Personal Journaling

Write Your Thoughts

Famous Journals

Previously I wrote about journals as a source of historical information and how we could use our own journals to leave valuable stories behind. We will not necessarily do this for the world but as a legacy for the people we love. But journals can provide good insights for the world. In light of this, here are a few journals/diaries that told us something about the time in which they were written and hold important lessons for us today.

The most famous one that jumps to mind is the diary of Anne Frank. She was born in 1929 and died in 1945. Her diary chronicles her life in hiding from the Nazis and so provides a look into her innermost thoughts, the atrocities of her day to day living, her fears and her hopes. Anne Frank wrote this diary as a teenager but today she is perhaps one of the most discussed victims of the Holocaust.

Less famous but no less important is the diary of Michael Shiner. Mr. Shiner worked at the Washington Navy Yard of Columbia between 1813 and 1869. His writings give an account of his time working for the Navy Yard, the abduction of his family by Virginia slave traders and his general day to day life. This diary is important because Michael Shiner was an African American who is writing his own story at a time when this was extremely uncommon.

Another atypical person who left a journal behind is Adam F. Plummer. He kept a journal from 1841 until his death in 1905. As a slave, Adam Plummer was special because he learned to read and write. He used his diary to write about the harsh conditions of slavery and to keep a record of his jobs and wages.

All of these diaries are special because we have first hand information of periods in history that we have perhaps read about but not from this position. An immediate account from the victim’s or the enslaved viewpoint is invaluable. In the case of the enslaved, they were never supposed to write much less to have a history.

We all have the luxury of reading and writing….So let’s write!

Remember there is nothing like words in black and white to help you see where you are and where you are going.

Sheryl Keen
Author “Journal According to John.”


February 23, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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