What kind of content makes diaries a good historical resource?
The Details in Diaries
Don’t worry if your diary seems full of dull entries about work and people coming and going. All diaries yield their own remarkable details. We can learn about spearing eels or raising a barn, the cost of a bowl of punch or yard of calico, run-away horses and swarming bees, laying out the dead, homebirths and so much more. Occasionally a crisis will intervene, a fatal accident, epidemic, or financial disaster and we learn how families coped with these challenges. Diarists rarely revealed scandals or scathing opinion, and if they did say something critical about a neighbour, this renders them even more powerful and important as historical sources.