Diaries, Missing or Lost?

April 12, 2009 at 9:52 am (books) (, , , )


cover_1822-daily-journalAfter writing the previous post, it dawned that I should have mentioned: There are a definite lack of details about Drummond in 1825 because his sister Emma’s diary for that year is missing. There is a near-complete set of diaries – little pocket diaries the size to fit in one’s hand (approx 3.5 x 7 inches), similar to that pictured at left (Emma’s had clasps which close the books) – at the Hampshire Record Office. What happened to 1825?? Kept in the family? Lost, like Boswell’s Holland Journal? Given to someone, who then never returned it? Hidden in some attic somewhere? In some collection, like Mary’s Duke University travel journal, unconnected with the rest of the family archives?? The answer may come — or never come.

Charles, too, might have kept diaries before the five (beginning in 1826) that the Essex Records Office owns. Why would he begin a diary in the middle of the year (July)? A couple possibilities come to mind: Either, like Mary and his sister Emma, he decided to begin keeping a diary; or else, figuring on beginning a new life, his old diaries were set aside and this new journal begun: for the first entry (though the casual reader would NEVER know it!) is notice of his bringing Mary, his bride, home to Suttons on their wedding day! 1825 was a difficult year for the Smiths: in January Belinda, Charles’ first wife, gave birth (according to one source to a daughter; if born alive, the baby did not live long);  Belinda soon slipped away as well. Hers was the first death this family of nine siblings had endured in some years (father in 1814; maternal grandfather in 1819). When I first contacted the Essex Record office to obtain microfilm copies of Charles’ diaries, I was under the impression that they were from January through December. No wonder the cost was less than anticipated; no wonder the online description suddenly read that they covered July through December: the preceding six months are blank! There went any indication of why Charles chose to marry Mary Gosling. I had pinned my hopes on his diary confessions. Of course I hadn’t “known” Charles well then… He is rather silent on many matters, just like his wife Mary.

There are several possibilities for the ‘holes’ in a collection – and only time will tell if some of these holes get puttied over. I am convinced there are more materials (letters and diaries) to be discovered.

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