women migrants visible through creating a catalogue of primary sources on women migrants, interactive maps of landmarks, interviews, and references. She is currently working on British women who migrated to colonial training schools such as the MacDonald Institute of Domestic Science, Guelph. The network is also creating a Massive Open Online Course and has launched a book and article series on women's migration. 

Links to Rural Diary Archive Mini-Documentaries

From YouTube

Henry, Dylan. "RDA MINI-DOCS | Mary McDonald (1917-1919) by Dylan Henry." Rural Diary Archive. August 9, 2021. 4:17.

Kuzmaski, Emma. "RDA MINI-DOCS | Eliza Ann MacFarlane (1887-1901) by Emma Kuzmaski." Rural Diary Archive. August 9, 2021. 2:42.

Manes, Rachel. "RDA MINI-DOCS | Ellamanda Krauter Maurer (1918) by Rachel Manes." Rural Diary Archive. August 9, 2021. 6:52.

"RDA MINI-DOCS | "Kith & Kin" Roseltha Wolverton Goble (1862-1864)." Rural Diary Archive. September 10, 2021. 8:55.

Links to Rural Diary Archive Radio Shows

From CBC Radio

Catharine Wilson on the Rural Diary Archive

From the CFRU Radio Archives

Joanne Ryan, “Rural Diary Archive: James Carpenter, Lambton County, 1880-84,” 1:00 pm on Thursday June 2, 2016.

Karley McLinden, “Rural Diary Archive: Samson Howell, Brant County, 1868-69,” 1:00 pm on Thursday June 9, 2016.

Kyle Pritchard, “Rural Diary Archive: James Bowman, Guelph, World War I,” 1:00 pm on Thursday June 16, 2016.

Marissa Gareau, “Rural Diary Archive: John Phenix, Simcoe County, 1896-97,” 1:00 pm on Thursday June 23, 2016.

Nicholas VanExan, “Rural Diary Archive: Elizabeth Simpson, Dufferin County, 1878-82,” 1:00 pm on Thursday June 30, 2016.

Jodey Hodgins, “Rural Diary Archive: William Standen, Simcoe County, 1879,” 1:00 pm on Thursday July 7, 2016.

Katrina Gale, “Rural Diary Archive: Matilda Hill, Wellington County, 1884-85,” 1:00 pm on Thursday July 14, 2016.

Fergus Maxwell, "Rural Diary Archive: Hannah Peters Jarvis, Lincoln County, 1845," 10:30 am on Thursday July 26, 2018. (starts at 34:49)

Taylor Graham, "Rural Diary Archive: William Porte, Middlesex County, 1864-98," 10:30 am on Thursday August 2, 2018. (starts at 28:50)

Victoria Hodgkinson, "Rural Diary Archive: William Sunter, Wellington County, 1857," 10:30 am on Thursday August 9, 2018. (starts at 31:20)

Scott Jennings, "Rural Diary Archive: James Cameron, Glengarry County, 1867," 10:30 am on Thursday August 16, 2018. (starts at 29:05)

Courtney Svab, "Rural Diary Archive: Ann Amelia Day Sunley, Wellington County, 1878-1879," 10:30 am on Thursday August 23, 2018. (starts at 32:15)

Rebecca Pyrah, "Rural Diary Archive: Garrison & William Shadd, Kent County, 1885," 10:30 am on Thirsday August 23, 2018. (starts at 31:08)

Rural Canadian History Moments

Created by students in HIST*4620 Seminar in Canadian Rural History, Winter 2023

Rutledge, Emma. "Diary of Jemima Ripley (1850-1919) by Emma Rutledge", on podcast “Clearing a New Path”.

Doran, Christian. "Diary of Thomas Alexander Loghrin (1878-1936) by Christian Doran"on podcast “Clearing a New Path”.

Bolton, Audra. "Diary of John Ferguson (1869) by Audra Bolton", on "YouTube - Rural Diary Archive".

