Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Emma Wedgwood Darwin's Diaries Online

Sixty pocket diaries written by the wife of naturalist Charles Darwin are now available online, The Guardian reports. Emma Wedgwood Darwin's writings cover the periods 1824, 1833-4, 1839-45 and 1848-96. The digital version was prepared from microfilm copies at Cambridge University.

Author Janet Browne has written an editorial introduction to the digital edition; she notes that these diaries "provide a wonderful historical resource, not only for Darwin scholars but also as a social document of prosperous middle-class life in the Victorian era. ... It should be noted that these diaries are not discursive journals. However Emma Darwin (1808-1896) used these little books to make notes of appointments, important family events, a seemingly endless succession of illnesses and remedies, primarily relating to her children and husband, visits to and from relatives and friends, concerts to attend, minor expenses, charitable activities and other daily memoranda. In this sense, they constitute a vivid record of daily life in the Darwin household."

Certainly a noteworthy new resource.

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