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Archive Collections at HHC: Diaries & Journals

Guide to material held at Hull History Centre, arranged by theme, creator and document type

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train”

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest 

Diaries and Journals

Research Themes Supported

Hull History Centre holds significant collections of diaries and journals. Such records can aid research into:

  • Travel
  • The Grand Tour
  • Biographies
  • Women’s Interests
  • Current Affairs
  • Significant Events
  • Cultural Attitudes
  • Daily Life
  • Psychology

Key Information Content of Records

The following are common categories of information which feature in this record type:

  • Date, often including day of the week
  • Location of author whilst writing, and places visited recently
  • Comments on weather, current events, political happenings, etc.
  • Emotions and feelings of the author
  • Family life and occurrences

Where Record Type is Usually Found

This record type commonly survives in the following categories of archival collection:

  • Records of landed families and estates
  • Material created by Members of Parliament
  • Papers of writers
  • Items left by ordinary individuals

Typical formats

Diaries and journals come in various formats, including: bound volumes of loose manuscript entries; notebooks containing manuscript entries; appointment dairies with annotations and comments; bundles of loose or bound typescript entries; drafts for publication; published editions.


Additional Supporting Material

The following secondary literature provides contextual background and useful further information when trying to understand and use this record type:

  • Alexandra Johnson, A Brief History of Diaries: From Pepys to Blogs (2011)
  • Elizabeth Bohls, Ian Duncan, Travel Writing 1700-1830 An Anthology (2008)
  • Batsheva Ben-Amos, Dan Ben-Amos, The Diary: The Epic of Everyday Life (2020)

Downloadable list of material

The following PDF contains a list of key diaries and journals held at HHC.