Arsenault, Hannah. "Diary of Gordon Eby (1911) by Hannah Arsenault", on "YouTube - Rural Diary Archive".

Cole, Liam. "Diary of Carver Simpson (1878-1882) by Liam Cole", on "YouTube - Rural Diary Archive".

Kurceba, Alexandra. "Diary of Adeline Mathers (1931-1933) by Alex Kurceba", on "YouTube - Rural Diary Archive".

Thomas-Fulford, Patrick. "Diary of James Carpenter (1880-1884) by Patrick Thomas-Fulford", on "YouTube - Rural Diary Archive".

Suggested Readings

Theses and Publications Featuring Diarists from the Rural Diary Archive:


Wilson, Catharine Anne. Being Neighbours: Cooperative Labour and Rural Culture, 1830-1960. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2022. Based on over 100 diarists for the Rural Diary Archive. For associated podcasts, a video documentary, and book launch see:


Hendricks, Madison. “From “Stray Thoughts, Wild Dreams, and Fancy Sketches” to a “Condensed, Comparative Record”: Roseltha Wolverton Goble’s Changing Relationship to Diary-Writing, 1857-1919.” University of Guelph, M.A. Thesis, 2022.

Paranyi, Ryan. “Methodism and the Christian Gentleman in Mid-Victorian Rural Ontario.” University of Guelph, M.A. Thesis, 2018. Diarists Courtland Olds, Samuel Johnson, John H. Ferguson.

Sharp, Samuel. “The Importance of Family: A Micro-History Study of James Cameron and the Life Course of Family, Agriculture and Masculinity in Glengarry County, 1855-1881.” University of Guelph, M.A. Thesis, 2014.

Van Allen, Nicholas T. “On the farm, in the Town, and in the City: Nineteenth-Century Networks and Spaces in Rural Middlesex County, Southwestern Ontario.” University of Guelph, Ph.D. Thesis, 2016. Diarists James Glen, Thomas Adams, Frederick Errington.

For Discussions of the Genre of Diary Writing:

Amigoni, David Ed. Life Writing and Victorian Culture. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2006.

Bunkers, Suzanne L. & Cynthia Anne Huff, Ed. Inscribing the Daily: Critical Essays on Women's Diaries. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1996. In general, life-writing is now turning to the everyday.

Carter, Kathryn. "Accounting for Time in Nineteenth-Century Manuscript Diaries and Photographs." Life Writing 12:4 (2015): 417-430.

Cully, Margo. Ed. A Day at a Time: The Diary Literature of American Women from 1764 to the Present. New York: Feminist Press, 1985.

McCarthy, Molly. The Accidental Diarist: A History of the Daily Planner in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Motz, Marilyn Ferris. "Folk Expression of Time and Place: 19th-Century Midwestern Rural Diaries." Journal of American Folklore 100:396 (1987): 131-147.

Steinitz, Rebecca. Time, Space, and Gender in the Nineteenth-Century British Diary. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Steinitz argues that the diary's unique organization of time and space made it a popular vehicle for the dominant discourses of the Victorian era.

Wilson, Catharine. "The Farm Diary: An Intimate and Ongoing Relationship between Artifact and Keeper." Agricultural History 92:2 (2018): 150-171.

Scholarly Works That Employ Diaries and Edited Collections:

Campbell, Gail. 'I wish to keep a record': Nineteenth-Century New Brunswick Women Diarists and Their World. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.

Carter, Kathryn. “An Economy of Words: Emma Chadwick Stretch’s Account Book Diary, 1859-1860.” Acadiensis 29:1 (Autumn 1999). Carter is particularly attentive to narrative analysis. For example, she draws attention to the submerged narrative of the importance of Emma's tea trade and the narrative weight given to her baby’s sickness.

Carter, Kathryn., Ed. The Small Details of Life: 20 Diaries by Women in Canada, 1830-1996. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002.

