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Women's Diaries and Related Sources

Part 2: Sources from Birmingham Central Library and Birmingham University Library

Scattered throughout the local record offices of England, Scotland and Wales are vital yet neglected sources for the study of women's history.  This project brings together diaries, commonplace books, travel journals and related sources, which describe women's lives and experiences in their own language.

Part 2 of this project, based on the holdings of Birmingham Central Library and Birmingham University Library, covers the lives of a further 33 women in the period from 1744 to 1940.  It includes:

  • The autobiography of Miss Florry, 1744-1812, the daughter of an ironmaster in Birmingham, who took over and ran the business from 1788 onwards.
  • Six remarkable journals, 1790-1801, of Mary and Martha Russell (family friends of Joseph Priestley), which document the French Revolution,  the Birmingham Riots, their voyage to America, and their capture en route by French pirates. Their portrayal of events is vivid and refreshing. 
  • Two commonplace books of Sarah Mary Breedon (1793 -1850).
  • Emelia Venn's diary of 1815 with accounts of Waterloo, visits to Liege and Worms and travels in France and Switzerland.
  • 12 volumes of travel diaries of Helen Caddick, 1889-1914, covering her visits to Palestine, Egypt, Canada, Japan, China, Cambodia, Korea, Burma, Hong Kong, Moscow, the Philippines, Java, Australia, New Zealand, India,  Africa, USA, Mexico, Peru, the Andes, Panama and the West Indies.
  • 41 volumes of diaries and photograph albums of Miss Edith Baring-Gould, 1894-1939, of the Church Missionary Society. They encompass tours of North America, much material on Japan and China , and visits to Paris, New York, Niagara, Toronto, Winnipeg and the Rocky Mountains. 

This is an excellent resource which relates to a wide variety of disciplines, such as literature, travel writing, social history, gender studies and women's studies.

Editorial introduction
Digital Guide
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