It has been said that “the first duty of love is to listen.” Freud spoke of the “talking cure.” But there isn’t always someone to talk to. Keeping a diary provides a listening ear. And others’ diaries have preserved the voices of women and girls, so that when we read their diaries we hear their voices speaking to us through time. Diaries of girls and women are an important primary source for understanding women’s lives. The experiences, private thoughts and stories of daily life recorded in diaries help historians (herstorians) understand the lives of ordinary women.
Women write diaries to try to make sense out of life, to express their feelings honestly, especially when writing may be their only opportunity for that honesty.
Cornelia has presented programs about the value of diaries in a number of different settings : at the Sewall Belmont House and Museum in Washington, D.C., http://www.sewallbelmont.org, (home of Alice Paul, early suffragette); at the annual conference of the National Association of Women’s Studies, http://www.nwsa.org, at the Northwestern Summer Writer’s Conference, at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of Northwestern University http://www.sps.northwestern.edu, and at the Creativity & Madness Conference in Santa Fe, N.M. http://www.creativityandmadness.com.
Elsewhere on this website you will find a bibliography of books about women’s and girls’ diaries. If your group has interest in a presentation, email Cornelia at firstname.lastname@example.org