Conrad, Margaret et al, Ed. No Place Like Home: Diaries and Letters of Nova Scotia Women 1771-1938. Fredericton: Acadiensis Press, 1988.

Huskins, Bonnie and Michael Boudreau. “‘Daily Allowances:’ Literary Conventions and Daily Life in the Diaries of Ida Louise Martin (nee Friars), Saint John, New Brunswick, 1945-1992,” Acadiensis 34:2 (Spring 2005): 88-108.

Kristofferson, Rob and Andrew Holman, Ed. More of a Man: Diaries of a Scottish Craftsman In Mid-Nineteenth-Century North America. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.

Little, J.I.  Reading the Diaries of Henry Trent: The Everyday Life of a Canadian Englishman, 1842-1898. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2021.

Loewen, Royden. From the Inside Out: The Rural Worlds of Mennonite Diarists, 1863-1929. Winnipeg: The University of Manitoba Press, 1999. This is a collection of Mennonite diaries with an excellent introduction to the different types of diaries in general.

Rubio, Mary & Elizabeth Waterson, Ed. The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1985-2004.

Thatcher Ulrich, Laurel. A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1990. This inspirational book has been made into a movie

Wilson, Catharine. “Reciprocal Work Bees and the Meaning of Neighbourhood.” Canadian Historical Review 82:3 (September 2001): 431-464.

Suggested Links

Links to Other Diary Collections and Projects:

"Diary-newsletters: The Bee, The Daily Cackle, The Daily Twitter, The Gilston Loud-Speaker," These were written and illustrated by Edward Rubidge Crombie and his children, and are part of the Crombie Family Fonds at Archives and Research Collections at McMaster University. 

Desiree Henderson, "The Diary Index,"

Paul K Lyons, “The Diary Junction,”

“The Great Diary Project,”  This site is dedicated to collecting and preserving diaries.

“Iowa Women’s Lives: Letters and Diaries,” This is part of the larger DIYhistory website which also includes diaries from pioneer times, the Civil War, WWI and WWII. It is a marvelous site and a pioneer in transcribing online.

“Documenting the American South,” This site provides access to digitized primary materials that offer Southern perspectives on American history and culture.

“Martha Ballard’s Diary Online,” This is a wonderful site providing assistance for decoding this diary.

Teresa Casas, “Brampton Farmer’s Diary 1873,” This is a beautifully annotated and illustrated transcription of John H Ferguson’s diary. Our website features this diarist and seeks to transcribe some of the other years of his diary.

Maria Popova, “Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary,” This provides useful and interesting insight from famous writers of the past on the benefits of keeping your own diary.

Reading History with Great-Uncle Ernest, A series of videos of Judy Ferrier reading from her Great-Uncle Earnest’s diaries 1902-14, a farmer on the Scotch Line in Perth, Ontario.

Mark Robinson, Park Ranger’s Diaries, Algonquin Park, 1907-1936, Follow the posts of entries from his diaries and learn about the park and his work.

"Rocking P Gazette," A diary/newspaper created by two girls aged 12 and 14 living on their family's ranch in the foothills of southern Alberta in 1923. Dorothy Margaret Macleay and her younger sister Gertrude Maxine produced the paper, edited it, acted as its principal reporters, wrote many of its articles and stories, and sketched and painted nearly all its art. 

Links to Blogs and Additional Writing on the Diarists in the Rural Diary Archive 

Prize-winning digital exhibit created by McMaster History students based on the diaries of Mary Josephine “Minnie” McDonald, Rural Diary Archive,

Catharine Anne Wilson, "WITH THESE HANDS They Wrote Diaries: Analyzing the Keeping and Daily Entries of Farm Women's Diaries,"

Catharine Anne Wilson, "Read, Transcribe and Enjoy Rural Women's Diaries Online,"

Catharine Anne Wilson, "Rural Diaries Online: Experience Daily Life in the Backwoods,"